When it comes to jobs and careers, it seems everyone has an opinion. “Don’t quit a job until you have another one,” some say, while others opine, “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” And when the job market is still tight, with thousands of qualified people still in the unemployment line, you might be reluctant to leave a good job, even if you know it’s not the right fit for you. The bills won’t pay themselves, after all.
The thing is, not every job is meant to be permanent. One study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the average person changes jobs at least 11 times throughout his or her career, while other evidence shows that most people change entire careers or fields multiple times. Clearly, most people do not enter a job or career field after college and stay there until retirement.
But how do you make the decision to move on from your current job? Sometimes the signs are obvious: maybe your boss or co-workers are abusive. In most cases, the signs are more subtle. If you aren’t satisfied in your current job, consider whether any of these factors are part of the problem, and take steps to rectify them.
You’ve Achieved the Goals You Set for Yourself
As any career coach will tell you, setting goals for your career is vital to both maintaining job satisfaction and moving forward in your career. Whether it’s getting more education, moving into a certain position or working on particular types of projects, having defined goals gives your career a purpose. But if you’ve achieved your goals, it may be time to move on to new challenges in order to keep yourself engaged with your career. On the flip side, if you’re simply feeling bored or dissatisfied with your work, settingsome new goals can reinvigorate you. For example, a nurse could opt to earn an RN to BSN degree in order to gain new skills and knowledge and move into new positions.
Your Changes Haven’t Worked
Things haven’t been great on the job, but you’ve been proactive about the situation, making changes to improve your work and your feelings about it. Maybe you’ve taken on new projects, made an attempt to work more reasonable hours or requested a department transfer — but you’re still unhappy. If you’ve made changes and still don’t like your job, it’s probably time for a change.
You Dread Going to Work Each Day
Everyone has days when they would rather snuggle under the covers or go to the beach than head to the office. And we all have days when we know that work is going to be especially challenging, so we dread going in. However, when you have more of those days than days that you actually want to go to work, you could have a problem. Take a look at what’s making you dread work, and if it’s not something that you can fix or change, then consider moving on.
Your Industry or Job Is on the Brink of Extinction
What’s happening around you? When your company or industry is in trouble, you know it. Maybe there’s talk of budget cuts, or there have been problems with your paycheck — or there have already been layoffs. Or maybe more of your industry’s jobs are being outsourced, and you see the writing on the wall. Even if you love your job, if there are signs that it won’t be there in the near future, start looking for a new position.
The Future Is Bleak
Take a moment and consider your future in five, 10 or even 20 years. Can you see yourself working in the same job, or even the same industry? Would you want your boss’s job? If even the thoughts of staying with your current career for several decades gives you hives, start taking steps toward a change now. Take time to explore your passions and interests and work toward a career that you can see yourself in for a lifetime.
If you do think that you want to leave your current job, experts recommend having a plan and enough money to cover six months of expenses before you give your notice. Take some time to think about your goals and what you want out of life, and if the time is right, jettison the job that’s making you miserable and move on to bigger and better things.
About the Author: Career counselor Leah Sugden has worked with everyone from new graduates to experienced professionals to help them find the perfect career. She blogs about career health and goal setting for a large business site.