You know that with every job, there is a level of the mundane that must be done to work into the most creative aspects of the work you do. Like the artist who must show the work in order to create the art in the first place.
It's like that with knowledge workers as well. There is this level of creativity, autonomy, and commitment that makes the work rewarding that is always balanced against management and a company's need for your work.
Crudely, but accurately: what level of bullshit are you willing to put up with to continue with your work in the position you are in right now?
I thought I'd come up with some snappy prose to let you all know where I was coming from on this -- but doing a little research revealed that a lot of work has already been done. Some really good advice offered as well.
Then, to further sharpen your criteria, I found two articles that compliment each other on Wise Bread: Living Large on a Small Budget.
The first follows through on the "knowing when to quit" theme: 10 important signs that your job sucks. In it, Troy gives us the emotional and logical signs that things aren't going well and some fixes for it. Plus, an eleventh sign for good measure.
Then, since I like to be more positive, Sarah Winfrey on the same blog offers up 10 important signs that your job might be worth staying at. Interestingly, from my vantage point, most of these ten things relate to how good your manager is in working with you. Food for thought for Cubicle Warriors and managers alike.
I've never advocated just up and quitting a job. My point of view, perhaps, but I've always thought it harder to find another job without having one right now. Not to mention dollars and benefits lost.
But, that does not mean one shouldn't know when it's time to go. Whether it is circumstances surrounding the current management or company or just what is happening in your life right now, knowing your quitting point and starting to look for new work is critical to your career management.