• Erin Engelke

Five Warning Signs You're The Right Person on the Wrong Bus

The Sunday Scaries are a sure sign you're not working at the right place for you.

I knew I was not in the right work environment…working for the wrong company for me long before I took action and did something about it.


I allowed myself to “suffer” in a culture that was toxic and causing me endless days and nights of anxiety and worst of all, self doubt. I thought something was wrong with ME.


Even though I worked so so hard.


And I had results to prove it and a strong team supporting me. Yet, the drama from other aspects of the organization that surrounded my day to day schedule were getting to be too much. The values of the organization, which was mostly led by fear and negativity versus respect and empathy, quite simply did not match mine.

Have you found yourself on the wrong bus too?

At some point in ALL of our careers, we will.

But how in the world do you know when you need to change buses?


The tipping point for me was when I brought the stress and anxiety home to the people who meant the most to me – my husband and children.


On top of it all, I was experiencing physical side affects – endless stomachaches, daily migraines and difficulty sleeping. I went to the doctor, certain I had a life threatening disease, only to find out all my ailments were caused by my anxiety and stress.

I knew it was time. Time to move on and leave the environment I had already known long ago wasn’t a fit for me. I had been so full of fear that (1) I wouldn’t find another job that paid me as lucratively and (2) I would run into the same brick wall somewhere else...that I couldn’t take the leap of faith.


As I reflect back, there were 5 warning signs that sent the red flag that hard-working, diligent, and passionate me was not on the right bus. If you feel three or more of these on a daily (or weekly) basis, it is likely a sure sign it’s time for you to move on too.


1. DREAD. When you feel the Sunday Scaries most Sunday’s (or Monday’s or any day!) of the month. You have no joy!


2. Your strengths aren’t being fully utilized and leadership isn’t open to knowing what those strengths are. Worse yet, if your leader doesn’t know you or what’s important to you, you’re working for the wrong type of leader.


3. You’re constantly overwhelmed and receiving little validation for the work you’re already doing.


4. The culture doesn’t match your values. (see my reference above!)


5. You have no passion for your work. I call this “fire in the belly”. It’s that drive that gets you up in the morning, excited to do your best and make a difference. If you don’t feel that, it’s time to reassess your passions and your place of work.


Is it always the right thing to jump ship immediately? I don’t think so. But it is always the right thing to do what fits you and your family. For me, the two concerns I was infinitely worried about (money and the same brick wall) were not my reality.


In truth, money is NOT the most important thing in this life. Feeling joy and passion for what you do and how you spend your time is. When I made the jump, I took a $10,000 a year pay cut. And you know what, my family and I never missed that money because I was happier, more relaxed and present for them!


I am beyond grateful to be in a role today that allows me to thrive, where I am able to set a strong, servant-led culture and to be supported by a board that align with my values and who want to see me thrive as much as I want of them.

If you are needing guidance on your next professional journey, I strongly urge you to find an executive coach and/or a mentor.


It’s never okay to sit in misery. But it is always okay to seek help. You’re the right person. Be sure you’re on the right bus!

P.S. I am an Executive Coach with Strata Leadership. Hit them up if you would like experienced leaders like me to help you through your own "wrong bus" situations.

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