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Joe Szynkowski: 3 ways to know it’s time to change jobs
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Column | WorkHappy

Joe Szynkowski: 3 ways to know it’s time to change jobs

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According to Forbes, more than half of Americans are unhappy in their jobs. But leaving a company — especially if you’re making a decent salary and providing well for your family — can be a downright difficult decision.

There are obvious and not-so-obvious signs that it’s time for a professional change. These indicators can be a bit tough to uncover for professionals who have been with one company for a long time or may be intimidated by the changing job market.

Joe Szynkowski: Remember 9 to 5? Yeah, me neither.

But are you willing to stick it out in a role at the cost of your sanity and stress level? Don’t you strive to own your work and produce something that makes you proud?

Working with hundreds of executives over the years, I’ve been able to pinpoint three key signs that a job change is eminent. They may not be the same for you, but read on and see if you identify with any of these markers.

'Time off' is a myth

As Loverboy famously belted out, “everybody’s working for the weekend.” But if your break from work is feeling less and less like “me time,” then there’s a good chance you’re overworked.

When you’re unhappy at your job, it’s hard to enjoy your weekends and even your vacations. That’s because you know your next work week is right around the corner.

If your family members and friends start to notice your attitude worsen and availability lessen, it’s their job to bring it to your attention. Don’t fight back. Appreciate that they have your best interest at heart and are here to help. Ask them for advice or even for connections who may help you find better work opportunities.

Your health is impacted

If work unhappiness is starting to push you into unhealthy habits, it’s time for a change.

Joe Szynkowski: Jobs make us happy. But why? And why not everyone?

Check out these 2019 statistics from The American Institute of Stress:

• 83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress.

• Stress causes around one million workers to miss work every day.

• Depression leads to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs.

• Work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.

Stress is taking over our work lives — and spilling into our personal lives. If you feel like you can’t get it under control, it’s time to move on from your current company.

Your 'side' work is exploding

Most professionals I know have something cooking on the side, whether it be consulting, weekend work or passion projects. As you spin multiple plates, you may find that some of your side work can start to interfere with your full-time role.

And if you enjoy your side work more than your “9 to 5,” it may be time to take a serious look at jumping ship.

Here is a simple formula I used nearly a decade ago when I decided to leave a stable, full-time position to open my own communications and branding firm:

• Divide how much money you’re making on your side hustle by the amount of hours you’re spending on it. This gives you your hourly rate.

• Multiply that rate by 40 hours to give you an idea of how much you could earn if you decided to take the plunge into owning your own business. Side note, ask yourself if there is enough demand from customers for you to devote full-time hours to this work.

• Use a tax calculator to figure how much you’ll owe in taxes, and don’t forget to also consider health insurance costs if your current company is floating that bill.

If the numbers shake out and you’re confident that your earnings can replace what you’re making at your current role, it may be worth some serious consideration.

Joe Szynkowski: Working alone, with people

Being your own boss is never easy, but it’s sure hard to beat.

Next steps

Whatever decision you make, it’s important to remember that there are positions out there that will bring you career happiness. Respectful workplaces and encouraging bosses exist, you just have to be willing to step out on a limb to go find them.

Joe Szynkowski is a Sr. Director for NuVinAir Global, a Dallas-based company disrupting the automotive industry. Thanks to technology, he does so happily from his home east of Marion. Check out for his WorkHappy Spotlights or email for more guidance on finding career joy.


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