“Just as there was little movement in the percentage of engaged employees from 2014 to 2015, there was little change in the percentages of not engaged and actively disengaged employees. In December (of 2016), 50.3% of employees were not engaged, while 16.8% were actively disengaged.” – Gallup
Throughout the last 10-plus years, little has changed concerning American attitudes in the workplace.
We’ll refrain from delving into the myriad statistics gathered over the years, and instead, explain workplace trends in a (kind of long) paragraph.
First, most Americans are “disengaged” at work – a term used to describe those who have “checked out.” These folks are going through the motions because they have no other choice (read: money for bills.) Second, two in every 10 employees are “actively disengaged” – or disengaged-squared. These workers are not just dissatisfied, they’re miserable – and are undeterred from letting everyone else know this. (Think of Peter Gibbons and crew in the movie Office Space.)
We can accept that ‘work’ is called such for a reason. The word is literally defined as “a job or activity that you do regularly in order to earn money.” Your career – in other words – is a means to an end. So, how do we determine when an activity not designed to create happiness has become harmful to our mental, spiritual, and physical health?
To help answer the question mentioned above, we’ve created a list of ten potential indicators.
Here are ten signs it may be time to look for a new career:
1. You’re less productive and more bored than ever.
Though we may despise work sometimes, we’ll still take some pride in our efforts. When you no longer feel more productive, it’s inevitable that your performance will suffer – and the dreaded boredom you feel at work will soon become apparent, not only to you but to those around you.
Try to remain mindful on the “here and now,” such as the task in front of you. Don’t dwell on negative thoughts.
2. Thoughts of work are interfering with your sleep.
When your job begins affecting the quantity and quality of your sleep, it’s an infallible sign that its time for a change. Sure, you can try and “will” yourself through the next day – and while such an effort is noble, it often fails. The end result is that you’ll dislike your job even more, and your overall health and well-being will suffer.
Sleep is critical for health in every imaginable way. Until you find a permanent solution to the job situation, research some ways to get better quality sleep. Schedule an appointment with the doctor, if necessary.
3. You’re arguing more frequently with co-workers or your boss.
First thing, don’t get fired by going off on your boss. Recognize that it’s in your interest to keep on the best possible terms until you’ve looked for a new position. “Yelling away” your worries and stresses never works.
If possible, walk away from the situation. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and wait for the tension to subside.
4. You’re turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms include alcohol, nicotine, and yes, drugs. A beer or glass of wine after work can help us unwind and is an enjoyable routine for many. When the number of drinks after work reaches or exceeds your average intake, it’s time to examine your professional situation.
Difficult as it may be, try finding other outlets to release stress. Learn some mindfulness techniques, read a good book, or find something that motivates you.
5. You’re getting sick more often
Stress suppresses our immune system, and a job your hate is a reliable supplier of stress hormones. As such, it isn’t unusual to feel sick more often – and it should signal to you that change is needed.
If you find your health to be suffering to a significant degree, it’s advisable to schedule a doctor’s appointment and get things checked out.
6. Relationships with your loved ones are deteriorating.
Unfortunately, stress acquired by spending eight hours (or more) at a job you despise has a way of negatively affecting your home life. Time at home is meant to be enjoyed with your loved ones – a reward for a hard day’s work. If the stress you experience at the office is adversely affecting your home life, it’s past time to move on.
Until you find something that makes you a bit happier, try practicing mindfulness when with your loved ones. Enjoy the moment.
7. You spend too much of the weekend thinking about Monday.
Ah, the weekend. Time to enjoy a little R&R and unwind from the long work week, right? Absolutely. Unless you’ve gotten to the point where you’re spending time off thinking about the upcoming 40-plus hours at “that place.”
Don’t dwell on the upcoming week – it’s not here yet. Relax your body, release the negative thoughts, and engage 100 percent with whatever you’re doing.
8. You’re eating more and exercising less.
Many people turn to food in the same way others resort to alcohol and drugs. (The phrase “comfort foods” exists for a reason!) If you’re into fitness, yet you’ve found yourself navigating to the couch more frequently than the gym, it’s a double-whammy.
As mentioned, until the job situation is resolved, the only thing you can do is try to remain focused on one thing at a time (i.e. “single-tasking.) Get rid of junk foods lying around, and put your gym shoes on. Simple steps will help get you back into the routine of things.
9. You don’t like what you’re doing and/or what the company is doing.
How many of us went to college and studied something interesting either to (a) discover it isn’t really interesting, or (b) end up working in a different field, anyways. Just as our perspective on what we’re doing can change for the worse, so can our view of the organization we’re working for. (Otherwise, there wouldn’t be lists like the “10 Worst Companies to Work For.”)
One beautiful thing about the internet is that learning has become incredibly democratized. There are plenty of free or cheap courses online that make it possible to learn a new trade.
10. You’re already looking for a new job!
Not much to say here. Well, maybe one thing: if you’re job surfing on the company’s time – this is bad.
(Please do yourself a favor and don’t use the company’s computer for your job search!)