10 Warning Signs You Need a New Job

Disrupted sleep patterns, less passion and boredom are some warning signs that you need a new job.

The Balance/Catherine Song

Are you having a tough time at work? If you’re thinking about quitting your job, you’re in good company. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 3 million workers quit their job each month. 

Depending on your circumstances, quitting might also be the best thing you can do for your career.


Sometimes, people wait too long to recognize that a job situation is not a good fit, and that can have all kinds of negative consequences. 

Of course, most people can't afford to leave a bad job at the drop of a hat. When's the best time to leave, and how do you know when you should make the decision to start a job search?

Are You Waiting Too Long to Move On?

Research shows that job stress can exacerbate physical and mental health problems. Prolonged stress can result in burnout and depression and increase the risks of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Hold off on submitting your resignation for too long, and you may also do serious damage to your career, souring your relationship with your employer or even getting fired because you're not productive.

10 Warning Signs You Need a New Job

You can prevent these possibilities by recognizing some of the signs that your job is unsustainable before the situation reaches a crisis status. 

1. You Are Already Thinking About Finding a New Job

Everyone has the occasional bad day at work. But if you find yourself daydreaming about quitting on a regular basis, there’s probably a good reason for it. Take that as a sign that it's time to start job searching.

2. Your Conversation Is Dominated by Complaints About Work

If every dinner conversation starts and ends with negative commentary about your day at work, it might be time to find a job. While it’s normal to think about your job after hours, ideally some of that time should be spent pondering the day’s highlights and opportunities for growth. 

3. You Dream of Retirement—Even if You’re Young

Do you spend all fantasizing about retirement, calculating the years, months, and days until the time comes?


Don't spend your professional life in countdown mode. Instead, take that feeling and use it as motivation to find a position that is satisfying and emotionally fulfilling.​

4. Your Sleep Patterns Have Been Disrupted

You have difficulty getting to sleep, or you wake up during the night with worries about your job. Sleep is essential to your health, and job-induced stress can be a cause of poor sleep. Unfortunately, this can exacerbate a difficult situation, making a bad job seem even worse. Being tired all the time can make everything seem like a challenge.

5. You Get Headaches or Frequent Colds

Your physical health can be an indicator of your mental health, and if you're getting sick more often, your job might be to blame. If your job is literally making you ill, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to look for a new position.

6. You Are Drinking Too Much

While it's OK to relax with a glass of wine after work, your day shouldn't be driving you to down a bottle. If you find that your work is causing your copious consumption of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, you should take some time to reflect on your professional situation.

7. You Are Eating More (or Less) Than Usual

Some people turn to food in the same way they do to drugs and alcohol, but stress can also cause you to lose your appetite. If you’re eating or drinking too much because of stress at work, it’s a sign that this may not be the job for you.

8. You Dread Mondays or Have Trouble Waking up for Work

It's normal to be tired in the morning, but you shouldn't feel a dread each time the alarm goes off. If anxiety is consuming your thoughts and sapping your energy, consider moving on.

9. You Are Bored

How much time do you spend on social media during a typical workday? If that question makes you cringe, consider whether you’re bored at work. It might be time to look for a more mentally stimulating job.

10. You Are Arguing More Often With Co-Workers or Bosses

If your dissatisfaction with your job is causing tension in the office or if you have received warnings about your performance or behavior, it's definitely time to start looking for a new position.


It's better to leave a job on good terms so you can keep your past employer as a source for recommendations and as a networking connection. It’s best to avoid being fired if you can help it.

Of course, many of these signs can be indicators of other personal, emotional, or physical problems, but if you are stressed about work and experiencing some of these symptoms, then you certainly need to reevaluate your employment situation.

What to Do Next

If you’ve made the decision to move on, don’t just quit your job. In most cases, you can carefully and strategically start looking for a new position before you turn in your resignation. It’s easier to get hired when you’re working, and you don’t know how long it might take you to find a new job. Plus, you may not be able to collect unemployment benefits if you quit.

Take the time to plan your job search. In addition to getting you out of a bad situation, it will give you something else to focus on instead of the job you’d like to quit.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Job Openings and Labor Turnover News Release and Data.” Accessed March 30, 2021.

  2. Norito Kawakami and Takashi Haratani. “Epidemiology of Job Stress and Health in Japan: Review of Current Evidence and Future Direction,” Industrial Health. Accessed March 30, 2021. 

  3. Hannah Knudsen, Lori J Ducharme, and Paul M Roman. “Job Stress and Poor Sleep Quality: Data From an American Sample of Full-Time Workers,” Social Science & Medicine. Accessed March 30, 2021.

  4. Denise Janicki-Deverts and Crista N. Crittenden. “Common Cold: The Stress Factor,” Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Accessed March 30, 2021.

  5. Cleveland Clinic. “How Stress Can Make You Eat More—or Not at All.” Accessed March 30, 2021.

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