4 signs you're over your job and 5 things you can do about it
Editor's note: This article ran originally on the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly. It has been reprinted here with permission.
Over the summer, I read a book that likened a miserable job to hanging onto the edge of a cliff. I thought it was an appropriate analogy. Like most people, I’ve been there, and that’s totally what it feels like. You know you have to let go, but letting go is scary. You could land in a better spot, or you could meet your ruin.
The author argued that sometimes letting go of that cliff is gradual, but once you do, you usually experience success. She had examples, but I imagine there are plenty of “letting go” stories that didn’t turn out so well.
Still, I’m a fan of letting go of things that don’t serve you well. I also understand that some don’t feel this is an option — for financial reasons or otherwise. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: How do you know when you’re on the edge of a cliff? What can you do about a job you hate, and how do your finances fit into the equation?
4 signs you’re over your job
You feel taken advantage of
In my experience, this is the first sign that you’re mentally done with your job: you feel more than just unappreciated; you feel your boss is taking advantage of you. It’s one thing to not get a pat on the back; it’s another to feel you’re being manipulated.
In my own experience, failing to speak up for myself has led to this situation. Some bosses viewed me as the good little worker bee who didn’t give them trouble. Thus, if they had outrageous demands, I was the first person they’d go to, because I was the easiest. I’ve learned to slowly break myself of this meekness and set a boundary between being a pushover and being a hard worker.
A study from Florida State University backs up my experience. It found that when given an unreasonable amount or type of work, loyal, dutiful employees became jaded. When workers felt they were being taken advantage of, researchers found a 50 percent decline in “helping behavior” and a 35 percent increase in “anger at supervisors.”
Getting fired doesn’t sound too bad
I was once contracted on a project known throughout its company for being, frankly, a s*&t show. Workers were expected to put in 50 hours a week for no other reason than to showcase their dedication. The project was so miserable, even seemingly kind colleagues would throw each other under the bus if it meant saving themselves. My cube mate, Ron, hated the project.
Once, I went to pick something up from the printer and found Ron’s resume in the lower tray. I discreetly handed it to back him. Slightly embarrassed, he laughed:
“Wow. That shows you how much I care about getting fired.”
If getting fired doesn’t sound too bad, it’s probably time to let go of that cliff.
(Side note: Ron did let go. Shortly after, he found his dream job and moved to Hawaii. An extreme but inspirational example.)
You purposely slack off
That Florida State study also found that hard workers had a 25 percent decrease in productivity when they felt they were being asked to do too much.