There are, of course, outward signs that your company may not be doing well, but what about you? While the company may be doing just fine, are you still struggling to make it through the workday? Here are some indications that it might be time to jump ship.
Your work/life balance is out of whack.
If you're missing out on important family events and you don't have time to do chores and have a social life, the decision to leave is a no-brainer. But be sure to put your situation in context and be clear about what you want to move toward, advises Lynne Sarikas, Director of the M.B.A. Career Center at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. "Be careful not to jump from the frying pan into the fire. Don't move for the sake of moving without clearly understanding if the balance issues will be better," said Sarikas. She suggested assessing if the imbalance is a short term or long term issue and asking, "Is this the position that you must survive to advance to the next step? Is there a major project underway that is demanding more hours or is it standard operating procedure?"
People in similar positions who started after you are being promoted and given more responsibility than you.
If you've been passed over for a promotion, Sarikas suggested asking yourself, "Was I the most qualified candidate?" If so, perhaps it might be time to move, but not necessarily, according to Sarikas. Whether you decide to leave or stay, Sarikas suggests using this as a learning opportunity. Ask the hiring manager what you need to do to be prepared for that role or a similar one in the future. If it's doable, focus on getting where you need to be to nab that next promotion. Sarikas said, "There may be skills you need to develop or issues to address. Identify what you need to do and build a plan to be prepared for more opportunities going forward."
Your customers and co-workers have become "the enemy."
When that sense of connectedness or camaraderie with co-workers has deteriorated to dread, it may be time to think about making a change, according to Donna M. Dubrano, adjunct faculty of marketing and management for Newbury College. "When meetings are excruciating and the thought of working on one more project makes you want to run away, or if you avoid and make excuses for not attending important work functions that could advance your career," it may be time to leave, said Dubrano. Some more signs you might be burnt out on the people: “Even your favorite customer becomes at best annoying and predictable. You avoid his/her phone calls or pass them to another employee."
You're sick from the stress.
Stress manifests itself differently in people. While some thrive on the adrenaline stress provides, others start to physically suffer. Bestselling author and psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman agrees. She said if you get physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches, at work, or even if your symptoms are more emotional, it could be time to move on. This could include becoming clinically depressed, feeling sad and irritable most of the time, or having troubles with eating and sleeping too much or too little. Kathi Elster, executive coach and author of "Working With You Is Killing Me" and several other books offers other physical and emotional symptoms that may signal a job change is in order:
- You cannot get out of bed in the morning
- Sundays are full of feelings of dreadful anticipation
- You are numbing yourself more than usual with alcohol, painkillers, and unhealthy food
- Excessive sleeping, isolating from friends and family
- Your future looks hopeless
How to move toward a brighter future
If you do decide to pursue a new job, Sarikas had the following suggestions:
- Do some self-assessment exercises to clarify your interests and abilities
- Get input from colleagues and friends about your strengths and your possible fit in your desired role
- Do informational interviews with people who are doing the job you think you want -- find out what it is really like
- If you aren't qualified to take your dream job now, identify what you need to do to qualify. What job now would lead to the job you desire?
- Identify companies that offer the type of job you desire. Who do you know at those companies for networking?
Changing jobs can be scary because of the element of the unknown. But should you stay at your current job at any cost? Chances are, if you're asking yourself that question and putting it in those terms, you already know the answer.
Kristin Marino writes about education and careers for Schools.com. She has an English degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.