How to tell if it's time to get a new job

You are sitting in a meeting and your mind starts to wonder “Is this the right time? Should I update my resume and start that job search?”  Picture of hands

Many people have asked me when is the right time to start looking for a new job. There is never a ‘right’ time to start looking however if you start to experience any of these 4 signs, it’s probably time to consider starting a job search.

1.              Reading this article

Some of you may be reading this because you are bored, doing some research, or just reading it for the catchy title. 

However, if you think for a moment, what made you open this article? Perhaps go for a walk around the block at lunchtime or grab a coffee and think through why you opened this article. Instincts together with self-reflection are strong tools to help guide you.

2.           Dreading work

It can be the dread of a horrible boss, the work itself, your colleagues or any other factor may give you the feeling of apprehension or disquiet or something even stronger.

When work starts to “steal your weekend” because you feel unease at the thought of going to work on Monday, it is time to consider initiating your escape plan.

Other indicators allied to this are:

•            You have used all your sick days without ever being sick

•            The clock seems to slow down as closing time approaches and you think the last half hour feels more like an hour or two

•            When your boss takes a day off, you jump for joy and it feels like a party at work

3.           Momentum has stalled 

You feel that you are stuck in your job. It’s no longer interesting and the excitement that you had when you first started has long gone. 

Perhaps you stopped learning – your company has not given you any formal development such as training courses or informal developmental opportunities such as new projects or stretch assignments.

You struggle to think about the next 12 months and your performance review is just a carbon copy of the previous year.

When you review your career plan, you realise that you are not making headway towards your career goals. You have stopped acquiring new skills and experiences towards your goal.

4.           Value not recognised

There could be many indicators that your value is not recognised at work. When was the last time that someone thanked you – your manager for a job well done or finishing a task well, a customer for the service you delivered or a colleague for the help you gave? If you are not regularly receiving positive reinforcements, your value isn’t being recognised.

Your skills are being undervalued if they are not being used in your current role. Many times we have skills that our employer may not know about or doesn’t use.

Your pay increases are small or non-existent. You can feel the pressures of increasing prices without your salary at least keeping pace with inflation. It could be that your peers in the company or in your industry are enjoying larger pay rises than you.

If you are asking yourself these questions, then you need to have a serious think about starting a job search – you may want to bounce the idea off a confidential friend.

If any of these signs are there, my advice is:

•            Review and update your career plan. If you don’t have a career plan, develop a career plan.

•            Don’t tell anybody at work – although you think colleagues will treat it confidentially, you would be surprised to learn that the ‘secret’ is usually spread

•            Use a structured methodology to find your next job

•            If possible, don’t leave your job until you have secured the next one

I welcome your ideas and comments on signs that it is time to start searching for a new job.

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Tags: Job Search

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