Signs you might be in the wrong job

Whether they revolve around an extra-long meeting, not getting the raise we wanted, an unexpected deadline, an unruly customer, or something else entirely, everyone has bad days at work. Having some shifts that make us say to ourselves, “Ugh, I hate this job” is just a part of everyday, normal work life.

And most of the time, that feeling is fleeting. But sometimes, it goes a little deeper than that – like if, on a regular basis, you find yourself just not wanting to get out of bed and would literally rather sleep an entire day than go into work? You might want to start thinking about switching jobs.

Here are a few other signs that you’re either at the wrong company, in the wrong position, or may want to think about exploring other career options – or maybe all three.

You’re not that upset when you come down with the flu

I’ve been at jobs where I’ve woken up with a sore throat and actually been excited, because it meant I didn’t have to go into work “for fear of infecting everyone,” which is terrible. Even if you’re not in a dream job (and let’s be real, how many people really are?), everyone should at least enjoy what they do enough that they would choose to do it over being sick in bed.

You check your PTO balances obsessively

Has a thought similar to, “OK, so by X week, I will have blah point blah hours, which means I can leave at exactly this time on this day and still get paid for the full day”? That’s normal, especially if you don’t get a lot of PTO and are planning a big trip or an appointment. But if you’re constantly checking how much PTO you have and using any excuse to take it, chances are you just don’t want to be at work in general.


You get in right at 9 and leave right at 5 on the dot every day, without fail

Do you get into work right at the last possible acceptable minute and leave a trail of dust right when the clock strikes closing time? If so, think about why. Do you have somewhere to be? Do you have to pick up your kids, or meet a friend at the gym? This is often another sign it’s time to weigh your options – especially if your coworkers always tend to get in a little earlier and/or leave a little later than you.

Everyone’s jobs (even the terrible ones) seem so much better than yours

A big sign of needing to start fresh with a new job? Literally everyone around you having professional situations that sound a million times better than your own. The biggest indicator here is if you find yourself feeling jealous of a job someone has that you would never in a million years choose to do if you had the option to do anything you wanted. For me, this would be anything having to do with government or politics. Or blood. No surgery for me. Or dishwashing, because I have sensitive hands.

You start thinking about going back to school for the most random careers

Speaking of the medical field, I once seriously considered going back to school for medicine. It would’ve meant I was in school for six more years and then a residency for three or four – and I was already well established in a totally unrelated career and moving toward a different phase in my life. It was definitely a cry for help (even though I would’ve made a kickass doctor if not for, you know, the blood thing).

Your family and friends have hinted that maybe you’d be happier elsewhere

The people closest to you can probably pick up on if you’re unhappy in your job, so pay attention. Are they ever saying things like, “You know, my friend So-And-So has an opening for (position) at her company. I bet you’d be great for that!”? Or maybe, “You seem stressed lately. Is something going on at work?” Your loved ones know you well and want the best for you, so listen to their cues.

You aren’t proud to tell people what you do

When someone asks, “What do you do?” and you feel silly answering, or like it’s someone else answering for you when the words come out of your mouth, that’s not a good sign – unless you’re in a career where you’re moving toward something you want to do and just have to start somewhere. You should, at the very least, go to bed feeling like what you do matters, at least somewhat. You don’t have to be saving the world every day, but feeling proud of the contributions you make at work is important.


You never participate in out-of-office activities

There’s no rule that says you have to be social with your coworkers, but I’ve found that when I’m happy at my job, I want to be close with the people I work with. We see each other 40 hours a week anyway, so we might as well build a relationship where we can have inside jokes to touch on over the water cooler/break-room Keurig. When I’m not happy at my job, I don’t care as much about this – probably because I don’t see the point in building long-term connections somewhere I don’t see myself long term.

You’re just in it for the money

Money is definitely important, and many of us don’t have the luxury of seeking out that “dream job,” because we do need to prioritize paying our bills. But really consider all your options if you’re bringing home a paycheck but zero professional satisfaction. Is there something you’d enjoy more that you can take night and/or online classes to work toward? Even a professional certification or a side gig freelancing here and there can give you more professional happiness. And you absolutely deserve it.


(Image via HBO Pictures/Outlaw Productions; GIFs via here, here, and here)