Is it time for you to start looking for another job? This is a question a lot of people dance around for a long time -sometimes years. I’ve gone through the same thing myself. After making a transition to a new job after almost ten years at a single employer, I’ve thought quite a bit about the reasons people stay at jobs for extended time periods, even though they are deeply unsatisfied with where they are. Here are some signs to look out for if you find yourself wondering whether it’s time to jump ship:
1. Your skills are not respected. If you feel that your employer doesn’t recognize your value to the company, then it may be time for a change. Do you find that your opinions are taken for granted or that your judgment isn’t taken seriously? If you’re always wrong in the eyes of your employer, then there is definitely a problem.
Take the time to examine yourself, though. Are you really contributing as much as you can? Are you proving your value in your work assignments? If not, it may be worthwhile talking with your supervisor and asking for more challenging or interesting work. If this isn’t an option, then it’s time to start looking.
2. You’re stuck. If you’ve been in the same position, doing the same things, for nearly the same pay, for a long time, it’s time to shake things up. Has your job title been the same for five years? Do you have the same level of responsibility you had three years ago? Is your pay increasing at a snail’s pace with cost of living type raises? Enough is enough.
Again, look at your situation from an outside perspective before making final decisions. It’s true that you’re much more likely these days to make significant gains in salary and benefits by changing jobs than you are by staying at a job for a long time. However, if you’re content with what you’re making and/or the market won’t support paying much more for the work you do, then the scenario may be a little different. You may want to communicate to your supervisor that you’re ready for more responsibilities. It’s also possible that there may be another role in the same organization that can be more satisfying and more lucrative for you.
3. You’re bored! If you simply can’t get into what you’re doing right now, then it may be time to leave. There is some evidence that the human mind needs change in order to defeat boredom and depression. Many of us spend the greater part of our lives, more than 40 hours per week, working. This is a lot of time to be spending performing tasks that aren’t stimulating our brains in the ways that they need in order to thrive.
You have to be careful, though, that you’re focusing on the right parts of your life that need change or improvement. It could be that more outside activities will liven up your life. Perhaps meeting new people is what you need rather than switching jobs. Try expanding your social and activity circle to see if it makes life more interesting and enjoyable for you. If your work situation doesn’t improve after making some changes in your outside activities, then it may be time for you to move on.
Being unhappy in your employment has a profound effect on your life. When your job no longer is satisfying, you often begin thinking all sorts of negative thoughts about yourself. You start thinking that you’re not good at what you do, so maybe you should choose another career. You may think you’re just a bad employee, lazy, sloppy, or unintelligent. These thoughts are self-defeating and self-destructive. Instead of beating yourself up, take some time to make some changes to make your life and work more interesting, challenging, and enjoyable.