Over the past two years, the pandemic has made many people rethink what they want from their careers, resulting in employees quitting their jobs in record numbers. So it’s easy to understand if all the labor-market headlines have you wondering if it’s time to start exploring new opportunities.
But while it’s common to daydream about how things might be different if you worked elsewhere, how do you know when it’s really the right decision for you? Here are five signs that it might be time to consider a job change.
There’s no growth
If career advancement is important to you but you aren’t seeing clear opportunities for growth at your current employer, it may be time to look elsewhere.
Keep in mind that “growth” doesn’t always translate into a promotion, a new title or increased responsibilities. Depending on your personal and professional goals, being given the support to learn a new skill or participate in an exciting new company initiative can also keep your current position fulfilling and set you up for better pay, either at your current workplace or for the future. But if you find these opportunities few and far between and conversations with your manager about development don’t seem to go anywhere, then it may be time to move on.
You’re not paid what you’re worth
If you don’t believe that you’re being fairly compensated, do some research to make sure the data supports your hunch. In addition to consulting career sites, ask professional colleagues and recruiters in your field what pay ranges they see for roles at your similar level. If you see a big pay discrepancy, it may be time to talk to your supervisor to discuss whether and when a raise would be possible (make sure to time the conversation right — companies aren’t always flexible about when they give raises). If they refuse to budge, changing jobs may be the only way to get the pay jump you’re looking for.
You work in a toxic environment
If you love the work that you do but dread starting each day because of the attitudes or behavior of your boss or coworkers, or because you dislike the company’s culture overall, then you might be working in a toxic environment.
A recent study conducted by MIT Sloan found that companies with toxic corporate culture had a few factors in common: a failure to promote diversity, equity and inclusion; workers feeling disrespected; and unethical behavior. That same study determined that a toxic workplace is 10 times more likely than compensation to predict employee turnover.
Your work/life balance is lacking
Work is an important part of our lives, but it’s not the only thing in our lives. Our family, our friendships, our hobbies, and our mental and physical health are all important. And yet, when forced to choose, many of us prioritize our careers.
If you feel that you don’t have a healthy work/life balance, establish boundaries and habits that help signify to you when it’s time to close the laptop — for instance, this framework can help you work wellness into a busy schedule.
However, if you find it near impossible to maintain work/life balance because of your work culture — say, your supervisor or coworkers regularly overstep their boundaries or pressure you to be a “team player” by asking you to do things on family time — then it might be time to find an employer and work culture that better prioritizes balance.
You’re feeling consistent burnout
All of us will feel as if we’re burned out at one time or another. Ambitious projects, tight deadlines and the occasional long workday will do that to you. But there’s a difference between occasional work-induced stress and true burnout, which the Mayo Clinic defines as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”
While burnout is not a medical condition, it has been linked to detrimental health effects like fatigue, insomnia, alcohol or substance misuse, heart disease, high blood pressure and vulnerability to illnesses. If you’ve already tried to assuage the factors that impact burnout with your managers but find you simply can’t avoid it in your current role, it might be time to start looking elsewhere. Pay attention to employee reviews on job sites to get clues on how a prospective employer’s corporate culture handles work/life balance.