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15 Signs It’s Time to Switch Jobs

by Yvette Maurice
Posted: January 7th, 2013

Feeling dissatisfied in your job and not sure if you should start looking for a new position? How do you identify if it’s time to move on? There are several indicators that you can use as a determining factor.

Have a look at this list below and see if any of these signs sound familiar.

1. You’ve Outgrown Your Job

Maybe you started somewhere to learn about the industry you love, but now you’ve reached a brick wall? If you can’t use all your experience at your current job, then perhaps it’s time to find a position where all your skills are being utilised.

It’s unwise to spend too long at a place you feel that you’re stuck, particularly if you don’t see the chance to progress up the chain of command. If you have achieved all the goals you set out to achieve, then it may be time to change jobs.

 2. Your Current Job is Not Supporting Your Career Goals

Author of best selling goal achieving books, Victor Ghebre, gives a very poetic reason for the importance of setting career goals, “A career goal is like a compass on a dark and endless ocean and it guides your progress in the proper direction. Without a compass, you would be lost in the high seas.”

It’s important to set realistic long and short term goals, but to remain flexible to change. If you know what your career goals are but your current position doesn’t fit within this framework, it may be time to change jobs.

 3. Office Dynamics –  A Toxic Work Environment

There are several signs identified that can indicate that you are working in a toxic environment, these include things like widespread anger and frustration, workplace bullying being tolerated or admired, scapegoats being blamed, and dysfunctional relationships. Many of us have worked in a toxic environment before and more often than not, things don’t improve quickly enough for you to justify continuing to work there.

No one deserves to be treated unfairly all the time. If you work in a toxic environment, this can be a really great reason to change jobs.

 4. Little, or No Job Security

The world is now a very different place to the workplace of decades past. As a result of globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, recession and even natural disaster, job security is truly a thing of the past. To a certain degree, no one really has total job security, but there is a difference between a competitive market and a company that is unstable.

If people are being hired and fired at whim, and you have to sweat each day wondering if you’ll be next, save yourself the pain and start looking. This may be an indication that you should consider jumping ship.

 5. Your Salary is Not Reflective of Your Experience

You can (and should) put up with a lower salary if there is some point to it, but staying at a company longer than you should for no good reason is pointless. A good salary policy is intended to act as a way to keep good staff in place at an organisation. If you feel that your company is not trying to retain you by offering you a package appropriate to your skills and experience, then you need to investigate other companies that might.

Salary.com says, “By law, pay practices must be consistent, must not discriminate, and must not be arbitrary. Yet a pay philosophy may include different approaches for different types of employees.” If you’re not earning enough, or your salary hasn’t shifted in more than two years, it could be a sign that it’s time to switch jobs.

 6. You’ve Already Given Your Employer a Second Chance

Sticking it out can be an admirable quality, but sometimes you just have to know when to give up. If you’re in the position of constantly making excuses for your employer, it could be time to consider leaving for good. If you’ve had the thought that, “This is enough!” more than a few times, you really could be beating your head up against a brick wall.

With all relationships, be them personal or professional – you’ve got to know when to cut your losses. Don’t be a martyr – if you know you’ve been in this position before – it may be time to switch jobs.

7. You Have Mastered Your Current Job

Have you simply stayed in your job too long? Have you come to the realisation that you’ve mastered it? Some researchers suggest that the typical worker masters his or her specific job over the course of three years.

These experts suggest that after three years, you’ve probably reached saturation point – maybe you’re capable of more. Changing jobs after that three-year span recharges the process, giving you the chance to gain skills more quickly for the next three years in a new position.

8. You’re Not Being Challenged

We may think that not having much to do at work would be a blessing, but anyone who’s tried it, knows that a position where you are not being challenged can actually be a curse.

Being challenged at work is crucial to job satisfaction. If we’re not challenged enough, we feel bored, restless, and unproductive.

You do need to strike a balance. If your job is too challenging – this can lead to constant stress.  Think about where your job falls on this spectrum. If you really feel under-utilised and it’s been a trend more than a circumstance, it may be time to find something where all your talents are being used.

 9. Your Boss Doesn’t Inspire You

They don’t need to be Ghandi-like, but your boss should be leading you in a direction that you want to go. Most of us have had the pleasure of working for someone who inspires us, and the displeasure of being employed under someone who makes our blood boil.

If you constantly put up with a situation where you are becoming frustrated, then this will definitely start to affect your work. Don’t let a relationship with a bad boss ruin your chances of getting ahead. If you and your boss really don’t click, and you question the way he or she is leading the team, this could be a sign that it’s time to say ‘adiós’.

