It can take years to stumble across a job that's truly right for you. Many of us work hard across multiple industry sectors before finding somewhere that works for them, whilst many of us work hard in a single industry before finding their feet and getting what they really want from their job. The right job doesn't mean that it's a breeze, that you hardly have to do anything and you make bank anyway. The right job means the job that is mentally and emotionally stimulating, that you have a small place in your heart for, that also keeps you financially covered. Whilst those are only a few aspects that are worth thinking about when it comes to your work life, here are some more that might be worth your consideration.
1. Your heart's not in it.
Whilst this should be a given, not all of us have the privilege to work in jobs that we truly love. I'm not saying that you have to be totally in love with your role, but passion and interest play large parts in your career timeline. Having said that, some people are happy to have no real interest in their job, and pursue passions outside of the workplace, and that's totally fine. To many, work is merely just something that you do to create income, get out of the house and allow you to live, and it's important to stress that there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But given that the majority won't retire until we reach our seventies, wouldn't it be great if the nine to five was more than that?
2. You have toxic work relationships.
If you're lucky, your colleagues are another family for you, that you get to spend time with day in, day out, and get paid for it. They're confidants, they're best friends, they're siblings, they're parent figures, even. We've probably all been there where our 'fave' is off sick, or working away, and your work day feels that little bit emptier without them. That's great, but we also need to consider the relationships within our working life that aren't so good for us. That could be a colleague, a boss or more senior figure, or even the relationship you have with the environment itself. I've seen and experienced toxic work relationships myself, whether that's bullying from a higher rank, encouragement of behaviours such as substance abuse and disordered eating, passive aggression at its peak, and more that I don't even want to mention. These kinds of relationships do more than just put a downer on your work day, and whilst it doesn't necessarily mean you need to change careers entirely, jumping ship to another company in your sector might be an idea.
3. Your work-life balance is totally fucked.
Staying late or working overtime occasionally is all a part of working hard, and more often than not comes with the territory in most professions. But when the overtime hours start racking up and you're working just as many hours out-of-hours than you are during those which you're contracted, it's not a good sign. Previous jobs of mine required 90 hour weeks, if not more, for extended periods of time. I rarely saw my family, relationships with my friends suffered; I worked through most weekends and bank holidays, and the time I had for myself were non-existent. Whether it means just a sit-down with your boss (if they're understanding enough to listen), or a search online to see what else is out there, remember the importance of a proper work-life balance.
4. Your effort is getting you nowhere.
I know plenty of people who have worked with the same employer for years, proved themselves time and time again, only to be overlooked for promotions and being used as a stepping stone for other people to reach greener pastures. That's not because you're not working hard enough, or that you're not qualified enough for something better, but you find yourself in this predicament anyway. This kind of thing often comes with empty promises from senior positions, and gaslighting when you find the confidence to speak up about the situation. Find an employer that recognises your worth, and offers you genuine opportunities to thrive.
5. You're bored.
A simple one really that relates partially to the first point. Work doesn't have to be full throttle all the time, but whilst quiet moments are normal (and totally expected from time to time), boredom is not a good sign. I don't mean boredom in the sense of it being dark and gloomy outside, the phones are quiet, your inbox is up to date, and you've already made your deadlines. I mean boredom in the sense that what you're doing fails to stimulate you mentally, whether that be intellectually, creatively, or other. As I said before, you don't have to be enamoured with the job you're in, but don't let it be a waste of your further potential.
6. Your mental wellbeing is being compromised.
This is one of the biggest signs, and goes hand in hand with a couple of the above points, if not all of them in some way. Additionally, Sunday blues are super common (you know, the feeling when you reach around 7pm on a Sunday evening and wonder where the fuck your weekend went), but if you find yourself spending more of your time off getting uptight over going back to work, or your level of Sunday bluedom is particularly high (high anxiety, panic attacks, all-consuming dread and incessant crying fall into this category), then this job is no good for you. I'm not telling you that you need a job that won't give you any Sunday blues at all, because we all love our down time out of the office, but just take notice of your mental health and how you're feeling as a result of your job role. If you need to reassess things, then take time to sit down and take the necessary steps that you need.
7. Your physical wellbeing is suffering.
This is the one that I'm the most guilty of. By normal standards, I'm a workaholic anyway, but I worked in jobs that have always taken advantage of that fact. I've worked more hours in a week than that of someone with three full-time jobs, which was a combination of both my inner workaholic and my boss' expectations. Each time I've done this, I've ignored illness, my chronic fatigue, and any other indication that my body gave me that it was running on empty. And both times I've kept this up for too long, I've ended up in hospital. There was even another occasion where I broke my elbow whilst at work at 7.30am, and because we were a small team and I was expected to make my work the priority, I waited until 4.30pm in complete agony before I could stop for long enough to head to A&E. Then, I got a cab straight from the emergency room to head back to work, where I stayed until gone midnight. Broken bones, failed organs, and auto-immune diseases all take priority over what your boss wants. If you haven't got the message from that: make yourself the damn priority.
If any of these are ringing bells for you, have a think about what's best for you, whether it's something that you need, or just really, really want. It'll be worth it, I promise. And as always, keep up the hustle.