Job stability seems a rare promise these days. Downsizing and resizing companies continues to be a predominant sign of our economically-challenged times, and there is plenty of worry about the axe falling when you least expect it. However, on the other side of the coin, you may be hanging onto a job that is actually doing you more harm than good.

Leaving a job because you're at the breaking point is not easy, especially when others like your spouse and/or children rely on your income. It can be a catch-22. Not a fun place to be, but getting out of a job that's negatively affecting your health is better in the long run for everyone concerned.

Here are five telltale signs that it's time to consider quitting:

  1. There’s a lot of animosity in the workplace. Maybe when you first started your job, there was a pretty good group of people working there. Typically, however, there are one or two people who can make our lives hell at work. Most of the time, we can deal with them if they are in the minority (of course, it gets sticky if one of them is your boss!) but if, over time, more of these kinds of trouble-makers get hired, it's a given that before long, you will feel oppressed and discouraged. Who needs an atmosphere like that?
  2. The corporate culture doesn't fit anymore. Sometimes the corporate structure of a company that once enticed you takes on a different feel. Then we start feeling at odds. As in any relationship, people, companies, and their procedures can change over time, which can become problematic if the same values and principles are no longer shared. Take a good look at what works and what doesn't work for you. If the latter tops the former, there is no use sticking around because you'll feel like salt is continuously being poured into an open wound.
  3. You can't get ahead. Most of us don't want to stay in the same job year after year. We want to be promoted and have more challenging duties and responsibilities. That's the natural order for those who are ambitious. If you feel you've reached your glass ceiling and you can't see any opportunities for advancement, then move on.
  4. The joy has gone out of it. Most likely, when you were hired, you came to the company bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and full of ideas for what you would accomplish. You worked hard and paid your dues, but the dreams you had didn't materialize. The job has become monotonous. If you've ended up going through the motions on auto-pilot, where's the pleasure and satisfaction in that?
  5. The stress is too much. Burn out is a huge problem in the corporate world today. Long hours on high alert, tedious, repetitive work, too much travel, and contentious co-workers all add up to high levels of stress. When work becomes all there is and your home life starts to suffer, that is a reason to check your state of health and ability to keep up with all the demands. Is your blood pressure on the rise? Are you always eating fast foods on the run? Is your boss always criticizing you? No job that constantly overwhelms and/or demoralizes you is ever worth having. Check out of the job before you check out because of it!

Deciding to leave your job should not be a sudden decision by any means, especially given all the factors you have to weigh in the process. When you first start noticing signs of stress with co-workers or being uncomfortable with the direction the company is taking, or if you’re wondering if you’ll get to that next rung on the ladder, it’s a good idea to get an objective second opinion from someone outside the organization, and preferably someone who isn‘t too familiar with you. That person could be a counselor, mentor or professional business coach who can help you sort through your feelings and make the decision that feels right to you. After all, it’s your life, and if your job is frustrating, overwhelming, and energy-draining, calling it quits may be exactly what you need to do.

[Editor’s Note: Deciding if and when to leave your job is a scary decision. You don’t have to do it alone. Use your best resources in reaching this pivotal change in your life.
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From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina