From Our Readers
July 07, 2014 1:00 pm

1) You’re bored.

I’m not just talking about the occasional slow day or 3:30 slump—that’s real for everyone. Ideally, you should be walking into your office every morning with a list (whether it’s mental or physical) of things you need to do that day. If you sit down and check your Facebook feed before your schedule or email, something isn’t right.

2) You’re taking too much stress home with you. 

There’s a new policy in France that makes it illegal for some people to check work email after 6pm. And while I don’t think this is entirely feasible—especially for entrepreneurs or freelancers—another part of me totally salutes it. At my last job, I all too often checked my work email late at night or on the weekends, which ended up being completely counter-productive. It would remind me of something I didn’t do earlier that day and couldn’t do anything about it right that minute. I would stress and lose sleep (and yeah, sometimes even cry) over something that couldn’t be handled until the morning anyway.

2) You’re not motivated.

I didn’t know I wasn’t motivated at my last job until I started my next job. At my old job, when there wasn’t anything to do, I would endlessly scroll through my Feedly, wind up in a vortex of Buzzfeed quizzes, goof around on GChat and—the worst thing I did—daydream about finding another job.

Now, when I’m having a meeting-free afternoon and some spare time, I’ll give myself a new project, even if it’s something as seemingly menial as organizing our files or cleaning up my company’s database. But one of these afternoons, I realized I wish I was doing more writing in my role, so I drafted up a presentation on why I should start a company blog. Three weeks and lots of self-taught HTML later, I was hitting publish on our first post.

3) You’re not getting enough feedback—whether it’s positive or negative.

One of the reasons I was so lethargic at my previous job was because of a lack of communication with my boss. He was a “corner office” guy, and I usually only heard from him when something I did went horribly wrong. Since it was my first job out of college, I thought this was just how relationships with bosses worked. I’ve since learned that it isn’t always like this—and it shouldn’t be.

It’s amazing how much hearing something as simple as “thank you for x” or “good work on y” from your supervisor for any task—small or large—makes a difference in motivation. And when the inevitable criticism comes around, it makes it a lot easier to hear and grow from. Even though you messed up on this one, you know that they still think that you’re an asset to the team.

4) You’re afraid to speak up for help.

Asking questions is so important for growth. At my last job, there were a lot of things that I was expected to know that I had absolutely no idea how to execute. I didn’t have any sort of training, and the minimal amount of communication with my boss made me a nervous wreck every time I knocked on his door to ask him a question. Consequentially, I tried to just figure it out myself most of the time. It was a waste of my time and the organization’s time, and we both suffered because of it.

5) You clash with the “office culture.”

My last office was so deadly quiet that I could hear my co-worker’s stomach growling every day at 11:50am. I sat in a cubicle in the middle of the office floor, and even though it was an organization of only eight people, we mostly communicated via email. I was lucky enough to become friends with a number of my coworkers, who I usually ate lunch with, but I still found myself craving a more collaborative and creative environment. It’s good to be serious about work, but I needed to be part of a team that I could feel comfortable joking around with, too.

6) It’s clear that there’s no room for growth.

After a few months, you should realize whether or not you’re stuck in a black hole. Is the company growing? Is your boss giving you more responsibility? Do you feel like you’ve grown professionally? Are you being rewarded for your successes?

7) You’re just not happy.

I mean obviously no one is happy all the time, but if your immediate response is “no,” it might be time to start networking, in hopes of finding a new job.

Becky Schultz was born and raised in Chicago. After a short stint in the tundra (more commonly known as Minnesota), she’s back in her hometown working as a marketing guru in the startup world by day and writing by night. She updates her blog, Beside The Point, whenever she feels like it and makes jokes/live-tweets about The Bachelorette on Twitter.

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