Research has indicated that people change jobs between 10 and 15 times across the course of their career. This number is believed to have risen in recent decades, as the long-standing practice that involved a person starting at the bottom of a company and then worked their way up the company has mostly been abandoned.
However, while you are almost certainly aware that your current job is unlikely to be the one you hold until retirement, this propensity for job change does create an interesting question: how do you know when it’s time to move on to your next challenge?
The obvious reasons
In some instances, deciding to leave a job is an easy one. For example, if you experience any of the following, it’s almost certainly time to say goodbye:
- You believe you are being underpaid and that your earning potential exceeds your existing role.
- You are deeply unhappy in the role, either due to the job itself, your boss, or the people that you work with. If you reach a point where the idea of work is causing you emotional upset, then time is up. If your unhappiness with the role has been particularly severe, it may worth taking the time to get a lawyer to help explore the possibility of legal action as a result of mistreatment that you may have experienced. No one should have to deal with an untenable working environment, so do consider this option, and move into a new role with a new company as soon as possible.
- You have decided to pursue a different course with your career; perhaps you’re looking to re-enter education to qualify in a different area, or you’re looking to move into a position that is not available at your current company.
In the above scenarios, deciding to move on is clear-cut and straightforward – but often, you’ll have to decide when it’s right to move on without such powerful factors influencing the decision.
The less obvious signs it’s time to look for a new job
While more difficult to identify, any of the following can be taken as signs it’s time to change your job:
- You are generally unenthused about your work – you go through the motions, perhaps even perform well, but you don’t feel excited or passionate about the job.
- There are relatively few opportunities for upward movement in your existing company.
- You have found that going to work to do the same job, day after day, is beginning to feel less-than-ideal – this can happen even if you quite like the job.
- Your existing role or the working environment has changed from what it once was; while you find the new situation tolerable, you simply don’t feel the same sense of commitment to the company as you once did due to these changes.
If you identify with any of the situations or feelings above, then moving on is likely to be the best choice for you. While there is something comforting about staying in a role that is familiar, if you reach a point where it’s simply not interesting you anymore – or appears to have reached an upper limit in terms of progression – then a job change could be just what you need to find your motivation and enthusiasm once more.