We’ve all fallen victim to a job that seemed to suck the souls out of us. You might know the feeling — undue stress, high expectations, little return for hard work and so on. In a society that values hard work and professionalism, it can be difficult to recognize you’re in one of these toxic work situations.
Perhaps you’re the loyal type who’ll do anything for your employer, no matter the personal cost. Or the income is great, so you suffer through rough workdays to achieve your financial dreams. Others absolutely love their jobs but just can’t bring in the income they deserve. Whatever the reason, it might be time to let go of a toxic job if you find yourself saying "my job is killing me" and seek a better future. Here five signs your job is killing you, along with how to find a better one.
5 signs your job is killing you
It can be difficult to decide if you should stick through a rough patch at work or move on to something better. But how do you know if you should leave your job? Here are some signs that your current job is not adding value to your life.
1. You dread going into work.
It can take some time to get adjusted to a new job. But if you’ve been at it for months and still have trouble walking through the door without your chest tightening, it might be a sign that it’s time to move on. Don’t spend your life working at a job that fills you with constant dread.
2. There’s no opportunity for advancement.
So, you’ve been with your company for some time, but it seems like you’ve hit a wall. Perhaps you’ve been passed on multiple promotions or you’ve asked for advancement opportunities and hit a dead end. Why stay at a job where you aren’t allowed to grow and achieve your very best?
3. You work with toxic people.
Toxic people in the workplace can be a killer. Sometimes it’s just one or two coworkers who you can learn to live with. Other times, a manager or supervisor makes it impossible for you to succeed. You’ll probably never feel comfortable or happy in a workplace filled with negative energy.
4. The work is too easy or too challenging.
Work with no challenges is boring. You need to face challenges so you can overcome them and grow in your confidence. At the same time, a job that is much too challenging can make you feel incompetent and stressed. It’s important to find work that allows you to face and solve obstacles while not killing yourself in the process.
5. Work is impacting your personal life.
If your job is causing so much chaos that you can’t sleep at night, it’s probably time to move on. Likewise, a job that cuts into your personal time can take a hit on your family and social life. Everyone needs downtime. Don’t let your job suck everything out of you.
How to resign when you’ve had enough
When you’ve finally decided enough is enough, make sure to resign with grace. You don’t want to burn bridges, lose a potential reference or hurt your valuable reputation. Show your employer respect if you want to be respected in return.
Create a plan.
Do you have a job lined up for when it’s time to go? If not, how will you pay your bills while you search for something new? Savings? Help from family and friends? Before you quit, be sure you’re prepared to ensure your financial success and well-being. Don’t quit until you feel confident you’ll be able to succeed.
Give advance notice.
The gold standard is to offer at least two weeks’ notice before leaving a job. The more notice you give, the better. Remember that your employer needs to find someone to fill your position, train them and make other preparations. It’s courteous to give them time to prepare.
Write a resignation letter.
A resignation letter is the formal record of your resignation. Be sure to include the date of your last day of work, a reason for leaving and a gracious “thank you” to your employer for the opportunity. Keep your resignation letter simple and respectful to avoid drama.
Respect your manager.
Break the news to your manager first to show her your respect. It’s even better to assist her as she prepares for the transition — helping find/train a replacement, not leaving projects unfinished and keeping open communication. Being helpful as you depart leaves a good impression on your past employer.
Continue to work hard until the end
Just because you’ve resigned doesn’t mean you should drop everything and skate through your last days. Show some self-respect by continuing to perform your job to your best ability. You are still being paid for your time, so make sure you are earning that pay fairly. Finish your last days with grace.
Coming to terms with the idea that your job may be killing you is not pleasant. Even less pleasant is actually quitting that job. You’re sure to be filled with questions and uncertainty. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
What do you say when you quit a job?
First of all, make sure to thank your employer for the job opportunity. This sets a positive tone for the rest of the discussion. Then, frame your reasons for leaving in a positive way. Never offer negative reasons for quitting. Keep your resignation simple and to-the-point. You may be nervous about the response you’ll receive, but remember, all you need to do is get through the conversation in a respectful manner.
How do you survive a miserable job?
Maybe you’re still waiting to land a new job and the days are moving slowly at your miserable one. It can be hard to wake up each day and keep going. Remind yourself often that you’re working on a change and this situation won’t last forever. Focus more on your personal life when you’re not at work. Find just one thing to look forward to each day. Do whatever it takes to get you through these last days.
Can stress from work make you sick?
A stressful job can definitely affect your health negatively. People can only undergo a certain amount of stress before their bodies begin to suffer. Stress can cause headaches, insomnia and even paralysis when severe enough. It can also trigger symptoms of underlying mental illness. Overloads of stress can go as far as causing conditions like hypertension and stroke.
Is it okay to quit a job?
Of course it’s okay to quit! Not all employers and employees are good matches. Don’t spend your life being miserable because you feel obligated to stick with a dead-end job. Yes, your employer may be disappointed when you go, but that’s their problem, not yours. Just be sure you are quitting for the right reasons, not because of a personal vendetta. Also, make sure you’ve given a new job enough time to make an accurate assessment — it can take two or three months before you feel comfortable at a new job.
Balance your life
If your job is causing undue work stress in your life, take a moment to reassess the situation. It’s easy to have an overachiever mentality — until it makes you sick or shatters your personal life. Take some time to assess your life — your work responsibilities, your level of quality personal time and your health. If you want to be happy, it’s important to keep these areas of life well-balanced.
About the Career Expert:
Valerie L. Sizelove is a freelance writer who focuses on mental health, parenting and writing advice. In addition to Fairygodboss, her work has appeared in The Post-Grad Survival Guide, Writing Together, Publishous and P.S. I Love You.