how to know it’s time to leave your job

The job market has been tough for so long that it’s easy to think that if you have a job, you should stay in it for as long as possible – but that mindset isn’t always right! Too many people stay in their jobs well beyond when they should, and that ends up holding them back in their careers and breeding unhappiness.

Here are eight signs that it’s time to think about moving on from your job.

1. You’ve been unhappy for months. Everyone goes through periods of discontent at work now and then, but if you’ve dreaded going to work for months and get anxious just thinking about your office, that’s a sign that you should be looking at alternatives.

2. You haven’t had a raise in three years. Not every company does annual raises anymore, and the economy has meant that some companies have frozen pay across the board. But after years of no pay increase, it’s worth looking around at what other companies might offer you. (Make sure you’ve asked for a raise first though; if you haven’t made the case for increased pay, leaving over the lack of it would be premature.)

3. Your boss hates you. Even if you like your work, having a boss who dislikes you usually means that you’d be better off moving on. Managers have an enormous amount of control over your career – from what projects you get to what growth opportunities and recognition you’re given. A boss who dislikes you can hold you back and have a long-term impact on your career. You’re far better off working for someone who will champion you than thwart you.

4. When you tell your family and friends about your workplace, they’re horrified. When you’ve been in a toxic and dysfunctional workplace for a long time, you can lose sight of how bad it is and it can even start to feel normal. If this has happened to you, it’s a sign to get out! If you don’t, you risk internalizing that dysfunction and taking bad habits with you to future jobs.

5. You can’t remember the last time you felt challenged in your work. Sure, some people are happy to stay at a job that simply pays the bills. But if you’re someone who wants to grow professionally and personally, then staying in a job that hasn’t challenged you in a long time doesn’t align with those plans. (This doesn’t mean that you should leave at the first sign of boredom. Rather, this is about prolonged periods where you feel like you’re stagnating and where you see no change in sight.)

6. You’re receiving a lot more critical feedback in writing. If you’re suddenly getting a slew of critical feedback in emails or memos, it’s a sign your job could be in jeopardy. Many companies require written documentation of problems and warnings before an employee is let go, so a sudden increase of written feedback (when you didn’t used to receive any) can be a sign that your boss is creating a paper trail to build a case for firing you.

7. You’re on a formal performance improvement plan (PIP). PIPsare often the last thing that happens before you’re fired. In theory, if you meet the terms of the plan, you’ll preserve your job and be able to move forward, but in practice, by the time you’re on one, it’s often because things aren’t working out and aren’t likely to. That doesn’t mean that PIPs never end in success; sometimes they do. But since they so often don’t, it’s smart to be job-searching meanwhile.

8. Your boss tells you. If your boss says things like, “I need to see significant improvement” or “this could get you fired,” she’s not kidding. Too often, people hear feedback like this but don’t believe they would really be let go – and then are shocked when they’re suddenly out of a job. If your boss is telling you directly that things are serious, believe it – and start job searching.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.

{ 86 comments… read them below }

  1. Goofy Posture*

    In the case of dysfunctional workplaces that sap your energy, sometimes it can feel like applying for other jobs is too exhausting to be worth it, especially when you’re not seeing an immediate response from employers like getting interviews. I’ve been through it. I get it.

    KEEP APPLYING. KEEP UP YOUR NETWORK. You need to get out- and into a *better* situation, not just *any* employment – and unfortunately it can take a long, miserable slog to do so

    1. Anon*

      Yes, this is what’s happening to me right now.

      I saw a therapist, who called it situational depression. All I know is that I barely have enough energy to make it through my required tasks. The idea of doing MORE seems impossible.

      1. Goofy Posture*

        I feel you. It’s awful. I did have to take breaks now and again to recuperate. Can you take a vacation? Can you find ways to make the rest of your life easier, like hiring a cleaning service?

        The other side is so much better. It’s really worth it.

