No matter how you feel about your job, there comes a time when you need to move on. So why is extending those what’s-out-there feelers so hard to do? “Even when you’re unhappy and know it’s time to leave, the familiarity comfort zone beckons you to stay,” said Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster. It’s even harder if you’re ecstatic with your current job—why risk it with something else, right? Wrong! Instead of silencing that inner voice urging you to spruce up your LinkedIn profile, get honest with yourself and take a look at these signs.
Look for a new job if…
Your current one seems random.
Alexandra Levit, a writer at the Fast Track Blog, recommended asking yourself the following: when you consider your long-term life plan, does your current job match up with where you want to go? Sometimes you have to take work that doesn’t quite mesh with your ideal career trajectory, and that’s perfectly fine. It happens to the best of us! But it’s also a sign you should constantly be on the lookout for opportunities that fit your goals better, said Levit.
You’re not being challenged.
When you’ve given the job your all for as long as you can remember, it can feel good to coast once you’ve become used to your workload. As well-deserved as it may seem, an easy job won’t benefit you in the long run. “If you’ve mastered your job responsibilities and are bored, that’s great!” said Salemi. “It’s a sure sign you’re ready to grow and look for a new job.”
Upward mobility is out of reach.
"If you’re at a junior level and your only chance for upward mobility is to leave, then you really have no choice,” said Levit. It can be especially hard to give this reasoning its proper weight when you absolutely love everything about your job as it is. But if you still have no shot at a promotion or raise after taking on extra work and having an honest chat with your supervisor, set your sights on somewhere you can do bigger and better things.
You enjoy literally nothing about your work.
Your coworkers don’t understand your sense of humor. Your to-do list is mind-blowingly dull. Your manager’s whims are incomprehensible. If you can’t find a single bright side, set yourself free from what you probably consider torture at this point! “To stick with a job, there has to be something about it that you find enjoyable,” said Levit. “You don’t have to be jumping out of bed with enthusiasm every day, but in general it shouldn’t be a drag.” Even if you think you’re leaving that unhappiness behind at the office, it can seep into the rest of your life. “You can start becoming caustic, negative, and downright unpleasant,” said Salemi.
One thing to note: Salemi’s a fan of always keeping an eye out for new opportunities, even if you’re happy and challenged in your current role. “It never hurts to see what’s out there and keep an open mind about your future,” she said.
Consider staying put if…
Your company is super frustrating.
Levit summed it up: “Welcome to the business world. This is all companies. The grass probably won’t be greener on the other side.” In other words, humans are complicated, fickle creatures, so no matter where you work, you’re bound to deal with irritating aspects. A dream job isn’t one that has no hairy moments, it’s one that you love enough to take the bad in stride.
You just got the job.
So your first week was a blur of being yelled at, accidentally deleting important files, and generally feeling out of your depth in every way imaginable? No matter how awful it seems (barring sexual harassment or something similar), give yourself time to adjust. “It’s in your best interest to fully grasp your new responsibilities and bolster your resume with your current role,” said Salemi.
Your work doesn’t contribute to society.
If you feel like your work doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, you can change that. “How can you leverage your current position to do more meaningful things?” said Levit, who suggests options like joining a company-sponsored volunteer initiative or mentoring a younger colleague.
You’re going through a major life change.
Let’s say you’re getting married soon. “If you’re planning your wedding and honeymoon, you need to take significant time off work for fittings, meetings with caterers and suppliers, and then for the honeymoon itself,” said Salemi. “Focusing on job searching and being mindfully present with prospective employers may feel overwhelming.” Sometimes life throws a ton your way and you have no choice but to look for a new job while dealing with multiple sources of craziness. Otherwise, one thing at a time.
You want to be your own boss.
Striking out on your own as an entrepreneur or freelancer is thrilling, intimidating, and chaotic. If it’s the only way to follow your passion, by all means, take that leap of faith. But if you’re just doing it because you can’t deal with having a boss or coworkers, period, your new path can quickly become overwhelming. “Consider all the advantages of working in an established organization versus all the stresses that arise when you are solely responsible for your own livelihood, and potentially other people’s,” said Levit.
It can get better!
This post originated on, www.levo.com.