A job is a huge part of your identity and security, along with where you spend most of your waking time. For passionate employees, it can also serve as a foundation for future hopes and dreams. With such focus on work, it’s no wonder that finding the right company and role or considering leaving a current one is a major life decision.

Are you stuck in a professional limbo like this right now? If so, you might be losing sleep or feeling as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Hopefully, these considerations can help you make the best decision as to what to do moving forward:

You feel stressed out

According to the American Institute of Stress, 76% of people surveyed say that work and money are a leading causes of stress, listing job pressure as the number one reason they feel stressed out. 48% of respondents went on to share that stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life, with 30% claiming that they’re “always” or “often” under stress at work.

Stress is a very real and present force in the workplace, causing a multitude of employees to suffer daily. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that stress costs $26 billion in medical and disability payments in addition to $95 billion in lost productivity per year. If you’re in a stressful situation (either mentally or physically) that negatively affects your quality of life, you have sound reason to consider searching for a different company or job.

You’ve lost your passion

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home…it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it,” wisely said writer Chuck Palahniuk. A loss of passion related to personal growth and shifting interests can happen, particularly after spending a long period of time in a specific role or industry.

Do you dread going to work every morning? Are you bored out of your mind when you think about your to-do list? Are you disappointed that your talents aren’t being tapped? If any of these ring true, make it a point to speak with your manager first. In this case, your boss may be able to reassign you to a different project or position that’s better suited for your skill set and passions. No luck after catching up? You may want to consider alternative work options.

Things have changed with the company

Change at work is inevitable, but it can be a very real reason for feelings of discontent. Adjustments could include a boss you don’t jive with, out of scope work or a change in direction, lackluster projects, or new duties that deserve (and don’t receive) higher compensation. Feeling unheard or undervalued can increase feelings of bitterness, and the best thing to do in any of these instances is to directly discuss your feelings with a manager. If improvements aren’t made following a conversation, be honest with yourself and move on.

The office is a toxic environment

Do colleagues make sexist comments? Are teammates bullied or ridiculed? Do you feel as if you’re discriminated against for any reason? If so, be sure to create a strong paper trail. To do so properly, file a company complaint with a direct supervisor or the human resources department. Next, file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the incident. For further legal advice, contact a lawyer to guide you through necessary actions. While it’s understandable to want to move on as quickly and quietly as possible, protecting your rights and those of teammates who may have also been violated should always be carefully considered.

You’ve reached an ethical crossroads

Joining a new company is great, but sometimes the inner workings and true nature aren’t revealed until you’ve been at it for a while. Do you find that the mission, culture or values at your workplace make you cringe? Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author, suggests that you should consider jumping ship if, “you feel that there are ethical or moral differences in how the company and you believe the firm should operate; cultural differences; work ethic clashes, and so on.”

You’re being transitioned out

Much like in a romantic relationship, there are often evident signs that hint the end could be near. Staff management expert Alison Green warns that, “If your boss used to give you feedback in person and now she’s putting criticism in emails, she may be creating a paper trail to build a case for firing you. Many companies require written documentation of problems and warnings before an employee is let go.”

Other signs of an impending transition may be a slower flow of projects or a lack of thoughtful feedback when you share concerns.

While deciding to leave a job is never easy, taking thoughtful steps can ease your stress and ensure that you’re making the best choice possible. Be sure to research all of your options before throwing in the towel, and remember that every job has benefits and setbacks. Should you decide to make a leap and try something new, asking trusted friends for opinions, saving a portion of your income, and keeping your resume/portfolio updated for a job hunt will all help make the transition process easier.

About our writer // Christina Morales is a freelance writer specializing in creating online marketing content. Her dream is to one day rule the world with just an iPad, a case of Cherry Coke, Twizzlers, and a glue gun.