          1. Anon*

            I learned the hard way that it’s just best to move on. Fighting the good fight will usually get you nowhere (e.g. going to HR with your concerns if it’s not a legal issue where the company could be slapped with a lawsuit). I’ve had a couple of managers, both of whom had narcissistic personality disorder, and both thrived in toxic work environments (since, I think, it gives them something dramatic to manage, the inner circle sucked up to them, and it’s easy to deflect root problems and blame someone else for issues when reporting to the upper echelons). Basically, if you sucked up to them, you basically got a “get out of work for free” card.

            In one case I think expressing my concerns to HR may have prevented a boss from being promoted, but she really was unethical, and I was stuck facing her wrath. When I finally told HR, I had one foot out the door, since I was securing a job somewhere else. It wasn’t my dream job, but it was something that led to other and better things. My last days in that place were unpleasant, but I wound up getting a lot of support from people in the department I worked in.

            Unfortunately, it’s bosses like this that hinder productivity and give employees who do want to do a good job room to grow.

            I wonder why toxic work are allowed to continue for years, even though they are so counter-productive and wind up costing the company so much money.

            1. Ethyl*

              Yeah I had a pretty bad situation as well. I personally think that making “jokes” about killing your co-workers pets (they were not really jokes, and were not delivered as such) should be actionable. Just sayin’.

              Yeah so glad to be out of there.

            2. Anonymous_J*

              I think it’s just because it’s easier to maintain the status quo. I came out of a workplace like that in December. The whole culture was toxic, but the lower person in the equation was ALWAYS the problem. When I was let go, I had to stop myself from DANCING out the door.

              I had been looking for another job for YEARS and had had no luck. I was holding out for a severance package, which I got.

    2. Betsy*

      I actually quit a job with nothing lined up in this situation. I had gotten to this bone deep fatigue where I was half hoping to get injured and need hospitalization so I could have time to rest. I kept trying to job hunt, but the one interview I got was a disaster, because I was too tired to think. We had a financial buffer, and I just said, “I cannot do this.”

      Objectively, it wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I do not regret it at all.

      1. Elkay*

        I did the same thing, I know things are getting bad when I’m hoping for reasons outside of my control to keep me off work. I’m verging on that with my current job and I’ve only been in it two months. I’m planning on sticking it six months before job hunting.

        I also agree with the idea of job hunting being too tiring to think about so you get stuck in a vicious circle.

      2. Sam*

        I have seriously been thinking about doing the same thing. On the one hand, I know it is a stupid thing to do in the economy. But on the other hand, it’s given me an anxiety disorder, i’m on anti-depressants, don’t eat as much and sleep a lot more. And my boss does hate me. Once I tried to ask her why whenever this one coworker (who doesn’t like me) visits from out of town I’m the only person not invited to lunch, and my manager got very mad and defensive. Turns out SHE was the one who invited everyone. Still happens every year. And I have been there for 5 years but don’t make $5k more than when I started, despite good client feedback and earning a TS.

        1. KellyK*

          How stupid an idea it is really depends on your financial and medical situation. Do you have money saved that you could get by? Do you have a spouse or family members that would support you while you recover? And, are you physically and mentally able to look for more work right now? Because if you have a safety net, but aren’t really able to look for work while you’re still at the job from hell, it might be better to leave while that’s the case, rather than letting your health further deteriorate.

          1. Sam*

            I am looking for work but I just haven’t had any luck. I am in the DC metro area and it is very competitive. What I REALLY want to do is move, but getting a job as an out of towner is hard, but then moving without a job is dumb too. My parents (i’m 28) might be able to give me a loan, but we are all worried about not being on health insurance. How smart is it for a borderline suicidal person who goes to a counselor once a week to not have health care? But then, if I stay, I know I won’t have a chance of getting better.

            I just wish mental health mattered more in our society and wasn’t looked down on. I believe I have a real disease. But because it is of the mind, I can’t call in depresse/suicidal to work.

  2. MaryMary*

    The link worked for me.

    I think there’s a difference between being unhappy at your job and being miserable. Lots of people have jobs they don’t like, with tasks that are not enjoyable. Maybe there are port a potty maintenance workers who love their jobs, but I doubt it. When your job causes wake up in the middle of the night to stress about going in the next day, when you have a knot in your stomach every morning you drive to work, when you can’t enjoy your time away from work, and when you can’t see a time when your job might improve so that you don’t dread going in, you don’t have a job that makes you unhappy. You have a job that makes you completely miserable and you need to find a new one.

