One of the frequent topics for talk among my working friends is deciding when it’s time to change your current job. Up until now, I’ve only changed jobs twice, but thanks to my experience working for a headhunting company, I’ve learned a lot about optimizing your career moves and deciding when it’s the best time to start a new job hunt. I’ve had the chance to talk to hundreds of executives who shared with me their reasons for seeking a new job. Combining all their collected confessions with my share of experience, this is what I have summarized so far.
Here are the top 6 signs it’s time to look for a new job immediately:
1. Your salary does not pay your bills.
Having a job to get experience and learn something new is essential for your professional growth, though your salary may not always keep you motivated. In your entry-level years, your salary may not be enough for you to afford an out-of-town trip or going out to dinner. Occasional salary raises or seasonal bonuses may be great for keeping your motivation high.
But if your salary stays stagnant for a long time, and you don’t have even a small hint of an increase on the horizon, it’s time to start looking for something new that actually pays your bills. Because no matter how good the company, its mission, or the leadership it, you do not want to find yourself lured into the trap of living beyond your means.
2. You have no career prospects.
Sometimes, people start their careers as entrepreneurs to climb their own ladder quickly. Or, they land an opportunity at a large company to ensure broad career prospects the organization may offer. Either way, you may end up in a position that has no career prospects to offer you in the future. As a result, you may end up working for the same company in the same position for years, before you realize that there is only one option — and that is to find another job.
I know this because I’ve been there myself. I worked for the same company for three and a half years, even though I knew that there were no other prospects for me in the future, as the company was a small business. Unfortunately, the fact that I worked for the same company in the same position did not bode well for me while I was in an active job search. As the position title was a junior one, it made many recruiters doubt my potential and my skills — even though my contribution to the company went beyond my listed duties.
3. Your daily routine consists of a list of never-ending repetitive tasks.
Everyone complains about a mundane day at the job every once in a while. For example, though I face various challenges at work each day as a PR specialist, I also do repetitive tasks, like writing reports and scheduling social media posts. But if all you do is mundane job routines that don’t challenge you and feel degrading, making you forget your acquired knowledge or skills, it’s time for you to look for a new job that offers a dynamic and challenging environment where you can develop yourself professionally.
4. Opportunities for personal and professional development are elusive.
A perfect job is not only paying your bills — it also develops you both personally and professionally. This is partially related to the above-mentioned daily challenges that can make you adopt a new approach or worldview. It can also develop your professional skills, such as communication or leadership.
Today, most companies offer employee development programs that might help you grow further as a professional. If your company does not invest in your professional development despite the fact that you contribute significantly to its growth, it’s time to look for a job that can offer you more in terms of learning and development.
5. A toxic workplace is doing a number on you.
Are you coming home stressed and feeling dreadful? Are you unhappy or uncomfortable among your co-workers? Do you feel like gossips, constant snitching around the office, and demotivating leadership make you feel insecure? Then you know it’s time for you to look for a new job. A toxic workplace is one of the biggest reasons why people should change their jobs as soon as possible.
Back in college, I started an internship in a company where talking behind each other’s back was expected. When I realized the only thing that was going on in the workplace was constant gossip, I started feeling stressed because of office politics. It was so horrible that I quit the internship a few days before its end, and I never regretted it.
6. You have already outgrown your job and the company.
When I worked in headhunting, my boss used to say that every company, every position, and every employee has a certain potential. To work things out, usually, all three should be compatible. Yet sometimes, employees outgrow their position and company, and later start looking for a new job. I can’t stress enough how many brilliant professionals I’ve seen who were happy with their employers, but who also complained that their job did not challenge them anymore.
Do some soul-searching to help you decide if it’s time to start looking for a new job.
One of the things many professionals, especially the young ones, mention is that they are not sure whether they should find a new job, or when it’s time to seek a new challenge. Some professionals say that the average duration you spend with your employer should be at least three years; some say it should not exceed three years. I believe that there is no standard duration that can be applied to everyone. However, if you wonder whether it’s time to look for a new job or not, the above-mentioned six points might be handy for you.
To decide whether you have outgrown your position or not, conduct a self-evaluation. Measure the achievements and skills you’ve gained while working at your current company. Do you think you’re open to new challenges? Determine whether the company or your position can offer you something new in terms of learning and developing. If not, you know what to do next.
Leyla is an intellectually curious and multilingual communications professional who loves traveling, reading, writing, and coffee… lots of coffee.
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