man who slipped on a wet floor beside a bright yellow caution sign holds his back in painChanging jobs (or careers) is never a stress-free endeavor but occasionally becomes necessary due to economic conditions or other circumstances that make you question why your professional life is in the doldrums. If you find yourself in this type of situation, it is time to do everything in your power to avoid leaving your current job, but if you have tried your best and are still unhappy, it is likely time to look for a new job. A bad job exhibits several attributes to help you identify it as one that need to be replaced.

1. While a good job is not necessarily always the most well-paid one, you still need to be able to pay your expenses and lead an acceptable lifestyle. The bottom line when it comes to compensation is whether you feel adequately rewarded for your time, effort, and accomplishments at your place of work. When you are underpaid, it is difficult to become motivated to excel and continue to be productive in the long run. If you feel you are being underpaid, take some time to do some research to find what people in similar position are earning and then ask for a raise. Otherwise, being underpaid is a good reason to look for career opportunities elsewhere to meet your needs.

2. Being underappreciated, like being underpaid, can sap any motivation you have for doing your best every day. Working in an environment that lacks sufficient recognition programs can quickly make you wonder whether you are valued and respected at your place of work. Even more than simply being de-motivating, a lack of recognition is a major indication that your boss has no interest in promoting you or giving you opportunities to develop your professional skills. If you find that you are not being openly appreciated, try to personally assess your value to the company to see whether your work matters to its operation. Investigate whether you could be more impactful to the bottom line or have special expertise in areas where you could be better utilized. If your efforts fail to fine sufficient appreciative practices, it could be time to find an employer who will value your contributions.

3. If your employer begins to financially falter and reach a period of sustained decline, it is natural and acceptable to worry over the future viability of your employment with your company. If you begin to have serious doubts about the direction your company is taking  and lose confidence in the senior leadership, it is likely a good time to start preparing for your next career maneuver.

4. One of the most rewarding aspects of any job is feeling yourself grow and develop with the resources and opportunities presented to you by your employer. Investing in employees is an investment in an employer’s sustainability and competitiveness. And if your employer refuses to invest in its employees in order to grow and adapt, try seeking out a mentor in your field for advice and guidance along your career path. Another alternative is to teach yourself new skills through attending classes and professional conferences and participating in workshops that will expand your education in a new direction. But, if you find that you are not being challenged enough, or given sufficient opportunities to grow in your job, it may be time to jump ship and find an organization that will support you in meeting your short- and long-term career goals.


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