  3. Carrie in Scotland*

    I am starting to look because although I generally like my job it is badly paid and people keep on leaving so we’re short staffed.

    1. John B Public*

      Have you gone to your boss with that info? If you can put together some information about what people in your position are being paid elsewhere you may be able to get that situation fixed.

  4. Just a Reader*

    I really related to the part about people being horrified by your workplace. I had a psychotic, verbally abusive boss for a long time, and I’d go through waves of applying for jobs and then stopping when he behaved like a human being instead of a feral cat for 5 minutes.

    To echo the advice above, don’t let marginally acceptable behavior convince you that you don’t need a new job! The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred the same day I got invited in for an interview at my current company. I might have ignored that call had the boss not decided to scream at me in front of the entire office for something that wasn’t my fault. Yelling, jumping up and down, screaming, slobbering fit. In front of all my colleagues. Who watched with their mouths hanging open.

    Thank God I took the interview instead of believing his apology, which included dangling a promotion in front of me! 2 years later the honeymoon isn’t over at the current gig.

    1. The Clerk*

      I’d go through waves of applying for jobs and then stopping when he behaved like a human being instead of a feral cat for 5 minutes.

      I know too well about that cycle. Except what it’s called. There’s a name for it I can’t remember, but it happens in abusive personal relationships too.

  5. Lamington*

    I worked a law firm so toxic I will cry every day going to work and have an anxiety and dread pit on my stomach all day :(

    1. ChristineSW*

      That was me back in 2000 when I had a job at a wholesale manufacturer. I still don’t like thinking about that period. They (mercifully!) let me go after just 2.5 weeks, but I’m curious if I could’ve left on my own terms after a couple of weeks and not be penalized for it in future interviews. (moot point now, but you know the saying….hindsight is 20-20!).

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          I think she’s saying that if she had quit after a couple of weeks, it would hurt her in future interviews. I disagree, because a couple of weeks is so short that I just wouldn’t put it on my resume or tell potential employers about it at all. Ditto for being let go after 2.5 weeks. Just pretend like it never happened. :-)

          1. ChristineSW*

            Yup, that’s what I meant, and thanks. Never did put in on my resume though since it was such a short gig.

      1. Lamington*

        I still get anxiety when I look back at that period, I’m glad it was just a summer clerkship. I hope you are on a better role Christine.

  6. Ali*

    Go figure that almost none of these apply to me (except not feeling challenged) and I am thinking of leaving my job anyway. I have been here almost four years and just feel ready for a change, plus I want an experience my current company cannot give me. However…it has been a good training ground and at least given me related experience that has generated phone interviews. So hopefully soon something will come through and I can move on!

  7. Anonymous*

    I just opened AAM website and the headline reads “How to know if it is time to leave your job”. And my boss just happens to walk behind me at that same moment and said, “No, No, NO! It is not time to leave your job! You can’t leave. And if you are thinking about it let’s get a conference room and talk about this.” We got a good laugh out of it. I’ve only been here 3 months but it feels good to know that he feels that way!

    1. Jen in RO*

      I think I’ve been reading too much AAM… I thought this was going to end up being another “horrible boss” story.

  8. Anon*

    Going anonymous to wonder: how can you justify needing to leave a job because you don’t feel your position is actually necessary?

    I was hired a few months ago, and it turns out that what this job really needs is someone with a completely different skill-set than me–my position really can’t make a difference without this skill-set, and I am both bored out of my mind/overwhelmed at work because I do not know how to do what they need me to do. The job was not advertised correctly because the hire-ups do not understand the foundation or scope of the issue I was brought on to address–had it been realistically advertised, I wouldn’t have taken it. Because they really don’t understand the issues, they also can’t provide support or guidance of any kind–it’s a new position for everyone. I have explained this to my boss (and her boss) several times, and they keep insisting that I can do it–they really do not like hiring people, and frankly are reluctant to initiate changes of any kind. I’m obviously trying to look for another position, and in the meantime I have been pretty open about the ways that I am able (and unable) to help, but I am frustrated because I can’t actually get anything done while I’m waiting to find my next position. Has anyone been in a situation like this before? How would you (or could you) explain it to future employers? I don’t want to be a quitter!

