By Niki Jorgensen
Making a decision about a career change is rarely an easy one. It can lead to feelings of stress and uncertainty. It can also be confusing when deciding whether or not one’s current work situation is tolerable or if it might significantly improve at a new organization. But what conditions should trigger a career move? In some situations, the decision can be an easy one. But other times, the frustrations of the current job are hard to compare to the many unknowns a new workplace might hold. For those employees struggling to decide whether to stay or go, Niki Jorgensen, a manager of HR services with Insperity identifies eight signs that indicate when it might be time to search for new opportunities.
Sign #1: A loss of passion for the job
When a position that once was exciting and regularly delivered new challenges begins to feel predictable, it may be time to explore new opportunities within the same company or at a new organization altogether. This loss of passion for a job is often accompanied by boredom, depression, feelings of being misunderstood or general unhappiness.
Sign #2: Mondays have become depressing
While few workers are overcome with joy when the workweek begins, a significant sense of sadness near the end of the weekend is likely a sign that the workplace has become less enjoyable. Employees want a job that energizes them and gets them out of bed in the morning. If that feeling has diminished over time, workers should consider new opportunities in or outside of their current workplace.
Sign #3: Counting down the days until time off
One sign that an employee really enjoys his or her job is when the hours seemingly melt away. Conversely, if the workweek seems longer than it used to be, or if an employee finds himself or herself counting down the days until a weekend or vacation, this is a sign that a career change might be in order.
Sign #4: A sense there is no room for upward mobility
It is common for employees to feel like their careers have stalled if it appears they have reached their ceiling within a department or company. Many workers, especially younger employees, need to feel that new opportunities await them.
Sign #5: A belief that skills are being underutilized
When employees are regularly assigned work that does not fully utilize the extent of their skills, it is common for a sense of being undervalued to arise. In these situations, the best first step is a discussion with management about the need for new challenges. However, if these feelings continue it may be time to move on.
Sign #6: More frequent frustrations
When an employee notices that longstanding minor irritations of the job have now become major annoyances that might be a sign that it is time to consider moving on. No workplace is perfect and frustrations accompany all jobs. But at times, career stagnation can lead to increased feelings of anger and even depression. If a worker notices that his or her fuse has shortened significantly at the workplace, this may be a symptom of larger career frustrations.
Sign #7: A feeling of cultural disconnect
While certain jobs align well with an employee’s skill set, company culture differences can become a major issue for some. If the organization’s ethics or morals conflict with a worker’s personal beliefs, he or she may want to consider looking for employment elsewhere. For many, a sense of pride and alignment with the company’s mission is a critical component in their professional happiness. In these cases, it is often best for both parties when a worker decides to go elsewhere.
Sign #8: A sense that the environment has become toxic
Sadly, even organizations with highly respected missions can be toxic. In some cases, an uncaring manager or a lack of strong relationships with coworkers can make a great job overly frustrating or unrewarding. Workers should remember that a large percentage of their life is spent at the workplace. Therefore, if that atmosphere is an unhappy one, a change is likely in order.
Niki Jorgensen is the manager of HR services for Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 31 years. The company provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.