Welcome to the first in my 'Recognising when' series! I know these sort of self-help articles are everywhere, but I know first-hand that sometimes just reading something written in the right words can really resonate, even when you've read the same concept elsewhere.
So, today we're talking about jobs. I think the pandemic, for a lot of us, has shed a lot more light and opened up the gaps where they may have already existed before in our jobs. Whether working from home full time and being bombarded with virtual meetings, or being forced to return to office in the name of 'productivity' (I couldn't disagree with this more), it's given us a lot more time to assess what's important to us, what we enjoy- and what we definitely don't.
There are a few massive red flags which are pretty obvious signs to start updating your CV, which I'll touch on another day- for now, I'll be focusing on the ones that are slightly harder to recognise or acknowledge.
You start getting frustrated at the little things
Ever wondered why you have that feeling of unrest, and lowkey (sometimes not so much) agitation almost constantly at work, which sends you flying off the handle at something you wouldn't have thought twice about before? If that feeling sounds familiar, it's likely because you're wound up over feeling trapped in your role. Write it down everytime you recognise yourself reacting out of the ordinary over something, and see if a pattern develops- this could be the root of what needs to change at work, or what you need to avoid when searching for a new role.
If you work with good people, suddenly they're not enough
If you're lucky enough to work with people who you actually like, and would consider spending your precious free time with outside of work (I know, I know- perish the thought) then it can make your job feel worthwhile and get you through the harder days. But when you come home from those end-of-week Friday afternoon drinks you used to live for, and you feel just as deflated if not worse than when you closed your laptop for the day, that could be a sign that it's no longer enough to keep you in your job.
I am a firm believer that you should never stay at a job because of the people, if that's all that is keeping you there. They would leave in a shot if roles were reversed, and so should you if the time is right. You will find your people again, and those who are worth anything will stay in your life long after you've stopped working together.
You just can't wait to leave at the end of each day
There's a very clear difference in feeling between wanting to get home and see your kids/boyfriend/dog/plants, and literally counting the seconds until it's 5:30pm and you can acceptably leave the office. Not in all roles, but from my previous experiences, it's remarkable how quickly you can finish the work that's expected of you and then be left clock-watching. When you love your job, you find going above and beyond is all in a day's work, but when you stop loving it- that's when you realise just how 'easy' it can be (and for most of us, an easy job doesn't equal satisfaction).
You're reading this article
Sorry, I know it sounds like a cop-out, but if you're reading this article the chances are you're searching for permission to feel your feelings about your job. Wondering if you should leave your job when there's no obvious reason to (ie. you're not leaving the country or retraining in a totally different field) doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go, as we all have bad days, but it definitely means something needs to change.
It can be difficult to admit that it's time to move on, especially if you have people depending on you, with the potential risk of losing both job and financial security and stability. I'll definitely be writing a follow-up on the things you can do to try and make your job work for you before throwing in the towel, because I don't always believe that's the right thing for everybody- even if you've answered yes, yes, YES to everything I've written above. If it's come to this, then try to recognise the positives and all the good that can come from change- everything happens for a reason!