Whether you’re mid-career or have just entered the workforce it’s important to spend time thinking about what your next career move will be. But when it comes to actually making a change, many people stay too long in their current position, afraid of losing money, fearful of betraying loyalty, or scared to try trying something new. This is one of the most common and biggest career mistakes—not making the right career move, at the right time.
For some people, the right time to leave a job can be very clear, while others don’t notice the signs that signal it’s time for a change. Here are ten clear warning signs that it might be time to make a career move.
- Loss of purpose or passion – While money is certainly an important motivation for going to work everyday, if you don’t believe in your company’s mission, or enjoy the work you are doing, it’s time to consider a career change.
- Your responsibility has increased but your pay hasn’t – There’s a time in everyone’s career where a special project or late nights might not be rewarded with pay, but if your workload has increased for a prolonged period of time, and you aren’t being compensated for that, you should consider looking for a company that will pay you for what you’re delivering.
- Your talent isn’t valued – Is your employer investing in your professional development? Are you being stretched to reach your full potential? Do you feel engaged by the work you complete? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it’s time to find a company that invests in you and your skill-set.
- Your relationship with your boss isn’t good – If your relationship with your direct manager is strained, not only will your work suffer, but your career will as well. When you don’t have a positive relationship with your boss, your entire future career can be put at risk. Don’t leave your options in the hands of someone who isn’t looking out for what’s best for you.
- The company you are working for is going downhill – Whether you’re at a small start-up or a big corporation, there are obvious signs that a company isn’t a performing well, and this could affect more than just your bonus or salary. Know when to jump ship before you find yourself lost out at sea.
- Your work stress is affecting your health – We all have stressful days at work, but if your work-stress is taking a physical toll or is affecting your mindset when you’re off the clock, it’s time to consider a change of pace.
- There’s a noticeable dip in your work performance – If you know that you’ve been operating at a low productivity level, it’s important to take the next step before you damage your personal brand and risk a negative reference. It’s normal to have dips in your productivity, but when too many days have gone by, it is time to move on.
- Your work culture is toxic – Whether it’s a group of employees, or the overall culture of your office, if you’re spending five days a week in a negative atmosphere, it’s time to get out. Don’t wait for other employees to leave. Take control of where you are spending your time, and find a cultural fit that works for you.
- You don’t have work/life balance – If you feel like you’re living for work, and not working to live, it might be time to reassess your priorities and find a company that allows you to have a life. We all have times when our jobs can demand a lot, but what is the point of making a living, if you don’t have time to live your life?
- Your gut is telling you it’s time to go – This one might be obvious, but despite any of the signs above, if you get the sense that it’s time for a change, or that you might be better off somewhere else, the chances are you’re right.
Once you’ve realized that it’s time to make a career move, it’s important to start defining what it is that you are looking for:
- Do you want to take on more responsibility?
- Are you looking for more free time?
- Do you want to start a company?
- Do you want to work around positive, like-minded people?
- Are you looking for a pay raise?
It’s also important to recognize that your current skills are transferable, and that you should explore the job market with an open mind. Working with a professional recruiter can help ensure you are making a strategic move to find an opportunity that will deliver what you are looking for. A skilled recruiter will not only make sure that you have an offer on the table before you leave your current position, but will coach you on how to leave your current job so that no bridges are burned.