Fish Or Cut Bait – When To Stay And When To Go

Every meeting with your long-winded boss feels like nails on a chalkboard. You’ve started fantasizing about working in a drive-thru, and had to physically pinch your mouth closed this morning to stop the words “Ugh, I quit.” from just tumbling out.

Honestly, don’t bother. You’re already saying it…your shoddy performance, slack attendance, and general carelessness as of late speaks loud and clear (if not to you, to EVERYONE at work) that your heart simply isn’t in it. They get it – you are unhappy at your job. But passive aggressiveness will get you nowhere. Whether the answer is to find another job or simply work with the one you have, here are three clues it’s time for you to make a change:

It’s obvious you no longer care.
Unlike the amazing work that got you gold stars at the beginning, anything you have turned in lately is full of careless errors. Um, sorry. You aren’t fooling anyone but yourself. Blatantly careless work a clear sign to your manager that you are either looking for a new job or riding it out as long as you can. You think you are hiding how much you hate your job by doing the bare minimum, right? Think again. Dry clean your interview suits and get your resume together…if you don’t take charge of this situation, I promise your manager will do it for you shortly.

You’ve taken 38 sick days this year.
If you have used so many sick and vacation days that it has become an issue, you are quite literally telling your boss “I don’t want to be here.” Of course, life happens. People do have circumstances that justify significant absences from work. But generally, if your month long “mental health break” doesn’t qualify for short term disability leave, you should probably just quit and get your head on straight. Everyone needs vacations and breaks – it is why they exist in the first place – but at the end of the day, you must at VERY LEAST be present and do the job you were hired to do. I mean, what do you think they are paying you for?

You’ve gotten a bad evaluation, or worse, a formal warning.
If you have gotten a really bad evaluation or a formal warning, take the points they’ve raised about your performance seriously. Whether or not you decide to stay at this job, fix these issues now or I PROMISE you they will come back to haunt you at every job ever after. An important thing to keep in mind: to your employer, a bad evaluation or formal warning means two crucial things: 1. They have given you due notice that they have good reason to fire you, and 2. Their impression is that you are currently a problem employee.

Can you work hard to turn it around? Sure – this may be just the wake up call you needed. Just know that now you not only have to fix your issues, but also perceptions developed through watching your poor past performance. With dedication and focus, you could become your manager’s favorite success story. At worst, you start giving it your all TODAY and are able to leave with your head held high and a recommendation. Next time, hopefully, you’ll be smart enough not to make the same mistakes.

It’s not about staying somewhere just to stay. If your love affair with this “hot” job has fizzled flat, it won’t do anyone any good to stay in it just for the paycheck. You might find adjusting your attitude and quitting bad habits will make THIS job a better place. On the other hand, if you are so over it you can’t function, do yourself and your employer a favor and exit gracefully. You (and they) will be happy you did. 

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