It’s not easy to know if it’s the right time to change jobs, and if you’re fairly cozy in your current position, there are probably a thousand reasons to stay, even if things aren’t great. Take my client (let’s just call her Angela). Every few months, she’d reach out to me, polish up her resume, and start to job search, but then — as if they knew she was looking — her employer would give her a raise or promotion, or she’d land a big new account… And decide to stay.
Problem is, she was miserable. Her boss treated her poorly, her hours were through the roof, and the company culture prevented Angela from really thriving. She went through this yo-yoing for way too long—almost two years—before finally making the final decision to leave.
I get it.
Starting at a new employer is a big risk, and there will always be valid reasons to stay put. But if you’re truly unhappy at your job, it’s costing you—trust me. So how do you know when it’s really the right time? Often, our inner voice is already telling us what the outside world in our job/companies is already displaying right in front of our eyes. So we don’t need a smack-down to get the picture.
If you’re on the fence, these five points will help you determine your next steps.
1. You’ve got nowhere to go.
Employees want opportunities for advancement. In one survey, 87% of millennials reported that job development is important to them. Falling into a career rut is unavoidable when you’ve become so indispensable in your present position that no one sees you doing anything outside of this. So if you’ve been in the same job for the past three years, and you want to continue moving forward in your career, but there’s nowhere to go at your current company, it might be time to look elsewhere.
2. You’re short on feedback.
Feedback can be a powerful tool. In all your previous jobs—even when you were in school—feedback was an important part of your development and learning process. But at your current job, you’ve received no feedback about anything you’ve done since you started. In fact, that doesn’t seem to be part of the culture at all, as your supervisor hates to complete performance appraisals, and their opinion is that if something is wrong, they’ll let you know.
3. You’re not gaining any new skills.
Employees want work that engages and interests them. But here, you’ve flat-lined. You’re not feeling challenged in any of the tasks that you do. Not only are you not learning anything new, you’re also not even utilizing the skills you do have. And because you have become stagnant, you start taking matters into your own hands and start seeking courses, conferences, and seminars so you can learn a new skill and stay sharp. Or, even worse, you’ve just become complacent and bored. If this sounds familiar, your company likely isn’t serious about investing in your development.
4. They’re no longer bringing in new hires.
Instead of your company expanding because of all the work that is piling up on your desk, they expect you to take on multiple roles. Your colleagues are leaving, yet not being replaced and suddenly you’re wondering if you missed the memo. When your company is hosting more going away parties than HR orientations, take note. Is something going on behind the scenes? Is there a financial shortfall? Once you start noticing a pattern of unhappy coworkers, multiple private conversations, or frequent departures without the employees being replaced, it may be time for you to start updating your own resume and seeking other options.
5. You’ve lost your connection to your work.
Besides all the outward signs that your job/company is no longer for you – you sense in your gut that your time here is up. You know your work environment better than anyone else, and you know yourself too. So don’t discount what keeps you from falling off a cliff or putting your hand in fire – your gut instincts are there to warn you of danger or times of change. More often than not, your gut is right—referred to in recent literature as your “second brain”— where your mind be hesitating.
Contemplate these points carefully and see if these scenarios sound familiar to you. If so, it just might be your time to leave… And if it is, don’t stress.
What about Angela, you ask? As they say in Scarlet Letter: “she had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.”
She regretted waiting as long as she did to take the plunge, but I’m happy to report that her experience at her new employer is markedly better—saying she’s at her “dream job” would not be too much of a stretch—and as long as you put the time and dedication into your next job search, you’ll find your dream job, too.
The only thing worse than taking the plunge is becoming complacent.
This article was written by Ashley Stahl from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.