When you first stepped into the working world, you may have had clear cut plans for your career path. Right now, you may be one of the lucky ones who landed their dream jobs early in their working lives and do not see yourselves leaving that job soon.
But the fact is, just like they say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, you may have to go through a few jobs before you find one with the right fit for you. Maybe you feel there’s a better job out there, that you would rather be somewhere—anywhere—other than in your current job. But quitting your job is a risky move, and you need to make sure that it’s a move you can afford and need to take at this time. To help you make that big decision, here are signs that tell you it’s time to look for greener pastures:
You’re not enthusiastic about going to work anymore.
Does it take you forever to get ready for work? Do you wish your breaks could extend indefinitely? Maybe you’re no longer satisfied with or challenged by your job; if you want to try to work out your issues without leaving your job, this article in online career resource Monster.com will help you “re-ignite romance with your work.” You should also check out Female Network's article on finding job satisfaction. But if, even after your best efforts to revive your enthusiasm for work, you still feel there’s a missing piece, it may be time to start thinking about moving on. Bear CVTips.com’s advice in mind when you start looking for a new job, which includes never using office resources for your job hunt or scheduling appointments or interviews during the time you’re supposed to be working.
You feel you have outgrown your job.
You’ve been in the same position for quite a number of years, and you feel you’ve acquired more skills than your job requires. When this happens, Therese Droste, a contributing writer for Monster.com, suggests listing the new responsibilities given to you since you were hired and the amount of time you spend doing each task. Set up an appointment with your boss and discuss your new skills and a possible increase in responsibilities with him or her. Who knows? Your boss might consider lining you up for a promotion. Thinking of applying for higher positions within the same company? Droste tells you how in this article; her advice includes tips on updating your resume and wisely selecting which positions to apply for.
Your job has become too stressful for you, affecting your health.
No matter how much you enjoy being in your job, if it’s becoming so stressful for you that your health is beginning to suffer, it might be time for a change. “Some occupations are inherently stressful. After a while the stress can become too much to handle,” writes Dawn Rosenberg McKay in About.com. If your job stress is starting to manifest in your physical and emotional health with symptoms such as extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, a short temper, and broken relationships with family and friends, you might want to look for a job that has more regular working hours or a more manageable workload.
You’re not happy with the office culture.
Alison Green, co-author of the book Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Getting Results, shares a reader’s experience of being “repulsed by [his/her] office’s culture” in her Ask a Manager blog, in which the reader seems to be the only one who doesn’t like it. Green advises the reader to find ways to live with the office culture, as it is something he/she cannot “singlehandedly change.” Another reader suggests “mov[ing] on to an environment that you feel suits your work style.” Before jumping over the fence, ask around—talk to your peers, former classmates, or friends in the same industry about how it is in their respective offices so that if you decide to transfer to another company, you’ll have an idea of the culture and day-to-day interactions in other offices. If you do decide to move on to another job, don’t speak ill of your former boss or company. It will reflect badly on you, not them.
Your salary isn’t enough for your needs.
Sure, you love your job and you’re not really in it for the money. But if you’re living on your own and you have lots of bills to pay or if you’re supporting the education of your children or younger siblings, chances are, you might find yourself barely making both ends meet. A paycheck-to-paycheck existence is far from ideal because you also want to save for your future and have money on hand for emergencies.
Before you head to another company that offers a higher pay, consider discussing the possibility of getting a raise with your boss. Dr. Randall H. Hansen, founder of career development site Quintessential Careers, outlines the dos and don’ts of asking for a raise, such as making sure you have a plan, not being unrealistic in your demands, and considering accepting perks in lieu of additional monetary compensation. If you decide to look for a higher-paying company, make sure you’ve done your research about the salary and employee benefits that your future employer can give you, so you can negotiate if you think you deserve more.
You entered a new phase of your life.
You recently got married and you and your hubby are relocating elsewhere. Or perhaps you’re a new mother and you need to devote more time to your growing baby, so a job with lots of overtime work or travel may no longer be right for you. Before you hand in your resignation letter, discuss other options that may be available to you with your immediate supervisor. He/She might just re-assign you to your company’s other offices, or hire additional staff to lessen your workload and working hours.
You found a “better job” elsewhere.
Say you’re happy with your current job, but one day, you get a call from a company that offers you an opportunity that is too good to be refused. Before you head for that greener pasture, evaluate the job offer first. Megan Malugani, a contributing writer for Monster.com, gives you tips on how to effectively evaluate a package, factoring in work environment, benefits, time off, and your lifestyle. If you eventually decide to accept the job offer, make sure not to leave a bad impression with your current workmates. As Steven DeMaio of Harvard Business Review puts it, “quit your job with style.” You may also want to give your company a chance to counteroffer.
You feel you’re better off being self-employed.
Many people come to a point in their lives where they want to be their own bosses. Maybe you’ve been dying to start that small catering business or wanting to do freelance work. Worried about whether you have what it takes to take the plunge? People development manager and freelance writer Iwona Tokc-Wilde lists qualities you must have in order to succeed in self-employment on online article resource Suite101.com, which include self-discipline, determination, and a willingness to take risks. Many seek self-employment because it enables them to work from home. This FN article suggests five questions to ask yourself before going into this sort of venture, and another article suggests different online businesses you may want to consider, but remember that it’s important to have a plan before taking the plunge.
Deciding whether to quit your job or not takes time. It’s not a decision you can make overnight. But whatever your choice may be—whether you decide to just take a long vacation to ease job burnout or commit to looking for a new job entirely—always remember that it is your career, not your boss’s or your officemates’, so you’re the one who needs to be in control. Quitting or staying in your job, therefore, is about you and what you want to do, and not what other people would like you to do. Just consider two things: one, that you’re absolutely sure you want to quit before handing in that resignation, and two, that should you quit, you do so gracefully.
(Photo ©iStockphoto.com/Justin Horrocks)