Stressed Out? 7 Signs You Need to Leave Your Job

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*Editor's Note (7/1/19):  This article was originally published on 10/8/2018. It has been edited to include more helpful information and downloadable content. 😊

Do you hate your job?

Is work stress overwhelming you and increasing your anxiety?

Are you feeling like it might be time to quit?

If so, you are not alone.

Work continues to be a top source of stress for Americans, according to the annual American Psychological Association “Stress in America” surveys.

It’s normal to experience some stress at work, but there comes a point when it’s just too much to handle and you need to save yourself and get out.

Stop living for the weekend and start creating a life you love!

Here are seven signs you are under too much stress and you need to leave your job. See if you identify with any of these statements ...

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1. “My job is making me miserable.”

Most people spend about a third of their lives working.

The way I see it is – if you’re going to spend 100,000 hours doing something, it better be something you like.

If it’s not, then no wonder you’re miserable!

One of the most critical things to remember when you have anxiety is that your body might be trying to tell you something (it's time to get out of an unhealthy situation).

Work stress can seep into your personal life, affecting your relationships, mental well-being and peace of mind.

It can make you feel irritable and unmotivated.

So, if you’ve been extra snappy lately or you’ve been feeling like you just can’t get out of bed in the morning, it may be time to leave your job.

Work stress can also cause anxiety and depression.

I don’t know about you, but when I was working my 9-5 jobs, I would get really bad anxiety on Sunday night because I knew I had to go back to work the next day.

And it was super annoying because I couldn’t stop thinking about it even at night or on the weekends when I was off.

It seemed like I was always either: 1) dreading going back to work, 2) complaining about what happened at work or 3) thinking about ways to get out of going to work!

Does that sound like you? If so, you may need to quit your job so you can actually enjoy your life. Have you considered blogging?

2. “My job is making me physically ill.”

Work stress can make you sick. Literally.

Don’t get me wrong. Some stress is good – it’s the result of our body’s fight or flight system which helps us perform better and keeps us safe and alive.

But, your body doesn’t know the difference between “my life is in danger stress” and “work stress”. And your body is just not made to endure any type of stress for prolonged periods of time.

When you experience chronic stress, your immune system is weakened, and your body continues to release cortisol and other stress hormones.

This puts you at greater risk of:

  • Accelerated aging
  • Acne
  • Alcohol/drug problems
  • Anxiety
  • Breaking out in hives/rashes
  • Cancer
  • Circulatory problems
  • Colds/infections
  • Depression & other mental health issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Premature death
  • Reproductive problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Stomach problems
  • Stroke
  • Thinking and memory impairment
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Ulcers
  • Weight gain
  • Sometimes, you don’t even realize how stressed out you are until it finally manifests in physical form. You just keep “dealing with it” until your body shows you it’s time to stop.

    Try to recognize the signs your body is trying to give you. If you notice that your physical health is suffering because of work stress, you need to leave your job – nothing is worth your health!

    Signs you need to leave your job ...

    3. “I dread going to work because of my boss or coworkers.”

    Your job itself may not be the problem.

    Sometimes, it’s your boss or co-workers who make you dread going to work.

    There are all types of bad bosses. I had one boss who used to throw papers at me and yell, “Make copies!” – sheesh, nothing like a little condescension to boost the old self-esteem.

    Here are some other characteristics and behaviors you might recognize in your boss:

  • Overly critical and harsh
  • Rude and disrespectful
  • Loses their temper easily and blows up for no reason
  • Plays favorites with employees
  • Does not set clear guidelines and expectations
  • Does not give good employees recognition or reward
  • Micromanages (*my personal pet peeve!)
  • If you’ve tried talking to your boss or to HR and nothing is changing, it might be time to remove yourself from that toxic situation.

    You might also be dreading going to work because of a certain co-worker.

    Psychologists say that the reason we just don’t like someone (seemingly for no reason) may be because their behavior or personality reminds us of something we don't like about ourselves.

    So, think about whether that co-worker who you can't stand reminds you of certain aspects of yourself that you don't like. 

    Being compassionate towards yourself for your own shortcomings helps you to be more compassionate towards others for theirs.

    But, if that’s not the issue and that person is making your life a living hell, you need to seriously consider leaving your job.

    4. “My job makes me feel stupid.”

    We can all feel this way, especially when starting a new job.

    Learning the technical aspects and adapting to the company culture can take some time. Feeling stupid is often just the catalyst we need to learn and grow.

    But sometimes, we feel stupid not because of our incompetence but rather because of our insecurities and lack of confidence

    So, objectively asses your performance and ask yourself if you are truly out of your depth or if you are being unduly hard on yourself.

    Many people (including myself) experience imposter syndrome, which can make you feel like a fraud…

    Like your successes were flukes and you didn’t really deserve them. Like you’ve pulled a fast one on everyone, but they will soon find out the truth – which is that you are an inadequate fake.

