Thinking of changing jobs? You’re not alone. The median employee tenure is 4.3 years for men and 4.0 years for women, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average person changes job about 12 times during his or her career.
One of the best reasons to look for a new job is because you feel that you’ve outgrown your current position. Moving on can provide you with new challenges, which will sharpen your skills. You might find that you’re happier and more fulfilled at work when you’re stretching yourself to meet new goals.
How do you know when you need a new challenge? These are a few signs to watch out for:
1. Time passes differently
One tell-tale sign that it’s time to go is when you find yourself watching the clock more than usual. Ideally, your work should engage your interest (at least some of the time). If you find yourself bored and checking the time to see how much longer until lunch, or the end of the day, it might be time to move on.
Time really does pass more quickly when you’re focused and fully engaged in what you’re doing. On the other hand, it can go really slowly when you’re bored, or waiting for something, or unhappy. So, it’s worth noting if your workdays have started to feel a lot longer than they did in the past.
2. It’s not fun anymore
Have you ever heard the expression, “it’s best to leave the party while you’re still having fun?” Well, there’s a lot to be said for it. You don’t need to wait to be truly miserable to realize it’s time to move on. If you’re simply not enjoying your job the way you did previously, you might find yourself considering something new.
No matter how much you once loved your job, things can change. Remember when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show? He wasn’t miserable there, but he could still sense that it was time to move on.
“It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it,” Stewart said according to The Guardian Australia. “It’s way more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction.’”
“These things are cyclical,” he continued. “You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it’s OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that’s when you realise, ‘OK, I’m on the back side of it now.’”
Your job doesn’t have to be dreadful for you to wonder if it’s time to move on. If you’re not having as much fun as you once did, that might be reason enough to contemplate a change. Listen to your gut. (Just don’t make any sudden moves after a bad stretch at work. Give it time. You might feel differently again soon. Just start to pay more attention to the pattern of your feelings about your job.)
3. Your salary has stagnated
If you’ve been working hard and helping your company to grow and succeed, but you haven’t received much of an increase over the years, it might be a sign that you’ve outgrown your job and that it’s time to move on.
Before you jump to something new, however, it may be worth it to ask for more in your current position. Take the PayScale Salary Survey to find out if others in your industry are earning more in your area, and then make a plan to negotiate.
Just keep in mind that quitting isn’t always the best way to earn more in the long run. Depending on your job title and industry, staying put might pay off. For example, PayScale data show that administrative assistants who stay at their employer earn 19 percent more than new hires. On the other hand, loyal software developers suffer a pay penalty of 10 percent.
4. You’re not challenged and you’re not learning
Your job won’t always be smooth sailing — and that’s a good thing. If you’ve ever spent a considerable amount of time “coasting” at work, you know that this true. Truly satisfying work challenges you and allows you to learn new things. If that’s not happening, it could be an indicator that it’s time for you to move on and find another job that’s more stimulating.
Of course, it’s your responsibility to bring a positive attitude and a learning mindset to your work. It’s not your employer’s job to keep you happy and engaged. You have to be in charge of being sure that you’re growing and consistently expanding your skills and abilities.
However, if you’ve done all you can think to do and you’re simply not challenged or learning in your current job, it could be a sign you’re ready for the next step in your career.
5. It Just doesn’t feel like a good fit anymore
Companies change, just like people. Maybe you were a different person when you first came to work for your organization. Or, maybe the business has changed and the company culture has shifted as a result. It’s also possible that you never felt truly well-aligned with your organization in the first place. Eventually, you’ll probably start to think about moving on if your company isn’t a good fit.
Are your ideas in sync with the way the company generally operates? Does your team listen to your suggestions or do they ignore your input? You can’t be effective if you aren’t on the same page with your organization.
There are several indicators that your company is no longer a good fit for your personally. Take note if you start to feel like an outsider, for example. Another sign is if the boss is constantly asking you to do things in a way that you find less than effective. It doesn’t mean that he or she is wrong — just that you might not see things the same way. In these cases, it just might be time to consider moving on.
Need a New Job? Here’s How to Get Started:
- Prioritize. Start your job search process by doing some soul-searching. What do you like about your current job, and what can’t you wait to be away from? What are you hoping to get out of your next job? What’s most important to you, and where are you willing to compromise? Be honest with yourself, and kick off your job search with a secure list of priorities that’s right for you.
- Polish. Be sure to take some time to polish your online professional profiles as soon as you start looking for a new job. These days, 94 percent of recruiters say they use or plan to use social media in their recruitment process. And, 78 percent of them even say they’ve made a hire through social media. There are some things you can do to create a LinkedIn profile recruiters will love. Don’t underestimate the power and influence of digital tools.
- Research. One of the most challenging aspects of the job search process is salary negotiation — and you deserve a salary that’s appropriate for your skills and qualifications. Take the PayScale Salary Survey and find out how much money your peers are earning in your area. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll get a free salary report that will show you how much you could be earning.
- Prepare. There’s no excuse for going to an interview unprepared. It’s so easy to do your homework and learn a little about the company. Read their mission statement and try to ascertain what kinds of goals, or company culture, they’re working toward. See if the company has been in the news recently. Do some research before your interview so that you can go in showing that you know your stuff. This will demonstrate both your interest in the job and your professionalism.
- Have patience. Even though the economy and the job market are relatively strong right now, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to land the job of your dreams right away. Conventional wisdom states that it takes about a month to find a job for every $10,000 you hope to earn. In some cases, it may take even longer than that to find the right fit. It’s important to have patience with the process. So, take your time and hold out for an opportunity that really excites you.
Your job is a huge part of your life. The average person spends 13 years and two months at work, over the course of their lifetime, according to one analysis from HuffPost Australia. (For some perspective, people only spend about 328 days socializing with friends.) So, you deserve to try to find some happiness — or at least some contentment — at work. If you feel you may have outgrown your current job, give the matter some real thought. It might just be time to move on to something new.
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