4 Signs You’ve Already Left Your Job

Photo by Jonathan J. Castellon on Unsplash

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 through he 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  • You’ve withdrawn.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 have 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 and HR Advisor.  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.

7 thoughts on “4 Signs You’ve Already Left Your Job

  1. Hi. That’s exactly what I experienced in one particular company I worked at. I was severely underpaid. The job I initially had when I was employed was completely different to what I ended up doing for them but they never changed my compensation. I did everything I could and they agreed that I deserved more but said they had financial problems and therefore couldn’t pay me. This resulted in everything else heading south. And then months later I was headhunted and offered double my salary, and when I resigned they suddenly had the money to give me. Of course I was furious because it proved I was being lied to all along, and that just confirmed for me that moving was the right choice.


  2. Lol. That’s exactly how I felt at my last job where I had been working for 9 years. The last straw was when a coworker who was being lazy cause me to chip a tooth. That was all she wrote.


  3. Thanks for sharing. Great posted and shared! HR manager should be aware of these signs prior receiving a letter of resignation from the Already-Quit-Job staff, and get documents for ToR/JD revision on time.


  4. This article really hits home for me, I have even rehearsed my resignation letter and speach. I have spoken to several members of management about my recently earned degree in business and the desire to do more than my current position. It seems as though they haven’t listened so as soon as i can find another job I am gone but the job market is tough and I have to be patient.


  5. I couldn’t stop laughing upon reading this…unfortunately because it is sooo relevant and that last one especially….lol…I felt like I had just been outted on a dirty little secret because I have at least 3 different letters already composed, and the “blocking” for this exit has been played over in my head too many times and in too many different ways. Thank you for this piece. Makes me feel like I will be alright! Right now I feel like a “milking cow” but I’ll let you know what happens next.


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