The alarm clock goes off bright and early on Monday morning. What's your reaction? Are you ready to tackle the day head-on? Or do you hit the snooze button and dread getting out of bed?
If you're experiencing the latter, then it may be time to reevaluate your life and find out what's the catalyst. In most cases, you may find that the lag is work-related. Maybe that explains why it's normal for people to have four job changes by the time they're 32.
But how can you be certain that you need to make a career change? You can start by looking out for these 18 signs:
1. You're always bored.
While there are some advantages to boredom--it can help boost creativity and make you more goal-oriented--if you're spending the workday playing games, shopping, daydreaming, or looking at the time, then obviously you're not doing the type of work that excites or challenges you.
2. You're constantly left out in the cold.
There could be a couple of reasons why you're consistently not being invited to team meetings or social events outside of the workplace, as well as kept in the dark about the latest business happenings.
For starters, you haven't been able to find a clique. While having friends shouldn't be the main reason why you love your job, it definitely makes the workday run a lot more smoothly when you have a workplace buddy. Just think how much Pam and Jim made enjoyable for each other in The Office.
Another reason could be that your boss or colleagues don't value your input and insights. When people aren't listening to your two-cents-worth, it's easy to understand why you don't feel like a valuable member of the team.
3. The work doesn't come naturally.
You see this all the time in the workplace. You have the one employee who is unstoppable. In fact, they're so productive and skilled at their job that they make everyone else look bad. Then you have the employee who is struggling to keep up with deadlines and understanding even the simplest of tasks.
Does this mean that one is smarter or more driven than the other? Not necessarily.
The one employee is playing to their strengths, so the work just comes naturally. You, on the other hand, don't possess those same skills. Eventually, your success and job satisfaction will go completely out of the window.
4. Feeling frustrated over your personal goals.
We all have those dreams we've never let go of. But believe it or not, sometimes a job that we're not that keen on can help us achieve those dreams or goals.
For example, if you always wanted to be a science-fiction writer but have been working as a copywriter for an ad agency, then you've been enhancing your writing skills over time--and maybe even learned some marketing tricks--that will help you succeed as an author.
5. You aren't being utilized properly.
If you were hired to be that amazing copywriter at an ad agency but they have yet to publish any of your blog posts, billboards, or brochures, then why are you sticking around? Your talents are clearly going to waste, and it may take time to move to a new company that is actually going to use you and your talents.
6. You get the cold shoulder from your boss.
While you weren't ever best friends with your boss, there was a time when you could have a conversation to share ideas or even have a brief recap of Game of Thrones during your lunch break. Then, one day, these conversations cease.
It's obviously confusing, and there could be more to the story, like the boss going through some personal problems. But if you continually get the cold shoulder then it makes it difficult to reassure yourself that everything is all right, as we frequently ask questions like, "What did I do wrong?"
7. You receive poor feedback.
A long time ago, I was friends with a bartender who always got bad tips, along with a lot of negative comments from patrons. This friend would then complain about the customers (even to other customers) instead of admitting that he just wasn't a great bartender.
No matter what position you're in, if you are receiving poor feedback from clients, co-workers, or in performance evaluations, then that's one of the clearest signs that you're not cut out for the job, or it's not right for you.
8. The company doesn't "jibe with your life's goals and values."
"Does your company help you fulfill your personal mission?" ask former GE CEO Jack Welch and best-selling author Suzy Welch. "Essentially, this question asks whether your company jibes with your life's goals and values."
For example, are you required "to travel more than you'd like, given your chosen work-life balance? Does it offer enough upward mobility, given your level of ambition?"
Remember that there "are no right or wrong answers to such questions, only a sense of whether you are investing your time at the right or wrong company for you," according to the Welches.
9. Less work is coming down the pipeline.
If you're receiving fewer assignments, this could be an indicator that there was a decision from upper management that you shouldn't have as many responsibilities. Whether that means your employer has lost faith in you or that your job may be in jeopardy, this is a sign that you should start polishing up your résumé.
10. You don't fit in.
When I was college, I was friends with someone who wanted to be a teacher. The kicker? This person couldn't stand children and just wanted to get into education because of the health benefits and the vacation time. Little did this person know that teachers work their tails off, and it requires them to spend a lot of time with kids. That person didn't last very long as a teacher and went back to school to become a lawyer.
If you don't feel like you fit in with the specific position or culture, then it's in your best interest to move on.
11. You're not that desperate for a paycheck.
Unfortunately, we kind of need money to pay for housing, transportation, food, and clothing. And that's why we have to get a job. However, some things are more valuable than a paycheck. For example, is it worth spending 25 years at a job you dread so that you can drive a BMW? Or would you rather spend your life working at a job that you love and are excited about and drive a Toyota Camry?
As Paul Graham says, "To be happy, I think you have to be doing something you not only enjoy, but admire. You have to be able to say, at the end, wow, that's pretty cool."
12. You've got a horrible boss.
Merideth Ferguson, co-author of a workplace study and assistant professor of management at Baylor, says, "Most people quit supervisors, they don't quit jobs." Working under a horrible manager or supervisor doesn't just impact your performance, it also affects your personal life and even your health, making you more stressful and anxious.
13. You're easily overwhelmed.
Do you easily get overwhelmed or excited over even the most minimal tasks or questions? I once had a job that I couldn't stand, and every time my boss assigned me a simple task, such as emailing a question to client, my blood would boil.
Even though my boss did absolutely nothing wrong and was asking something very easy of me, the job itself frustrated me so much that it didn't take a lot for me to get worked up.
14. You don't talk about your job or company.
Richard Branson is one of my favorite entrepreneurs. His charisma, transparency, and success story motivate me whenever I need a little inspiration. One of the things I admire about him is that he's the biggest cheerleader for the company he founded, Virgin. In fact, can you imagine anyone else starting that company, or Branson working for any other organization? They're indistinguishable from each other. And that excitement trickles down to its employees.
If you're embarrassed and avoid talking about your company, that's definitely a red flag. Remember, you're the biggest champion for a company, and if you're not feeling it, then how will clients and customers?
15. Your work-life balance is off.
This shouldn't be breaking news, but work-life balance is essential when it comes to the happiness, motivation, and productivity of employees. After all, if you feel burnt out at the end of the day and feel like you only work, then it's time to find a gig that allows you to have more freedom to enjoy life outside of the office.
16. You don't feel challenged.
Robert O'keane, an international search consultant for Charles Francis Cooper, writes: "If you find your job role has become confusing or that people in senior management situations start to feedback conflicting advice then it could be worth looking at your options."
O'keane adds, "No one wants to be stuck in a situation where they can't win, and if a job makes you feel like this, why not look at moving on? Your job role should make you feel exhilarated and challenged--like you are succeeding in something, rather than like you are fighting a losing battle and not achieving anything."
17. You can't be authentic.
There's a restaurant chain in Britain called Wagamama that has one of the greatest slogans I've come across: "Be you. Be Wagamama." Underneath that slogan is the line "We celebrate the things that make you different."
This company embraces the various skills and personalities that employees possess and uses them to create a successful business.
If you feel like you can't be yourself, then perhaps it's time to look for greener pastures.
18. You can't envision yourself here any longer than a year.
Here's another great question from the Welches: "Can you picture yourself at your company in a year?"
"We use that time frame because that's how long it usually takes to find a new, better job once you decide to move on. So peer, as best you can, into the future, and predict where you'll be in the organization, what work you'll be doing, who you will be managing, and who will be managing you," they add.
If that scenario strikes you with anything short of excitement, then you're spinning your wheels. Or put another way, you're just about to stay too long.