In this economy you’re lucky to even have a job, especially if it covers your cost of living. However, you have to ask yourself, where do you draw the line when it comes to money versus career fulfillment? Let’s face it, in good times or bad not all jobs are worth keeping.

Deciding if it’s time to leave a job can be nerve-wracking, especially if the job is easy, non-intrusive, and has a REALLY BIG cushy paycheck. However, just because you don’t hate going into work doesn’t mean your current employment is right for you. If you have a career that’s about as rewarding as a foot fungus we’ve come up with the following guidelines to help you determine if you should stay or go.

1. You Work For a Jerk

Okay, this one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people continue working for a boss they think is more evil than a pack of demons playing poker in hell. If you don’t get along with your boss, work is probably the worst part of your day. So you have to ask yourself, is the stress of working for someone who makes you want to barf every time he comes into your office really worth whatever they pay you to put up with this idiot?

Here’s how you figure that out. After work do you:

a) Down more Jack Daniels than a bride at a white trash wedding JUST to get this jerk off your mind?
b) Pop antacids like Skittles in order to settle your stomach?
c) Complain about your boss more than you brag about your kids?
d) Picture your boss skydiving without a parachute?

If you answer yes to any one of these questions, immediately brush up your resume and ask your friends if their companies are hiring.

2. You Don’t Make Enough Money

Let’s get real. You may have a great time working at The Game Stop, and Lord knows you never would’ve made it past level 8 in Call of Duty 4 without the help of the pimply-faced 15-year-old kid who stocks PS-3 games in the back, but you do have rent to pay and food to buy. If your paycheck doesn’t stretch between pay periods, then it’s time to dump your current employment and find something that will allow you to support yourself like the adult your parents always knew you’d be once they finally kicked you out of the house.

3. Your Company is Sinking Like a Rock…

…and you don’t want to be the last rat left on the ship. With the economy in the dumper many businesses, large and small, are blacking out faster than a celebutante on a pub crawl. I know you may feel obliged to hang on until the very end (after all, this company did hire you right out of college, despite your dismal 2.7 GPA) but honestly, when it comes to survival you have to put yourself above your employer. If you know the end is inevitable, get out now. You don’t want to be competing for jobs with the rest of your co-workers. Better to be the one hiring them at your new company instead.

4. You Don’t Agree With the Corporate Culture

If you’re environmentally minded and you work for a radioactive waste disposal company, you’re going to have trouble sleeping at night. It might sound overly sentimental, but your conscience is a consideration when determining where to work. What good is a paycheck if you can’t live with yourself?

5. You’re Not Having Any Fun

Not that work has to be a laugh a minute, but if you dread getting up everyday and dragging your sorry behind into the office, then you need to move on. Even if you love your boss and co-workers, and the job itself is easy (but unfulfilling), your happiness is a deal breaker. You can only go so long being unhappy before you somehow snap. Either find a way to be happy at your existing company or just bite the bullet and find new work.

Of course, all this advice assumes that you don’t have family obligations that prevent you from just up and quitting. But even if you’re a breadwinner who finally realizes you can’t do your job forever, you can at least look for a new job without quitting the old one. Or you can go back to school and learn a new trade. Either way the first step is to determine if you need a change. And if you do, don’t be afraid to make the move to move on.

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