News and Insights / Career Resources

5 Signs it’s Time to Leave Your Job

Frustrated man with tons of paperwork

Are you nearing "unsalvageable" territory?


It can sometimes be hard to decipher your feelings about your workplace. Is it temporary dissatisfaction you’ve been feeling, or has it been ongoing for months? Do you dread getting up in the morning? Is it hard to disconnect and leave work at work?

Woman bored at laptop

Sure, you’ll have some ups and downs when it comes to workplace happiness. Nobody expects to be 100% happy all the time at work. That’s normal. But there is indeed a point where those downs cross into dangerous territory.

If you’re consistently struggling with any of the 5 points below, chances are it’s probably time to move on and find something more suited to your needs.

You’re not satisfied with your salary

Maybe you just got a raise and it wasn’t what you expected. Or you didn’t get a raise at all. Or you did some market research and found out you’re underpaid by a shockingly significant amount. Whatever the case, if you’re unhappy with your compensation, it’s hard to put that genie back in the bottle.

If you’re otherwise happy with your job, it might be worth setting up a meeting with your manager to discuss your compensation. Keep in mind, however, that standard raises at a company are between 3 to 5 percent, so they may not be able to do much. The best way to get a substantial raise nowadays is to, unfortunately, jump ship. In understaffed or popular fields, it’s not unheard of to get a new job with a 20k pay bump attached to it.

More than that, reports have been published stating that employees who stay in companies longer than two years get paid 50% less. I’m not advocating leaving a company on salary alone – other things matter. If your work is meaningful, you have good benefits, and you enjoy the people you work with, by all means, stay! Money shouldn’t be the only thing that matters. But if you’re already unhappy with most aspects of your work and you see more lucrative opportunities elsewhere, it might be time to leave.

Your health, whether physical or mental, is suffering

If you have a physical job and go home feeling like your back and feet are throbbing, that’s no way to live. But let’s not discount the mental side of health, either.

We have an availability problem here in the United States – namely, we are too available.  I love tech as much as the next person, but it has caused us to reply to work emails at 8pm at night, and to have a work laptop by our side at all times.

It’s getting harder and harder to have work/life separation. The only professionals I’ve seen with work/life balance are the ones who make a concerted effort to leave work at work. That includes turning their phone off, not syncing work emails to their phone, and not bringing the laptop home at all.

If you’re in a position where you’re unable to disconnect, it might be time to find alternative work arrangements. Your health is, hands down, the most important thing you have – and if your job is causing you physical pain or stress, look out for yourself. You come first.

Your manager or coworkers are toxic

2 men gossiping about woman at officeI’m sure you’ve heard the saying “people don’t leave jobs, they leave bad managers.” Well, there’s data to prove that: a Gallup poll of 1 million workers concluded that 75% of workers who quit their job did so because of their boss – not because of the job itself.

Unless you have a really good reason to stay (like a huge bonus coming up), it can be emotionally damaging to stick it out. Work cultures are extremely hard to change, and it’s easier to find a positive culture elsewhere.

Your job was a stepping stone into the industry

It’s common for new grads and career-changers to take the first job they get in their industry with little regards to pay, working conditions, or benefits. Sometimes, you have to ‘pay your dues’ or accept anything you can to get in your field of choice. Stick it out for a bit, get the crucial few years of experience more senior roles demand, then apply away to your heart’s content.

Most companies know employees won’t stay in junior-level or entry-level positions more than a couple years. If you love the company, see about meeting with your manager to discuss a promotion into a more senior role.

You’re not passionate about it anymore

You were once passionate about your job, but you’ve learned everything you can possibly learn about the role, there’s no room for advancement, and you have given the company everything you can. You’re now at the point where you dread getting up in the morning, because your heart’s just not in it anymore.

In those instances, it’s totally fair to find a new job. When you stop being passionate about your work, it’s extremely hard to get that back. Maybe switching to a new company will give you a fresh perspective and new love for your field. Or maybe it’s time to completely switch industries. Whatever the case, sometimes a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered!

Are you thinking it’s time to find your next challenge? Because we have plenty of those. Find yours here.


About System One

System One delivers specialized workforce solutions and integrated services. We help clients get work done more efficiently and economically, without compromising quality. For more than 40 years, we’ve built our reputation on exceptional talent, flexible delivery, and full accountability. System One’s national network spans energy, engineering, IT, commercial, scientific & clinical, legal, marketing, and beyond. System One is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

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