    1. Fiona*

      I think “once I actually got started, the responsibilities of the job were significantly different from what we discussed when they hired me” is a perfectly valid reason.

      1. Celeste*

        Agree. It will feel ethical to leave so they can fill it with somebody who has the necessary skills. You will also feel it’s more healthy to work someplace where you can use the skills that you do have. You’re quitting with reason, not just to quit out of laziness or some other negative.

      2. KJR*

        I would definitely accept this response from a candidate, especially if they were able to supply some specifics regarding the situation.

      3. Parcae*

        I have one of these jobs in my recent work history (I stuck it out a year and probably shouldn’t have), and I have gotten exactly zero pushback on it from interviewers. “I was hired to be a White Chocolate Teapot Designer, but after I was brought on board, the organization discovered it really needed someone with Dark Chocolate Teapot Testing experience.” Works like a charm.

    2. Anonymous*

      In addition to looking for your next job, you might develop a job description, skills list, & an ad for the current position to give them as you move along. Accomplishments might include helping develop the framework, role & responsibilities for the position needed…

    3. Volcano*

      I’m in a similar position. Half my job, I’m brilliant at. Full on rock star. The other half I can do, but I know I can’t do it well. Success in that part of my role needs about another 6 years of university in an entirely different field to my own and a whole new toolkit of skills. Unfortunately, the project I was hired for is about to switch from 80% great, 20% scraping by, to 20% great…

      I’m ok saying that I achieved what I could in this role – I’ve some nice CV lines – but that the role is changing and no longer suits my skill set. I don’t know how to tell my boss he should be succession planning now!

      1. John B Public*

        Schedule a meeting and bring what you know about future developments and examples from current work, and do some research on what that other coursework entails so you can connect the dots for her. Make it easy for her to make the case to her boss that she needs to hire a new person.

  9. Machiamellie*

    Ughhh I am struggling with this one. I’ve a terrible history of job hopping so I was hoping to stay put at this one, but I’ve been horribly bored for months now. I keep asking if there’ll be better opportunities coming up but no one can tell me. My remote manager seems to dislike me, but my direct supervisor is great and is a good buffer between us. I’m overqualified for my current position but even my supervisor has said there’s not even room for him to advance. Feh.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Make a grocery list of job characteristics. In one column put “must have” in the other column “nice to have”.
      Make a second list. Take a look at your previous jobs- don’t make this torture, ok?- but do write down one major thing made it a bad fit for each job.
      As you job hunt think about the must haves as you look over each ad.
      As you read along on this blog you will learn some warning signs for a bad fit. Think about questions to ask on the interview such as “what is the company culture like here?”

      One mistake I have made is I was too willing to grab a job, any job would do. I had reasons for doing that. I thought they were good reasons, but they weren’t. It was a mistake not to carefully consider what I was signing up for.

  10. Anon for this*

    Assuming you left your job for one of these reasons, how would you phrase it if asked in an interview, “Why are you looking to leave your current position?” I feel like “Because my bosses are crazy” is not a good answer.

    1. S.A.*

      Ha ha! Yes and when you try to say something like, “There was no opportunity for advancement.” and they keep pushing the issue it’s hard to find a nice way of saying “Because my bosses are crazy” without looking like a jerk yourself.

      I’ve found out that researching the company, especially if it’s in a similar/same field to point out that your skill set may have more in line with what they are looking for versus you current job demands. You could be looking to move laterally, try a bit of flattery (discussing facts only though), and make sure you keep it professional.

      “I’ve found that your tea pot manufacturing process is more in line with what I can do since I know programs X and Z. My current employer uses W and Y which isn’t my area of expertise.”

