How to know when it’s time to leave your job

Sometimes, a change occurs in an individual or in a workplace that makes such a difference that an employee is no longer comfortable remaining in their position. When this happens, the employee must step up personally or use help from a teammate to recognize the situation for what it is. Then, the employee can make the decision to leave or to remain in a work situation in which they are unhappy.

If you notice changes in one of three general areas in your life, it might very well be time to move on from your current job. These include changes in your health, job requirements, and attitude. Let’s look at each of these situations in more detail.


Changes in procedures or job requirements can make physical or emotional demands that were previously non-existent in your daily life. If a change creates health issues, you must consider the long-term consequences. We are not referring to on-the-job injuries, where workers’ compensation would likely be available. We are exploring changes to the normal physical and emotional requirements of an existing position. A transfer may be possible and should be attempted if another position might be more appealing. If the option to make a lateral move doesn’t exist, you must contemplate finding work more suitable to your physical and emotional conditioning.


In today’s highly competitive work environment, more and more is being asked of many employees. Often jobs are combined after a layoff or other change in the office. You may find yourself in a situation where your new job duties require skills you do not possess. In all likelihood, you will be allowed the opportunity to learn. But what if you don’t want to learn these new skills or struggle with acquiring them? Or you aren’t sure that you want to assume the additional responsibilities and take on the longer work hours that the changes will place on you. You may consider the option of looking for new work more suited to your existing skill set.


This is harder to personally recognize. If you are unhappy in your life, you might examine the connection between your mood and work environment. Often we hear about problems with our attitude from teammates or management. One comment may not be significant, but two is a red flag. Once you have received feedback, you must look at potential causes. Introspection is not easy and making excuses is, but avoid that trap. If you feel that you might have an attitude problem, you can try to make small changes to help the situation. If that doesn’t help and you believe your work is contributing to your unhappiness, contemplate removing yourself from the situation.

One of the differences between being mature and immature is taking responsibility for your behavior. In the work world, this means being aware of how your job affects you and the impact this can have on your team. Not everyone can adjust easily to every change. Sometimes, you need to be an adult and move on. Remember, you don’t have to stay in a job that doesn’t fit you anymore.