    If you feel like this, remember that many successful people experience imposter syndrome:

    “It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved” – Emma Watson

    "No matter what we've done, there comes a point where you think, 'How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?'" – Tom Hanks

    However, if you’re feeling stupid at work because you have an unsupportive boss, because unreasonable expectations are placed upon you or because you are in the wrong line of work, maybe you need to leave your job.

    5. “My job is boring/too difficult.”

    If your job is boring, you may find it difficult to muster up the energy to go to work.

    You’re always thinking about how you can get out of going and you fantasize about calling in sick just so you can take a break from the monotony.

    When you are at work, you feel unchallenged, unmotivated and unfulfilled. You are constantly watching the clock, waiting for the moment you can finally be free.

    Boredom can not only affect your work performance, but also your happiness. A recent Gallup report found that 55 percent of millennials are not engaged at work, which may be part of the reason this generation is so unhappy.

    If you are bored with your job, see if there are any additional projects you can take on or any opportunities for growth within the company. If not, it may be time to leave your job and move on to more challenging, creative pursuits.

    On the other hand, if you find that your job is too hard, remember that trying to live up to unreasonable expectations can lead to burnout and overwhelm. If your boss is demanding too much of you, try asking for help –you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

    If this doesn’t work and you still feel in over your head, maybe you need to find a new job that allows you and your unique strengths to shine.

    Signs you need to leave your job ...

    6. “I have no work-life balance.” 

    Lack of work-life balance can leave you feeling stressed out and exhausted.

    When you have a demanding and inflexible work schedule, you don’t have enough time to do the things you love like spending time with your family and friends, exercising or traveling.

    Over time, this can adversely affect your productivity, your relationships and your health, especially if you are working more than 55 hours a week.

    If you are finding it difficult to juggle the demands of your work and home life, try to negotiate for more flexibility. Businesses have an interest in keeping employees happy, healthy and productive.

    If you find yourself struggling with maintaining a work-life balance, consider the consequences of working too much. Think about what’s really important in your life.

    Ask yourself insightful questions like:

    What does success mean to you?

    What would you regret most if you died tomorrow?

    And what kind of things would you be doing differently if you found out you only had six months to live?

    “Nobody, on their deathbed, has ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office’.” - Paul Tsongas

    If you are unable to negotiate a flexible schedule or allocate more time for the things that are most important to you, it's time to honestly consider that it might be time to leave your job for good.

    7. “I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about work.”


    Like it isn’t enough that you suffer through countless soul-sucking days at work but even when you are finally home and trying to relax (and not think about work), you can’t stop thinking about work.

    Anxious thoughts of what happened or what will happen at work are starting to seep into your dreams nightmares because you are subconsciously always thinking about work.

    If you are having trouble sleeping because you can’t mentally detach from work, your health may be in jeopardy. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems like:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired immune function
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Your body performs certain reparative processes that can only be performed while you are sleeping because of the extreme amount of effort required, like repairing your heart, muscles, blood vessels, tissues and nerve cells.

    During sleep, your brain also clears out neurotoxic waste (linked to Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders) that accumulates while you’re awake.

    Lack of sleep can affect your mood, judgment, learning ability, memory, physical fitness and overall health. So, if you’re losing sleep over your job, it may be time to polish up that two-week notice.

    Conclusion: Do You Need to Leave Your Job?

    We’ve all had bad days at work. Quitting your job is not something to be taken lightly or done without careful thought and preparation.

    Sometimes it pays to suck it up and stick it out – uncomfortable situations often present the best opportunities for growth.

    But, if your job is jeopardizing your health and happiness, you owe it to yourself to get out. As soon as possible.

    Some people might try and make you feel guilty or dumb or crazy for leaving a “good job”. Don’t listen to them – only you know if you need to leave your job.

    And don’t let fear of the unknown paralyze you. There’s something better out there waiting for you – you just have to go after it.

    I took the leap from employee to entrepreneur and never looked back. Now, it’s your turn – I’m rooting for you!

    *If you're serious about escaping your 9-5 and working for yourself as a freelancer or blogger, check out the Resources section on 3D Success.*

    Over to you - what was the worst job you ever had? Let me know in the comments!

    *Bonus: 10 Motivational Quotes that Will Inspire You to Finally Quit Your Soul-Sucking Job

    “A ship is always safe at the shore but that’s not what it’s built for.”
    -Albert Einstein

    “Someday is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.”
    -Timothy Ferriss

    “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

    “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”|

    "Once in a while it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in the way they have been told."
    -Alan Keightley

    “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
    -Earl Nightingale

    “Start where you are. Use what you have.  Do what you can.” 
    -Arthur Ashe

    “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” 
    -Mahatma Gandhi

    “If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: That past does not equal the future. Because you failed yesterday, or all day today, or a moment ago, or for the last six months; the last sixteen years; or the last fifty years of life, doesn’t mean anything… All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now?”
    -Anthony Robbins

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    About the Author

    Kalliope Archondis, JD, LLM. 👋Hi! I'm Kalli, personal development blogger and Etsy shop owner. Check out our Self Care by 3D Success relaxation spa gift sets here.