Is It Time For A New Job Or To Go Out On Your Own? Here Are The 4 Signs That’ll Tell You

If a job brings more stress than fulfillment, it's time to part ways.


Heidi Lynne Kurter

3 years ago | 5 min read

The new generation of workers are challenging the status quo by quitting stable jobs to freelance or find a more exciting opportunity. Freelancing has become more attractive because it eliminates excessive meetings, water cooler banter and focuses specifically on the value they can add.

Since the pandemic began, more than two million Americans have started freelancing. In fact, it’s estimated that a majority of American workers will be freelancing by 2027. Despite the unpredictable income and lack of benefits, more workers are leaving their 9-5’s to go out on their own.

However, many employees who dream of quitting their current job struggle to know when it’s time to leave. Regardless of how miserable they are, employees often stay at a job longer than they should.

This can be due to a variety of factors such as a high salary, good benefits or loyalty to their team and clients. In spite of all the clear indicators saying that it’s time to leave, it’s typically not until a crisis occurs that forces them to explore other options

Here are four signs it’s time to look for a new job or go out on your own.

Your Workplace Is Toxic

Staying in a toxic workplace is not only detrimental to your mental health but it wreaks havoc on every area of your life. When a job starts impacting your mental health and well-being, it’s time to considering leaving.

A Randstad survey revealed, nearly 40% of workers want to leave their job due to a toxic work environment. The same survey found, 46% of workers are considering leaving their job within the next year to go out on their own

Every job brings a level of stress, however, if a job brings more stress than fulfillment, it’s time to part ways. Employees shouldn’t lose their happiness, identity or self-worth for their job.

Here are some warning signs that your workplace is toxic

  • Feeling excluded from meetings, projects or a group of people
  • A culture that revolves around gossip
  • Your boss is a micromanager or gaslights you
  • No work-life balance
  • Constantly overworked and feeling burnt out
  • Rapid employee turnover
  • Dreading waking up and going to work in the morning
  • Lack of growth, mentorship or learning opportunities
  • Favoritism
  • Opinions, ideas and feedback aren’t valued
  • Profit is prioritized over people
  • Retaliation for speaking up or disagreeing
  • Harassment, discrimination and mistreatment are overlooked

Many employees have the “stick it out” attitude because they’ve lost confidence in their abilities making them believe they won’t be able to get a better opportunity. While there are many toxic workplaces, there are equally as many, if not more, workplaces that value who you are and what you bring to the company.

Your Mental Health Is Impacted

Mental health affects all areas of one’s life including their physical health. Arbab Muneeb, content marketer at GunMade, said, “when you start feeling physically unwell like headaches, frequent colds, etc, you’re taking your current job as a burden and it’s time to change your job.”

After all, your job contributes to your sense of purpose and well-being and when that’s affected all areas of your life are too.

If your mental and physical health are deteriorating due to being burnt out or mistreated, it’s time to reconsider if this is the job for you. While the pay and benefits are what’s keeping you there, eventually you’ll grow resentful for sacrificing your personal life for your job.

Research shows that your mental health influences every area of your life from personal relationships to self confidence to sleeping habits and more. Marja Verbon, founder and COO of Jump, said, “if you can’t see yourself doing what you do for a long time, moving forward or being happy at your workplace then you should look for opportunities elsewhere.”

There’s No Growth Path And You’ve Hit A Career Plateau

The goal for any company should be to have their employees leave with more knowledge and skills than when they first joined. If there’s no development plan in place or opportunities to grow, you won’t gain the experience you need to advance.

Furthermore, if you’ve gone to your manager and they’ve ignored your concerns, that’s a red flag that your employer isn’t focused on your growth.

A question to ask yourself is whether or not your job fits your long-term career goals. If not, it’s time to decide what you want and need to feel fulfilled. Otherwise, you’ll end up stuck in a rut doing the same job until you eventually leave.

Alex Perkins, cofounder of All the Stuff, explained, “it can be very comforting to have a job that's easy and lets you go on cruise control, but if your job isn’t pushing you forward and making you better, it’ll be hard to stay engaged in your work.”

He added, “life is a continuous process of learning and growth, and if you're stuck doing the same thing you've been doing since day one, it might be a sign to look for other opportunities to advance your career.”

Your Creativity Is Stifled And You’re Procrastinating More

Creativity is the driving force behind successful products, services and businesses around the world.

However, if your creativity is stifled due to a micromanager, toxic workplace, lack of diversity, unrealistic deadlines, misaligned values and poor expectations, it’s time to consider other opportunities that will nourish your creativity.

Many companies promote innovative thinking yet refuse to listen to employee feedback on how to change or improve processes.

When your job starts becoming monotonous or you feel unmotivated, lazy and disinterested, it’s time to look for something that challenges and fulfills you. The consequence of losing interest in your job is you don’t care about your performance and you become more vocal about your dislikes.

Additionally, you being to disengage from your team. Tasks now take you twice as long to complete due to you procrastinating more.

Whether it’s a new job or starting your own business, making the decision to quit your job isn’t always an easy one. Sarah Anderson, digital content and SEO specialist at Bold Socks, said, “trust what your gut is telling you.

No one should have that pit in your stomach feeling about work. That is your telltale sign that it's time to do something different.” She added, “when you're in a work environment that's the right fit for you, you won't dread Mondays.”


Created by

Heidi Lynne Kurter

Heidi Lynne Kurter is a Workplace Culture Consultant and Leadership Coach helping agencies cultivate intentionally inclusive workplace cultures that turn employees into evangelists. In addition, she transforms managers into strong and impactful leaders. Heidi is also a Forbes Senior Contributor where she writes extensively about workplace culture and leadership strategy. She's an active member of her community as a domestic violence mentor, a volunteer leadership coach for Babson College students, a mentor for Ivy League students, and mental health and anti-workplace bullying advocate.







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