There are times in your career when it’s painfully obvious that it’s time to look for a new job. When you have a boss you don’t respect, when your company is downsizing, when you’re continuously passed over for promotions, it’s clearly time to look for a new opportunity.
Other times, there are subtle signs that it’s time to make a job change and it’s more difficult to come to the decision that you’re ready for a new position. As executive recruiters, we council thousands of executive job seekers each year, so we’re well aware of the factors that tend to drive people to make a job change.
If you’re wrestling with the decision whether it’s the time to look for a new job, consider these questions:
- Am I no longer feeling challenged at my job? While you don’t want your job to be so difficult as to make it impossible, you definitely want it to challenge you. That’s the only way to hone your skills and acquire more knowledge. Plus, when you accomplish a challenging task, you feel good about your efforts. If your job has become routine or easy, it’s time for a change.
- Am I getting sufficient support from my peers and team? To do your job well, you need the support of your colleagues and employees. Not having this support — for whatever reason — will seriously limit your ability to accomplish your goals, as well as your enjoyment of your job.
- Is my job making me sick? Sometimes, job stress can make you sick. Symptoms include frequent headaches, an inability to sleep or generally feeling sick. Of course, you should always speak to your physician to get an accurate diagnosis, but if your illness is due to work stress, a change to a different work environment might be warranted.
- Are there sufficient growth opportunities at my organization? Even if you’re already in a management position, there should always be ways for you to grow. You need the room to create your own initiatives, represent your organization at events, explore innovative ideas and spearhead projects that are in line with organizational strategy. Without these types of opportunities, you’re unlikely to be satisfied with your job.
- Do I keep justifying my job? If you keep explaining why you’re in your current role, then you’re best advised to ask yourself why you’re doing this. Are you avoiding a change? Do you know deep inside that it’s time for something new because you’re not developing anymore — but you don’t really want to admit it to yourself? The truth is that if you’re justifying your job, then you’re probably afraid of stepping outside of your comfort zone to look for something else.
- Am I predominantly negative when I talk about my job? When you don’t have many positive things to say about your position or your employer, it can be a sign that your job doesn’t have anything more to offer you. Ideally, you’ll find a job that excites you with an organization whose mission and goals you believe in.
- Am I already spending time looking for other opportunities? It’s not unusual to be interested in other opportunities. In fact, many professionals, while not actively looking for a new role, are prepared to move for the right opportunity, should it come their way. But if you find yourself wanting to devote more time to seek out opportunities and have conversations with executive recruiters, then it’s a sure sign you’re ready for a change.
If, after reviewing these points, you determine that it’s time for you to move on, then it’s important that you go about it carefully.
Obviously, changing jobs isn’t something you should do without careful consideration. It’s an action you can’t undo — and one that can have a huge impact on your career. In order to stay on track with your career plan, you want to make sure that your next position is a step up or, at the very least, a lateral move.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to make a job change, we recommend that you first consider whether you might be able to find what you’re looking for within your current organization; investigate your options there first before heading for “greener pastures”. If you ultimately decide it’s time to look for a new job with another organization, ensure you have a clear plan in place to ensure a successful search.