      You can redirect and change the subject in sneaky ways too. I would also use this time to find out what a typical day at that company is like in the position you’re aiming for. These are just suggestions but believe me I know just how you feel. There are times when you really want to blurt out the truth.

      Unfortunately when horrible employers make companies so bad to work at it doesn’t matter how well employees did their work. Anyone can be fired and no matter how right you are to want to leave you are the one who looks bad by telling the truth.

      I do have a different job but it’s still not in line with what I want. However it’s buying me precious time to beef up my skills and portfolio. Good luck and chin up!

    2. Marina*

      “It wasn’t a good culture fit” and then find a way to phrase what was going on so it’s clear what kind of culture fit you ARE looking for. After all, you want to make sure that your next bosses aren’t crazy either… So maybe something like, “I’m looking for an organization that has a clear long term strategy, it’s difficult for me to deal with major priorities of my job changing multiple times a day” or “I find I work best in a calm, professional environment–dramatics don’t motivate me well.”

  11. S.A.*

    Hmmm… My boss threatened to shoot me and I called the EEOC. They didn’t care at all but my relatives did. However trying to find work let alone anything that really pays a living wage is more like performing an impossible magic trick. I have yet to find a “real job”. That means one that pays all the bills and allows for a life. I’m starting to think they never existed and am doing more free lance work as a result.

    I swear working with some companies is more like working in an insane asylum. You can’t win for losing no matter what you do to help people. I’ve finally taken the screw every body else attitude and just do my work. If they have an issue with how I do it then they can sit down and SHOW me how to do it better. They have yet to do so. People are all talk and no walk these days.

    I’ve also found several people in positions they are not qualified for and expect those under them to do their job in addition to the job they were hired to do. It’s all about who you know in this country and not what you know and that speaks volumes about many industries.

    My resume may make me look like I’m job hopping but realistically if there is nothing in it for me and I can’t advance I see no reason to stay in a dead-end job. People need to look out for themselves more and leave awful companies since reporting them doesn’t work.

    1. Rebecca*

      I received a threat like that from someone in another office. He threatened to get a gun, and “come down there”.

      I said since my office mate and I both have conceal carry permits, his plan may not work out in his favor, and he should rethink his position.

      Problem solved.

    2. Lindsay J*

      My ex-boss said he wanted to stab me in the throat. I didn’t pursue it at all. Maybe I should have.

      1. Anonymous*

        Had a boss that called a group of us (20+ employees) terrorists in a meeting. And then he said, “and you know what we do to terrorists.” He also threw a screw driver at a 1 guy during the meeting. Ouch. Thankfully when corporate heard (20 + witnesses) he was fired.

  12. Brett*

    Being unable to even ask for raises is still the most frustrating part of my job. If I even had a channel to ask and be denied, I could deal with that and work on it. But to have an otherwise satisfying job and have no mechanism to even get a raise, that just clouds everything else.

  13. Anon (this time)*

    Imho, any one of the 8 points could be reason enough to find a new job, depending on how personally important it is. In my case, I’ve got 1, 2, and 5 in a major way.

    I wonder if there ought to be a #9 on the list: myriad irritations that cannot be addressed. I’m serious; on top of the big reasons, I made a list of about 20 unresolvable (I’ve tried) items that annoy me. As a computer programmer, annoyances scuttle my productivity, resulting in too much time reading blogs like AAM.

    Thanks for indulging my rant. I feel a little better.

    1. Gjest*

      I agree with your #9. In my previous job, I had 1-5, but also #9. The 1-5 were bad enough, but I think it was the constant little irritations of the stupid decisions by management that actually were the many little straws that broke the camel’s back.

    2. Jen in RO*

      This! My previous job wasn’t *bad* per se – my manager sucked in some ways (but he wasn’t anywhere near the level of bad we read about on AAM), my coworkers were too negative, we were overworked… but what made me quit in the end was all these little things adding up. It does get pretty difficult to explain in interviews!

