Last Updated Jun 29, 2011 3:55 PM EDT
There are many reasons that might drive you to search for greener pastures, including a a lengthy commute and a teeny office, an addiction to reality TV that makes becoming a millionaire seem as easy as investing in a good spray tan and/or hair extensions, or a close-talking co-worker who loves eating onion bagels for breakfast.
Of course, none of these are great reasons to leave your job, especially given today's economy. (Five second solutions: 1. Ask if you can telecommute one day a week or upgrade your office when one is available 2. Block the entire Real Housewives franchise from your DVR, and 3. Politely offer him or her a stick of gum).
But here are 4 issues that should absolutely make you run -- not walk -- into job interview mode.
1. Major Ethical Issues "Major ethical violations are good reasons to leave a job - especially when the act is so big and entrenched in the culture or operations of the company that nothing can be done to change it from the inside," says Kimberly Schneiderman, founder of City Career Services.
2. Your Company Is Sinking You hear the hushed conversations of the executives. Or you're privy to frightening financial figures. Whatever your source is, if you know your company is about to combust, it's probably a good idea to not go down with the ship if you don't have to.
3. You're Seriously Stressed If you're truly miserable -- and even clinically depressed -- you need to heed your body's warning. "This isn't always about the employer being 'bad' or doing something wrong," says Schneiderman. "It can often be about the employee trying to do a job that they are not fit for." When you're applying to new positions, consider what is making you so stressed at this one.
4. Your Office Relationship Has Gone Bad While it's possible to find your soulmate at work, an office romance can be risky business. If a soured relationship is preventing you from doing your job, you'll need to find a way to do it somewhere else (or at the very least, on another team).
Once you do decide to leave, it's clearly best to find a new job before leaving your old one (unless you're going freelance, but even in that case you'll want to line up some clients). If at all possible, give appropriate notice to avoid burning bridges. "Unless there is some sort of illegal or unethical thing happening at your workplace, sticking it out for another two weeks to clean up your projects and transition your role is thoughtful and courteous," says Sara Sutton-Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs. So while ex-JetBlue employee Steven Slater may have felt great going down that emergency chute, we doubt he'll be working for any other airlines in the future.