Thanks to the popular belief that it’s normal to hate your job, many people remain in toxic workplaces that make them miserable for years on end. Rather than accept that being an adult and having a job means endless suffering, you should demand better for yourself. Plenty of people out there love what they do. It’s possible for you to find that same level of career satisfaction as well, but first, you need to be honest with yourself and look for any flags that might indicate you’re in the wrong line of work.


1. The Rest of Your Life is Suffering

If you have to sacrifice hobbies, relationships and relaxation time in order to maintain positive growth within your career, then you might be walking the wrong path. You’re entitled to devote as much time as you like to your work, but if you feel forced into it, and you’re constantly worried about how you’re going to handle the rest of your responsibilities, you might want to look for another option. Even if you want to stay at the job, you’ll likely burn out from the stress over a long enough period.


2. You Dread the Beginning of the Week

There are plenty of jokes about feeling awful on Mondays, but if you begin to feel serious dread about going back to work every time Sunday evening comes around, something is wrong. Your emotions are your greatest source of power. They directly tell you what is unacceptable for you. Most of us have been taught to ignore those feelings in the interest of hard work, but if waking up on Monday mornings is anything more than a mild annoyance, you’re likely in the wrong career.


3. You Don’t Respect Your Boss

There’s a difference between liking someone and respecting them. Your boss doesn’t need to be your best buddy. However, if you have reason to believe your boss may be mistreating people, doing things that are illegal or generally presenting narcissistic behavioral patterns, you should ask yourself whether this is someone you want to work with long term.


4. You’re Numbing Your Feelings with Alcohol

The tendency to drink the week’s problems away at the bar on Friday night is so common that you might not even realize it’s a red flag. Not only could this behavior lead to alcoholism, but it also shows that you’re internally screaming out for help. Don’t ignore your feelings until you’re getting drunk every night of the week. Start making moves now to find something better for yourself.


5. You’re Starting to Give Up on Other Opportunities

Being in a toxic career is sort of like being in an abusive relationship. Over time, you begin to accept a certain level of misery. You start to doubt there is anything better out there for you. When you do see opportunities, you refuse to believe you even qualify. However, you might be wrong. Many people underestimate their abilities. Your boss might not appreciate you, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. The next time you’re browsing job listings on JMJ Phillip Executive Search or any other recruiting firm, consider stepping outside your comfort zone and putting in an application.


It isn’t easy to make any major change in your life. It takes strength, courage and the willingness to fail. You might not get the first job you apply for, but don’t give up. Statistically speaking, you can look at the amount of money you hope to make and add a month for every $10,000. For instance, if you hope to earn $100,000 a year, you can expect the search to take about 10 months. Having realistic expectations will help you avoid discouragement during the process.