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6 warning signs you need to find a new job

With a buoyant employment market, there are plenty of job opportunities to consider. While chasing higher pay can be one reason to move on, there are other reasons to weigh up when deciding whether to stay or go, writes Michelle Gibbings.

user iconMichelle Gibbings 23 August 2022 Big Law
6 warning signs you need to find a new job
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Employment provides financial benefits. However, the benefits go beyond the pay packet. It can positively impact self-esteem, confidence, emotions and wellbeing, providing you work in an environment that enables you to be the best. 

What are the warning signs that you might be in an environment that isn’t working for you and that it’s time to find the exit? Here are six to consider.

Work feels like a game of Survivor


In the TV show Survivor, participants go to extreme lengths to try to “survive” and “win the game”.  They’ll endure deprivation, physical pain, and psychological mind games as they embark on a game of survival of the fittest. 

In some situations, work can operate like a game of Survivor. An organisation’s toxic culture underpinned by poor leadership creates a working environment that is mentally challenging and physically exhausting. While constant restructures and office politics can establish a climate of uncertainty and be highly stressful.

When your workplace makes you so unhappy that it’s impacting your wellbeing and that of those close to you, it’s time to consider “voting yourself off the island”.  When you do this, you take control by deciding to go somewhere else or do something different. This first step is empowering.

Performance is dropping

It’s unrealistic to expect that you will love every minute of every day, and there are always aspects of a role that can be tedious.

However, your motivation will drop when your work environment no longer brings out your best. With lower motivation, you may start to do only what you must do.  This bare minimum approach can impact your performance and the outcomes you deliver. People will notice your lack of enthusiasm for your work, which can, in time, negatively affect your reputation.  

This reputational damage can have long-term consequences for your future career prospects and marketability.

There’s a value disconnect

Our values shape how we see the world. When your values and the values of the organisation you work for are out of alignment, it can impact how you feel about your work. You may feel pressured to change who you are at work. This may show up as you not feeling comfortable voicing your opinion or having to support ideas that go against what you believe in.

Research from Kellogg University shows that when we stop being our authentic selves, it causes psychological distress, which can have ongoing emotional and physical ramifications.

Cynic is your middle name

When you spend large parts of your working day complaining about what’s happening at work and look at everything through the lens of distrust and cynicism, you become a challenging person to work with (or for). 

With this approach, you don’t trust your work colleagues or offer ideas on how to improve things at work. You only complain about them. This approach does nothing to enhance your reputation or build good working relationships.

Afflicted by burnout

You feel burnt out, and the physical signs of stress appear in how you behave at home with your friends and family.  You always feel exhausted, and the thought of going to work makes you feel anxious or highly emotional.

The rise of burnout resulted in the World Health Organisation officially classifying “burnout” as a recognised illness in May 2019. Knowing the warning signs is critical so you can determine how to change your current environment or whether you need to change your settings.

You’ve stopped learning

Staying relevant in today’s world requires you to continue growing and being challenged. If you’ve stopped learning at work and there is no more room to grow or expand your horizons, it may be time to step outside and do something else.

There are stages in your life where it can feel like a luxury to consider throwing in a job to go and do something else. There’s the reality of paying the mortgage, school fees and bills, for example. However, when you take charge of making the change, you’ll find new opportunities.

Michelle Gibbings is an author and workplace expert.