In today's connected world, most people stay online glued to their work even when on vacations or holidays, so I think it's okay to not include vacations and holidays.
I was like that - always worried about some potential problem at work showing up while I was away. Work never stopped.
I used to love my work and the company I worked for 17 years.
However, as I became more senior, there was less time spent on useful and creative technical work and more time wasted on cumbersome processes, power point presentations, and dealing with bureaucracy across the company.
A big part of my workday would go into either preparing for or attending mind numbing management review meetings where we had to constantly get approvals and direction checks from the management. I felt like a little kid who needed his parent's permission to do anything and would get scolded on rebellious behavior.
Most of my non-meeting office time was spent on creation of power point slides or reviewing every little detail and footnotes we put in those slides so that management won't get confused and we would get the outcome we wanted. Oh and god forbid if you get that template wrong, your entire presentation can end up blowing up on your face before you can even start presenting.
It reminded me of TPS Report in the movie "Office Space". If you haven't seen that movie, I strongly encourage you to watch it.
When not wrestling with power point or bureaucracy, my time would be spent on fighting fires on existing projects and answering emails. There was barely any time spent on long-term career growth. I lost the feeling where I was going in my career, it all started to feel like useless work.
It took me about a year from seriously thinking about leaving to finally coming to a conclusion that I must leave before my job becomes too detrimental to my own well being and happiness.
Even though, I spent almost a year (well maybe a bit more) thinking about leaving, it was still extremely difficult to leave a place where I spent 17 years of my life, and most of it I did enjoy. I do have many fond memories, but they were mostly from the early to mid years of my career. Rest of it was mostly dread.
Fortunately, I was well prepared financially and mentally to say my goodbyes and take the leap of faith into the unknown (i.e. early retirement). So far, it has been quite good. I've lot of freedom and time to explore and do whatever I want to do.
If you are experiencing any of the struggles or feelings I mentioned above, then maybe it's time for you to seriously think about other options. Life is too precious to be wasted being unhappy. You just need some courage, good planning, and some hard work to make things better for you. Life is full of options.
If you are not sure how to tell whether it's time to leave, then here are a couple of signs that may tell you that it's time for you to leave your job or at least start planning your exit (I've experienced some but not all of these signs):
- you wake up in the morning in panic or dreading to go to work
- you spend your Sundays worrying about Mondays
- you can't trust or depend on your colleagues for support
- your boss irritates the hell out of you or treats you unfairly
- you are constantly worried about the layoffs
- seeing your company's logo triggers a stress reaction
- you find your work meaningless
- you are only working for the paycheck
- you feel your life is being wasted working for the company
- you have lost confidence in the leadership of company's CEO and most of the upper management
If you experience even half of the above signs or sentiments then most likely things will only get worse for you in the coming months or days, and you are better-off finding a new place to work. It starts with only one or two signs at first, and then quickly and before you know it, it gets worse.
So figure out your exit plan even if you only experience just a few of the above signs, get your finances in order, and start sending out that resume or better yet, start investing with a goal of financial freedom so that you never ever have to experience the pain of leaving a job again.
As a bonus, here is what Suzy Welch says about when to quit your job: The No.1 Sign You Should Quit Your Job ASAP!