It’s been months. You’ve been unhappy at work and in spite of your efforts — things haven’t improved. Through all of the discussions with your manager, colleagues and friends, you still find yourself upset, unmotivated and unfulfilled.
You may not realize it — but you may already passed the threshold of “gone”. Simply put, you may not be getting enough from your current role to sustain a viable, healthy relationship.
Research concerning the psychological contract in the workplace tells us that breaches of the exchange agreement between an employee and employer are common — yet mending these breaches can be challenging. In many cases we have already “left the building” and moved on — even if we remain physically present.
Here are signs you may have passed this critical point. If you recognize any of these (and have made an effort to affect the situation) — I would begin to seriously consider a change:
- You’ve withdrawn. Likened to depression, you may start cutting yourself off from workplace activities you would normally complete — even the tasks you previously found fulfilling. You may find yourself muttering,”What’s the difference if I respond to this e-mail?” or “Why bother following up with that customer?”.
- You do not see a future. In some cases, you have already marked the “end of history” with your current job. One client described sitting in a training session and thinking: “Hopefully, I won’t be here to use this.” Enough said.
- You’ve stopped sharing. We may have become reluctant to share ideas or opinions, as experience has shown they have not been respected or taken seriously. On another note, if you begin to “hoard” your best thoughts for your next employer, that speaks volumes about your frame of mind.
- You have “divorce” fantasies. Is your exit already rehearsed? Are you envisioning the day you walk out forever? When you spend time with friends, are discussions about your next role central?
Ultimately, it may be high time to enrich your role or career — especially if you have already left psychologically. (By the way, you can read Whitney Johnson’s Disrupt Yourself for more guidance on attacking that change.)
Have you experienced the feeling it was “game over”in a role or career path? What happened next? Please share your experiences.
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is the Director of Organizational Development at Allied Talent. A charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program, her posts on workplace topics have appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, US News & World Report and The World Economic Forum.