10 Alarming Signs the Job You Have is Not Working Out for You

These signals might indicate that now is the time to find another position.
Last updated Nov. 30, 2022 | By Sandy Baker | Edited By Chris Kissell
woman at home sitting on the couch looking down and touching her forehead

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Getting a job can be exciting. But you might discover that the position that looked great on paper doesn’t really fit your needs.

If you’ve just started, certain signs might pop up quickly that indicate the job is not going to work out for long. 

Or perhaps you have been in the position for years and it is dawning on you that there are few opportunities to advance and move beyond living paycheck to paycheck.

Following are some signs that it is time to start a job search.

You don’t see opportunities for growth

Photographee.eu/Adobe depressed young woman crying

Stepping into a new position can be exciting, especially if you’re learning and mastering something new.

However, if you have been at the company for a while and haven’t had an opportunity to advance, it might be a sign that it’s time to move on. Failing to get promoted can easily lead to boredom and may even limit your earning power over time.

Pro tip: Switching to a new job can be scary, but it sometimes pays huge dividends. You might rejuvenate your career and make more money. If all goes well, you might even generate enough income to retire earlier than you expected.

The company is floundering

fizkes/Adobe angry boss criticizing male employee for computer mistake

Is your company missing its goals? Are you hearing whispers about cuts to the labor force? These are worrisome signs that could mean the company isn’t going to make it.

Should you stick around? That depends on how much risk you want to take, and the potential for rewards. It’s a personal decision based on your risk tolerance. But such worrisome signs might be an indicator that it’s time to jump ship.

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You have no work-life balance

Antonioguillem/Adobe businesswoman sleeping at work

For many people, work-life balance is important. While we all want to bring in income, many of us worry about doing so at the cost of missing out on enjoying life.

If you have to field endless phone calls and emails outside of normal work hours, it might be a sign that your work-life balance is off-kilter. This alone can be a reason to leave, especially if you find it’s causing mental fatigue or making it hard to maintain valuable relationships.

You’re constantly overwhelmed

fizkes/Adobe businessman frustrated by business failure

Sometimes, a job is not a good fit because the work does not suit your skills. Feeling overwhelmed — such as dreading the next task or struggling to make decisions on the job — can be clear indications that it's time to move on.

Perhaps there’s just too much work and not enough time to do it. Although that’s a frustrating situation — especially when you want to give it your all — recognizing that you’re simply not cut out for the position is better for all involved.

You can’t be yourself or speak up

fizkes/Adobe businesswoman meditating doing yoga at work

If your job seems to limit you in a way that’s making you uncomfortable — from not having the opportunity to speak up to not being able to dress in a certain way — it might be time to move on.

It’s tough to be passionate about a job if you’re not able to be you when working.

You aren’t making enough

WavebreakmediaMicro/Adobe desperate businessman counting his change

You deserve to be paid fairly, but sadly, some jobs pay less than they should. If you are not getting enough money for the amount of work you do — or perhaps you’re just not feeling valued for contributing beyond what your colleagues do — it might be time to look for another job.

No matter why you feel unvalued, find a job that pays you what you deserve, especially if your research indicates that you’re being underpaid.

Your values don’t mesh with those of the company

tirachard/Adobe businesswoman sits on desk wearing sad mask paper craft bag

Perhaps your job isn't a good fit for you morally, or the culture doesn’t feel right. If the work doesn’t align with what you believe in, you shouldn’t be in that position.

There's no shame in acknowledging that the job is a bad fit simply because you don’t have faith in the company’s mission or the people running it.

You dread every single day of work

sorrapongs/Adobe stressed working woman

Some people feel on edge all day at their jobs. They no longer can see the good in the work they do. Or maybe the job provokes mood swings and a feeling of being in the wrong place.

If you're often in a bad mood once you get to work — even though you didn’t start your day feeling that way — it might be your conscience telling you it’s time to look for a different position.

You don’t like your boss

zinkevych/Adobe dark-haired trainee feeling emotional after not getting job

Few things are more miserable than working for a supervisor you don’t like. If you cannot tolerate your boss, it might be time to move on.

If you believe you can work things out, by all means try. But if you and your boss don’t mesh after a few months, things are unlikely to get better.

Your boss is sending you signals

Nusara/Adobe employee was complained by boss

Sometimes, it’s not about wanting to leave but recognizing the signs that your employer wants you to move on.

The boss may not say that outright, but if you are receiving numerous warning signs — such as not being selected for projects or being overlooked for a promotion — don’t ignore them.

Bottom line

Miljan Živković/Adobe man holding a box with personal items stuff leaving the office

If your job leaves you unhappy, unfulfilled, unchallenged, or just ready for a change, it’s time to look for new work. Doing so can be the right move for your future.

However, making such a big change can be scary. If you're unsure about whether to move on, try your hand at other ways of making money — either a part-time job or a side hustle — to see if you feel happier working somewhere else.

If you find more joy away from your job, it might be time to take the plunge and finally leave your main job behind.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.