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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: A lot of people out there are not totally happy in their jobs – but many of them hesitate to go look for new jobs. They’re not sure if it’s time to jump ship, or if this is a slump that will soon pass. What signs should these employees look for that will tell them it’s truly time to move on?


Amanda1. When the Fear of Staying Outweighs the Fear of Leaving

You’ll know it’s time to find a new job when the fear of staying put outweighs the fear of leaving. It can be daunting to find a new job, and often, it’s easier to just accept the parts of your job that aren’t working, whether that’s a bad manager, long hours, or a toxic work environment. You’ll know you hit this threshold when your work begins to interfere with your life.

You’ll end up constantly thinking about how unhappy, stressed, or frustrated you are. You’ll stop doing the things you love. You may also feel physical symptoms like chronic fatigue, a sinking feeling in your stomach, or a tightness in your chest when you think about work. But it may also take the form of a quiet whisper from your gut or intuition telling you that things are not likely to get any better.

When you tune in to your physical sensations and feelings, you can easily discern when it’s time to move on. It’s a very similar process to deciding it’s time to move on from a relationship that is no longer working. At some point, the hope and possibility of something better outweighs the status quo, and you’re ready to leap.

Amanda Sowadski, Women’s Leadership Coaching

Alex2. When There’s No Work for You to Do

I see this particularly in large companies at the start of a downturn or some major internal strategy shift. The work simply dries up. Though it may sound like a dream come true (no work; still collecting a pay check), the problem is if you’re not working, you’re also not developing – and if you’re not developing, you aren’t fully attending to your professional and personal future. You need to find a new opportunity that provides you with exactly that: opportunity.

Alex Twersky, Resume Deli

Matthew3. When You Put Someone Else in Your Shoes

If you’re plagued doubt over whether or not you should leave your job, there is a simple thought exercise you can employ to help you decide.

Imagine a friend – your best friend – in your position. Would you be happy for them? Would they be enjoying themselves? Would the work they’d be doing improve their life and give them satisfaction?

If the answer to these questions isn’t positive, it’s a good sign you should start looking for a new job. It’s very difficult to think objectively about your own choices, but when you view it from an outside perspective, it becomes clearer. If you wouldn’t want a friend to be in your position, then you should’t allow yourself to be in it, either.

Matthew Griffin, Job Pact

Ruth4. When Your Career Starts to Stagnate

Employees in their 30s are likely established in their careers, but they may be finding they are not growing as quickly as they had hoped or are not as satisfied as they imagined they would be in their professions. A feeling of stagnation can prompt workers to think about their professional development and whether other careers might offer clearer paths to growth.

With professionals less likely to feel locked into specific career paths and the average person remaining in the workforce much longer, it’s not surprising that working adults are branching out and exploring many different professional opportunities. With technology evolving and changing the way we do business and an ever-expanding job market, we anticipate that this trend will only grow stronger.

Ruth Veloria, University of Phoenix

Karen5. When You Start Feeling Physically Sick

The most important signal that you need a new job is when you realize your current job is making you sick. If the end of the weekend comes with anticipatory nausea, dread, and headaches, it’s probably time to get out. Job-related sickness can result from the physical environment or from the workplace culture. If either of these are draining your health, get your resume ready and start looking elsewhere.

Karen Southall Watts, Karen Southall Watts Consulting

Julia6. When the Cuts Start Coming

One major sign that it’s time to find a new job is when funding has been cut and you don’t have the same resources. If your budget has been reduced and it negatively impacts the work you and your team can produce, it may be time to start looking.

Another sign is if staff has been reduced and more layoffs are expected – especially if the company is not replacing departing colleagues and has saddled you with an increased workload instead. If you’ve been told your additional responsibilities won’t come with more pay or a promotion, then it’s definitely time to go.

Julia Bonem, Resume Strategists, Inc.

Mike7. When You Feel Too Comfortable at Work

If you find you’re no longer being challenged and you’re starting to watch the clock – or you feel burnt out by the volume of work, but you’re not gaining knowledge and skills that will take you upward in the company – then it’s time to find a new opportunity. Too often, people get into a rut or grow too comfortable. That can be career suicide.

Mike McRitchie, MikeMcRitchie.com

Jayne8. When Your Relationship With Your Boss Goes South

If you’ve always had a fabulous working/personal relationship with your boss, but you sense a shift in your boss’s leadership, that’s a major red flag. If the relationship is deteriorating and you feel like you are losing your support system, confidant, and advocate within the organization, then it may be time to move on.

Jayne Mattson, Keystone Associates

Michele9. When You Feel Undervalued

Everyone is looking to work for a company where they are appreciated for their contributions. It’s a big part of job satisfaction. Once that no longer exists, it’s very hard to stay where you
are.

Michele Mavi, Atrium Staffing


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