I was doing a workshop about passion and career for a women’s group a few years ago, and at the end I opened it up for questions and personal stories. One woman stood up and candidly shared how she felt about her job:

“I dread going to work every day,” she said. “I sometimes stand in the shower before work wondering, ‘If I slipped and broke my leg, how much work could I miss?’”

She’s not alone. A couple of months ago, another client confided this in me:

“I’m allergic to peanuts, and on my worst days at work, I’ve half-considered eating a Snickers bar from the vending machine so I have an inarguable excuse to leave for the day.”

These thoughts might sound dramatic. But for anyone who’s been in a toxic (or at least deeply incompatible) work environment and felt this level of dread about their job, you’ve likely had fleeting thoughts just like these. I know I have.

And it makes sense, if you think about it.

When you feel like you don’t belong in a particular job or company, and yet you’re simultaneously reliant on it because it’s providing for your very survival, you’re bound to feel trapped. And anytime you feel trapped, your mind is going to frantically start looking for any possible escape route.

The more trapped you feel, the more extreme the mental escape strategies. Thus, peanuts and shower accidents.

Here’s what I told both of these women:

“When you’ve reached that level of dread, there’s really no turning back.

Are there things you could do to try to improve your situation? Sure. Are there mindset changes you could make to feel a bit better about your job? Of course.

But honestly, why put yourself through that when it’s so abundantly obvious that this is just not the right place for you? That’s swimming against the current.

If you’re completely miserable, do yourself a favor and get out. Find a bridge job, if you need to. There’s no need to waste months or years of your life feeling chronically trapped and unhappy.”

Extreme dread is one pretty obvious sign that it’s time to leave your job. But there are other, more subtle signs that you’re in the wrong place and need a change.

SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN THE WRONG JOB

If any of the following ring true for you, that’s a sign you’re in the wrong job and it might be time to start considering other options:

WHEN IT’S WORTH STICKING WITH YOUR JOB

Just because your job isn’t currently bringing you the satisfaction or happiness you want, doesn’t mean it’s automatically a lost cause. If any of the following are true, it may be worth sticking with your current job and trying to make improvements before you give up on it entirely.

WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP ARE YOU IN WITH YOUR JOB?

Think about this from another perspective.

If you were dating someone and you started to dread hearing from them, you found yourself coming up with excuses for why you couldn’t meet up, you couldn’t see any future with them, and you didn’t like who you were in their presence … you’d pretty quickly come to the conclusion that this relationship wasn’t working and you needed to break up.

However, if you were in a stable, loving relationship with someone, but you had a major disagreement or you were going through a rocky period, you wouldn’t automatically assume the relationship needed to end. It might just need some attention, or adjustments, or better communication to get back on track.

Try thinking about your job through that same lens.

If you thought of yourself as being in a relationship with your job … is it a healthy, equal relationship? A toxic one? Or a solid one that’s just going through a rough patch?

Share your answer with me in the comments below!

WANT TO EXPLORE THIS MORE? JOIN US IN ONE WEEK FOR A FREE WORKSHOP

Rachel and I have SO much more to share on this topic, which is why we’re hosting a FREE online workshop next Tuesday (May 16th) at 1pm Eastern to dive into it deeper.

How to tell if the problem is you, or the job (and how to fix it, either way).

If this blog resonated with you, you’re going to want to be there. We’re talking about …

Register now. Space is limited to 1,000 people (which seems like a lot, but isn’t given how many people are seeing this blog).

If you can’t join live, that’s OK. We’ll send you a time-sensitive replay (AKA, it will expire a few days later, so make sure you find time to watch it).

If this sounds like something your friends or colleagues would enjoy, forward it on to them! We’d love for them to join us, too.

See you there! 🙂

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Here’s Kristen reading this week’s blog:

Kristen (+ Rachel)

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2 comments | add a comment | Share this > Tweet this > Email this >
  1. This!!!!! All of this!!!!!! Clearly I need to leave this job. I checked off every item on your the list: the negative colleagues, dreading a promotion…etc. this job is incompatible with my need for transparency, communication, organization and the need for direction. IT’S KILLING MY SOUL AND SUCKING ME OF MY DESIRE TO LIVE. I’m in a feverish search to find work elsewhere but until then I dream of winning the lottery, I drink and I cry myself to sleep. How did this happen in 7 long months? I was so excited to work here?

  2. This is exactly what I needed. To hear/see I’m not alone is refreshing. I’m miserable in life right now. I don’t know where to go or what to do bc I have no clue where I’m supposed to be/what my passions and/or calling is.

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