  14. anon*

    After spending a couple lunch hours crying in the bathroom at work, I was spending 10 hours every weekend looking for jobs last fall, got a couple interviews that didn’t go anywhere, then was offered a promotion and a 20% raise at my current job. Turns out it was a big mistake to take it. There’s no amount of money that can make dealing with this level of organizational malfunction worth it. Lesson learned, sigh. Now I’m 5 months pregnant and staying for the very good health insurance, but you’d better believe I’m planning on spending my maternity leave gearing up the job hunt again.

    Of course, I have no idea where I’m going to find a job that pays as well as this with my current experience. Ugh.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Might be worth taking less money for less pain. I know that’s hard, but sounds like your current environment is very difficult.

  15. Erik*

    Points 1-5 totally applied to my last job. So glad I left that dump. It wasn’t worth the aggravation, stress and toll it took on me.

  16. Fiona*

    One of my biggest “aha” moments in one of my management classes last year was when we studied Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory. Basically it states that there are two categories of influences on job satisfaction, and employees need to feel their needs are met in BOTH categories in order to remain motivated at their jobs. On the external side you’ve got policies, supervision/management, working conditions, salary, peer relationships – if these needs aren’t met, no amount of recognition, responsibility, or love of the work you do will keep you at a job; conversely, even if all the external factors are met, if there’s never any recognition, advancement, etc., you are still going to have dissatisfied employees looking for greener pastures.

    This is only one of many employee motivation models, of course, but it’s the one that stuck with me because I see it so clearly in myself in my current job. I make a good-enough salary and my work is interesting, but the management sucks and the promotion they gave me a few months ago isn’t enough to keep me from looking.

  17. Labratnomore*

    I was on a PIP once and of course spent the entire time looking for a job. On the last day of the PIP period, my boss had not yet scheduled a final overview. It was a Friday so I just asked, “do you want me to come back on Monday.” I came back and about a month later had my final meeting where they officially told me I made it through. That was 2008 and I am still at the same company. It helped that there was a reorg right after that and I got a whole new management chain. Now it’s 1 and 5 that are making me want to get out of here. The problem is I have just the opposite of 4, when I tell people about my employer they all want to work here. It is a great company, but my current job at this company just isn’t what I want to do.

      1. Labratnomore*

        I think it had some points where I needed to improve, and I put a lot of effort into improving those. I also think the manager had overly high expectations for the position I was in, probably because he knew they were thinking about re-organizing. He was always trying to show his group was the smartest and most efficient in our division. This made for a frustrating environment since there was always pressure to do more with less, and show off how much we knew. He was pushing each employee to work as if they were several levels above their current positions. He did teach us a lot so after the reorg I was did great in my new group since I had more knowledge than the people from the group I merged with. I think HR did realize that the expectations were very different than other groups in the division and than they had been in the past in my group, so I think that helped as well.

  18. Ruffingit*

    4. When you tell your family and friends about your workplace, they’re horrified.

    Love this because it’s so true. People start to normalize things that are seriously abusive or just out of step with the norm and hurtful because of it. It helps to get a perspective from someone who says “It’s not normal or healthy for your boss to cuss at you because you forgot to staple the report together…”

  19. Moose*

    I’m getting the feeling I’m going to have to leave, even though I don’t want to. There’s only so long I can go working two part-time jobs and not getting any benefits/vacation time :(

  20. Elizabeth West*

    I really like my job now, but I sure didn’t like Exjob. Well, I did when I first got it, but so many things changed and by the last two years, I was actually forced into therapy because it was so stressful. But things didn’t get any better (in fact they got worse), so I started gathering my information together and opened up my career center account again. I was cutting back on my expenses anyway because of the recession. Lucky I did that before I was laid off.

    Some of the worst indicators were these:
    –A change in communication (lack thereof) from management
    –Lack of supplies to actually do my job
    –Policy changes that made no sense
    –(on my end) Injuries that made it really difficult to even do the work

    That last one especially was tough. I still suffer from those injuries, but at least now they don’t make much difference on the job, only at home. I had to give up mowing my own lawn because it hurts my shoulder too much (fine with me; I hate it anyway), but at least now I can afford to pay someone to do it.