10. Your Employer is About to Fail

There are some signs that indicate that a company or a division is going down. People losing their jobs, managers and directors being shifted or given new titles, office basics being cut (“didn’t we used to have teabags in the kitchen?”).

If you can see that your company’s on its way to financial ruin – or worse – it’s probably a good time to find a new job. If you can see sure signs that your company is heading for trouble, make a plan – and fast. There is no need to go down with the ship; make a strategic move to jump while you still can.

11. Your Life Has Changed

Maybe your job is no longer suiting your personal needs. If you’ve recently started or added to your family, if you now have more home duties such as caring for a relative, or if you no longer feel compatible with your company’s working hours, it’s OK to give yourself permission to leave.

 12. You Don’t Have the Skills You Need to be a Success

This is a difficult one as it involves admitting defeat. The worst mistake you can make is sticking around in a job that you really lack talent for, because there might be something out there that suits you more. We can’t all be good at everything, and as we age and grow, we learn what we are skilled and efficient at. If you find yourself in this position, write a list of what you’re really good at and hone the list down. Investigate finding a position that suits your skill-set better.

 13. You Already Have a Better Offer

If someone at a rival company or in a different field is making contact with you, offering you a better title, more suitable work tasks, or better money, or all three, then you would genuinely be doing yourself a disservice by not investigating this offer.

It’s important to consider your team’s needs before jumping ship, and no one is suggesting that you burn bridges, but don’t stay at your current job just because you feel you have to. If you already have a better offer – it may not be there forever. Take the initiative and switch jobs.

 14. Your Company has Questionable Ethics

Codes of conduct or business ethics exist to guide the expected behavior of honorable employees, but much of their origination occurred for the same reason as policies.

Bad workplace ethics can range from how the employees are treated by the employer, how the employees treat each other and how the company treats its customers or acts in the marketplace. Poor ethics could be demonstrated in something as simple as poor workplace culture (no one helps to clean the kitchen or replace the ink in the printer, lots of unexplained sick days) to a company that constantly expects unpaid overtime of its employees or manufactures an unethical product in an unethical way.

Lapses in company ethics can indicate severe problems within a company’s framework. Or you may just be experiencing a clash between your personal ethics and the ethics of your company. Either way, in the long term, this can lead to major problems at work

 15. Your Job is Making You Sick

Sickness can manifest as stress, sleeplessness, tiredness or high blood pressure. If you are experiencing factors such as no holiday leave, long hours and limited flexibility to live your life, it may lead to prolonged feelings of stress, sickness or pain. This can be one of the biggest indicators that it’s time to leave.

If it’s something you feel you might be able to work with your boss on, then by all means, call a meeting. Some workplaces are healthier than others, but what makes a healthy workplace?

According to Ellen Galinsky, of the Families and Work Institute, a good work-life balance, good learning opportunities, autonomy, a supervisor who supports success, economic security, and a work climate of respect and trust are all the essential factors to a healthy workplace.

If your jobs is not ticking those boxes, know that there may be better opportunities for you elsewhere.

Time to Say Goodbye

Staying in a job for too long where you are not meeting your needs is a bad choice. Not only are you limiting your own personal endeavours, you may be doing a disservice to your fellow employees and your employer. If you have experienced three or more of the signs above, then it’s probably time you started to think seriously about switching jobs.

Be brave! Find something that will suit you better, and this time next year you could be a lot happier.

4 Responses

  1. Great post! This really brought me back to the last couple times I’ve changed jobs. In both experiences, I was really torn up about what to do — but so many of the items in your list were real for me, and when I finally moved on and found what I was better suited for I was so much happier! Sometimes we don’t want to move on because of societal pressures, fear of failure, fear of change, or just our own expectations. But I agree that if the points on this list are the truth for you, it’s time to reconsider where you’re devoting 40 hours of your life each week!

    • Thanks Raeanne! Life is too short to spend lots of time somewhere you don’t need to be. Everything has a use by date, and we only damage ourselves by staying longer than we should when times have moved on!

  2. Excellent article. We agree completely. In fact, half of the people who attend our weekly small-group strategy sessions are currently employed and are seeing what’s out there. People are not waiting for the economy to improve, but are tired of their present situations and want something better. The good news is that the average professional, manager and executive is taking only 16.4 weeks to find a new job IF they attend every week. There is hope. Your article is right on target. Thanks for writing it.

    • Realising that the average person holds 10+ jobs and 4+ careers in their lifetime (and growing) we need to be braver about making calculated, planned changes. Great news about 16.4 weeks to find a job, thanks Kate!

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