In a lot of ways, jobs are like pop singers, some stand the test of time and some are just one hit wonders. And since the days of lifetime employment have gone the way of the record player, how do you know the difference? When should you stay the course and when should you pop out the CD or delete that song from your iTunes account?
Of course making a decision to leave your job is a lot more serious than picking out a song, but there are some definite signals that should raise red flags. Assuming that you are compensated fairly and your boss hasn’t mistreated or harassed you, here are a couple of ways to know if you need to polish up the resume, connect with your references, and begin networking.
Are you learning?
If you sense that your learning curve is beginning to flatten out, are there any training opportunities that can bring you some fresh challenges or chances to demonstrate your abilities? If you find that you’ve gotten all you can out of this job, hanging around means coasting for a little while and then stagnating. Stagnation isn’t a good career move and it could cause you to slip into a “who cares” attitude. Performing well in your current job will help you in future jobs since most hiring managers believe that past performance will be indicative of future results. Do everything you can to keep learning … even if you have to pay for it.
Are you having fun?
If you dread going in everyday, it may be time to move on. When a job is pure drudgery, the longer you stay, the harder it will be to perform well and eventually move your career forward. If you’re hitting the snooze button too many times in the morning, if your hair starts getting kinky at 4:55PM, if you plan your lunch break for late in the afternoon so you’ll have less time to work when you return, if you call in sick for any reason you can think of, it’s time to start looking.
Is your life at odds with your job?
Even if you enjoy your job, if you cannot maintain your current lifestyle needs, it may be time to move on. Sometimes life throws us a curve: your parents need care, your spouse or children require more time than your job will allow, you need to make extra money, or you simply don’t want to accept a move to keep the job, you’ll have to make the decision to move on occupationally.
Your job may be interfering with something you’re passionate about. If you feel strongly that what you’re doing for an occupation is getting in the way of how you wish to live life, it’s time to move on.
Are you jealous when a co-worker accepts another job?
When your cubicle buddy accepts an opportunity to work for another firm, are you secretly envious? If you find yourself checking out job boards or the career sections of other companies, that’s another indicator that you’re ready to move on.
Does the thought of working somewhere else energize you?
This is the key indicator that you’re ready to move on. When you daydream about doing something other than your job for most of the day, or if you perk up when you hear a voice mail from a job recruiter, you know you’re ready to look for employment elsewhere.
Sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is actually making it. If you find that these indicators accurately reflect your how you feel about your job, accept it and take the next reasonable action to move you toward finding that other position. Make wise moves and you’ll find that you can accomplish whatever you decide.
How do YOU know it’s time to look for employment elsewhere? Let us know what factors you rely on to propel you toward making that decision.