As the year closes out and you think about what changes to make, it's inevitable that you will ponder your career and your daily work. Whether you work for a small or large company, it's normal to have a few bad days and, in frustration think, "I am going to quit."

In fact, empty threats can become the norm for someone who is unhappy in his or her job but not ready to make a change. In addition, if 70 percent of the population isn't engaged with work, according to an engagement survey by Gallup, then it's likely that you are surrounded by people who feel similarly, which makes not loving your job the norm.

But the reality is, loving your job is not an unrealistic dream--it's entirely possible, but it might mean finding a different company to work for. More and more businesses are starting to see that focusing on employee happiness and potential is a strategic move that influences business performance positively. According to Great Place to Work, a global human-resources consulting firm that has studied effective workplaces for 30 years in 40 countries, "Our studies of the 100 Best Companies show that great workplaces enjoy significantly lower turnover and better financial performance than industry peers."

Business owners sometimes have this idea in mind when they start out, but proving a company's value and meeting numbers can take priority over employee happiness. When this happens or you feel the culture becomes one of complaining and unhappiness, how do you know when it's time to throw in the towel, rather than stay and figure out how to make things work?

So here are five indications that it might be time to call it quits:

1. On a weekly basis, start tracking your level of engagement with the work you're doing in conjunction with how much fun you're having with your co-workers. When, despite your best efforts, the weeks of feeling deflated, frustrated, and downright bored far outweigh the positive ones, this is a serious red flag.

2. You have weekly conversations with your co-workers about how bad things are in the organization. You keep finding more and more people who are unhappy and have given up on trying to make a change. You discover that you are in survival mode and others that are doing the same surround you.

3. You aren't valued for what you bring to the table. Despite giving your job everything you have or working insane hours, you don't feel as though you are recognized for it and don't see any line of sight to bigger and more expansive opportunities. In essence, you have little to no motivation, and it's been that way for a while.

4. You have little to no respect for your leaders. You can't relate to them and you find no connection to their style or to the direction they are steering the strategy for the future.

5. You live for the weekends. You feel that you're more alive in your free time than you are during work hours. You are constantly trying to figure out how to curtail your time dedicated to your job, meaning you look for ways to leave early, if possible. If no one is looking, you start planning vacations. You have little to no connection to the company's success.

If any of these red flags ring true, then as daunting as it may seem, it may be time to start an exit strategy. While I am not going to suggest that it's not challenging to change jobs, kicking off a job search can be exciting and fun. Regardless of your reasons, I would stop and analyze them all in depth. More often than not, you have more power to make more change than you realize. Usually these excuses are quick ways to keep the status quo and build a habit of resentment.

Staying in the wrong job is a bad habit to break. 2015 may be the year to become fulfilled and challenged by work. Why not make better use of the time you spend complaining? Start a search that could change your life instead.

Published on: Dec 10, 2014