4 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Work Environment

woman job stress

It’s no secret that millions of Americans have lost their jobs as a result of this pandemic. Still, over 40 percent of the global workforce plans to voluntarily switch jobs in 2021. On the surface, this can seem like a dicey move in such an uncertain economic landscape. However, for those who are facing exhaustion, disconnection, or lack of recognition and inclusion from their leaders, a change in work environment could actually be the healthiest option to grow and thrive. 

Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Job

Does this sound relatable? Have you started to question if it might be time to move on from your current job? Are you debating whether to put feelers out for a new organization or career path? This is not a decision to be taken lightly. But sometimes it’s the course of action that will benefit you most in the long-term. Here are four indications you have outgrown your workplace—and are ready for the next rung on your career ladder.         

1. Your paycheck doesn’t reflect your efforts and achievements.

When was the last time you earned a raise which felt comparable to the qualifications you bring and the contributions you make? While salary negotiations can be uncomfortable, you deserve an income that reflects all you’ve done to help the organization succeed.

If this doesn’t seem to be on the horizon at your current job, take the Payscale Salary Survey to determine if the compensation you receive is lower than what other professionals in the same role or industry earn. Then if your leadership will not re-evaluate based on this information, start looking for a new employer who does recognize the amount you’re worth.      

2. You don’t feel challenged or motivated to learn new skillsets. 

Just about everyone in the workforce feels unmotivated at times, but if it becomes a pattern, consider this a warning. You want a career path that stretches and challenges you to assume new responsibilities, learn different skills, experiment with creative solutions, and reach for your full potential. But if your current job leaves no room for expansion or innovation, this will cause boredom to fester which, in turn, can stifle your performance. And this isn’t the fault of your own work ethic or commitment either—a low motivation workplace harms productivity and causes turnover rates to soar, according to Frontiers in Psychology.   


3. You watch the clock more frequently or impatiently than usual. 

On the subject of boredom, do you feel like time passes slower on the job than it used to? Is it difficult to fill those long hours with enough tasks to stay occupied? Do you count each minute until it’s 5:00 PM and you’re out of the office? When you are in a flow zone of maximum focus and attention, a neurotransmitter chemical known as dopamine is released which tricks the brain into perceiving that time has accelerated. But when you’re idle at work, this dopamine production is less active which seems to halt the passage of time. So rather than continuing to side-eye the clock, search for a position in which the time flies.  

4. You’re noticing a decline in workplace morale and satisfaction.  

Maybe it’s due to coworkers who spread their grievances, a supervisor who micromanages and withholds affirmation, or executives who don’t openly communicate decisions. But no matter the cause, a toxic internal culture can weaken morale at all levels of the organization. Since the start of COVID-19, employee morale across the globe has fallen to just 20 percent, confirms research from Gallup. This downturn can result in chronic stress, burnout, absenteeism, and physical or mental health complications. So if your current work environment has become dysfunctional, make a change to prioritize your own well-being.        

A New Job Opportunity Could Be Right Around the Corner.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to assume that every single moment on the job will be spectacular. Even the most satisfied workers experience difficult, inconvenient, high pressure situations at one point or another. Still, a career should ultimately energize, stimulate and inspire you to deliver the strongest performance effort you’re capable of. If this is no longer the case, then you might need to move on to new opportunities elsewhere.      

Are you questioning whether you have outgrown the work environment you’re in right now? Do you feel like there could be something else out there which reflects more of your career goals, interests or ambitions? Have you made a change recently to pursue another job? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

About Author

Mary-Elizabeth Meagher is a freelance writer, social media marketer, travel enthusiast, musical theatre nerd and self-described bohemian. She lives and seeks adventure in the Arizona desert, and she also blogs over at Health Be a Hippie—her personal contribution to making the internet a more authentic, vulnerable and empowering place.


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