    PS–I had lunch today with my former supervisor (we stayed friends) and we are both much happier. She works near me so we will see each other more often! :D

    1. Jen in RO*

      Yay for staying in touch with nice people! I hope my former team lead (who is stressed out of her mind now) gets a new job too and it’s close to mine, so we can hang out again.

  21. De Minimis*

    #5 describes my job pretty well, but I need to stick around a little while longer to try to fix a bad work history. Glad at least none of the other stuff seems to apply….yet.

  22. Pennalynn Lott*

    PIPs. I once worked in Inside Sales for a contractor of a global software company. The work was genuinely sales (complex conversations with C-level execs, detailed technical knowledge, a quota for closed deals, etc.) but we weren’t measured solely on revenue brought in, but rather number of dials and talk time. Like a sweat shop call center. Every single person who worked there rotated on and off a PIP for the entire time they were employed. Management used PIPs instead of good communication to manage the employees. It was very demoralizing and they lost a ton of good employees because a newbie would be put on a PIP. . . and immediately start job searching.

    And not meeting the terms of your PIP didn’t necessarily mean you’d get fired. There were folks who were on “one month” PIP status for a solid six months to a year, just because management was friendly with them.

    I still remember one of the times I was put on a PIP, I closed a million-dollar contract (which was three times my monthly quota). But the work required for that contract kept me from making my required daily dials, so I was put on a PIP and written up. Which was, of course, incredibly motivating and made me want to bring in even larger amounts of revenue for the company. [End sarcasm].

    I can honestly say that was the worst job of my life; it was so toxic that I got majorly ill and was eventually let go for too many absences because I was seeking medical treatment. Good times.

    1. Ruffingit*

      God, how awful. So sorry you had to deal with that. I’m a veteran of abusive workplaces myself so I know how it goes. I worked somewhere once where there was a call center (as part of the larger business) and though I didn’t work in the call center, I had a friend who did. Her manager thought it was motivating to threaten people with their jobs all the time (that was the least of the shitty things this guy did). Because, you know, it’s totally motivating for someone to continually remind you that you will be fired if you don’t call this or that many customers or whatever other near impossible standard they’ve set that day.

      1. Windchime*

        Back when I worked in an office that processed payments and claims, we had a manger take our entire department to a conference room across the campus to scream at us and tell us to quit wasting supplies–“use pens until they are dry!” And that “if you aren’t happy, there’s the door; McDonalds is hiring!!!”

        He was a terrible manager. He eventually got demoted out. (That company didn’t actually fire managers; instead, they would just keep demoting you until you finally left.)

  23. Esra*

    I didn’t realize how unhappy I was at my last job until I finally gave my notice and was crazy happy. Or at least, it felt crazy happy. I had been so down for so long there, that it was actually confusing to feel joyful for a few days.

    1. Vicki*

      I so understand you.
      When my 2nd level manager called me to say “we’re eliminating your position” my response was “OK”. (They’d basically told me they didn’t want me in that group two months before.)

      And then I was annoyed for a while.

      And then I realized how Freeing that was. The Stress of the past few months was gone gone gone!

  24. Vicki*

    8. Your boss tells you.

    Your (new) manager** says something like “I only know how to manage back-end developers. I don’t know how to manage someone who does what you do. So you need to find another position in the company… or elsewhere.”

    (**We’d had a division re-org and my previous manager had resigned.)

  25. Bryce*

    Amen to that…that actually happened to me 2 years ago. I’m glad I started looking so I was out of work for only 2 months when the ax fell.

    Is it a common experience for y’all/youse/yins/you folks/etc. out there that being set up to fail/having your life made miserable is a precursor to being fired?

  26. Rachael*

    I think that having a boss who likes you and champions you is really important. In my current position, my boss and I get along ok….. but she would definitely never be a champion for me, and is not really focused on my career development. Other aspects of the job are all right, but I feel like this will really hurt me in the end to not have a supervisor on my side. Another question is: what if you feel like your job isn’t necessary or that anyone could do your job? Sometimes I feel like no one really cares what my organization does, and so it is disheartening to do the work ( I work at a non profit if that makes a difference).

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