Signs It May Be Time to Start Looking for a New Job

woman at a laptop with a gray cloud over her

Have you ever found yourself suddenly unhappy in your job and willing to do just about anything to find a new one? Chances are good that you didn’t just wake up one day, walk into work and flip a switch that made you feel that way. Typically, job dissatisfaction evolves over time and if you can catch the early signs of it, you’ll be much more likely to leave your position on good terms. 

👉 Catching signs of job dissatisfaction early on can help you leave your position on good terms, setting yourself up for future success.

There are two places to look for these signs: in yourself and within your organization. The personal signs are the ones that have the ability to erode your happiness over time while the organizational ones are much more subtle and sometimes require you to do a bit of soul searching before deciding to look for a new job. 

Personal signs it may be time to start looking for a new job

These signs have to do with you. They are often identifiable in your behaviors, attitude or feelings. The earlier you catch on to these signs, the better because you might be able to negotiate or implement changes into your current position instead of looking for a new job. If it’s not something that can be changed, then it’s better to acknowledge these signs early so you can start job searching without feeling desperate to get a new job.

Here are some personal signs to be on the lookout for: 

1. You’re disengaged from your job. You show up, go through the motions and you go home. You’re no longer trying to overachieve or come up with new ideas, you’re just there to do your job and get your paycheck. 

2. You are stressed out more often than not. You’re tense all of the time, you’re snapping at your family and you feel like no matter what you do the stress just doesn’t let up. Being invested in your career is a great thing, but not if it’s to the point of jeopardizing your health. 

3. It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. Everyone has a hard time getting up on a rainy Monday morning, but if you’re feeling unmotivated or just plain grouchy about getting up and getting to work every day, it might be time to look for a new role (assuming there isn’t an underlying medical reason for this behavior). 

4. You no longer get along with your supervisor or teammates. Maybe your old boss left and you don’t care for their replacement, or perhaps your teammates and you just don’t seem to work well together any longer. If you’re going to work every day dreading having to interact with the people you collaborate with on a daily basis, it’s time to start sending out some job applications. 

5. You’re struggling financially. If you’ve taken on an extra job because you’re trying to save for a big vacation, that’s one thing, but if you’re working a second (or more) job just to make ends meet, consider looking for a new position. In this situation, definitely try to advocate for a raise before looking elsewhere, but don’t be afraid to pursue something more if you can’t get the salary you need or deserve. 

6. Your work is no longer challenging. You’re bored. Every day you’re bored at work because you’re not being challenged. You might be able to bring this up with your boss and get some new projects to work on, but that’s not always possible so if that’s the case for you, start searching for a new challenge. 

7. You’re taking frequent sick and/or mental health days. We all go through periods where life is difficult and we are taking more time off work than usual because we need to cope personally. However, if you’re not going through anything major outside of work and you’re frequently calling out, take it as a sign that it’s time to job hunt. 

👉 Personal signs appear in your behavior, attitude and/or feelings.

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Signs at work it may be time to look for a new job

These signs have more to do with the organization itself than with you. They are often things that change over time that you may not agree with or things you had no way of knowing during your interviews. In many of these situations, you might still love your job so you’ll have to really evaluate the situation to determine whether or not it’s worth it to stay. 

four things that might have changed at work

1. The company has new missions or goals that no longer align with your own. If you started at an organization because you believed in what they were doing and the direction they were going, you may find yourself ready to job hunt if that direction changes into something that you don’t feel as passionate about. It’s hard to show up to work excited when you aren’t on board with what you’re working towards. 

2. There has been a merger, acquisition, IPO or change in leadership that you’re uncomfortable with. Maybe you took the job under the impression that it was a private company and it was going to stay private, and now they’re suddenly going public. Or, maybe senior leadership is changing or the company is acquiring or merging with another organization that you’re not thrilled about. This doesn’t mean the company is bad, it’s just that it might not be the best fit for you anymore and it’s time to look elsewhere. 

3. You aren’t feeling respected or valued. Once you feel like you’re being taken for granted, you might need to start job searching. This is one of those situations where the longer you wait it out without addressing it at work, the worse you will feel about your job and/or the organization so it’s better to tune into this signal early so you don’t grow resentful

4. The environment is toxic. No job is worth a toxic environment, so as soon as you start feeling uncomfortable you should be sending out applications. There are certainly steps you can take with HR if the toxicity is coming from one or two people, but go ahead and job search during that process anyway just in case you still end up needing a plan B. 

5. You keep getting passed over for promotions. Not being selected for one promotion is disappointing, but not necessarily a sign to leave your job. However, if it’s happened more than once and there don’t seem to be legitimate reasons for it, then start applying for jobs at organizations where there is room for career growth. 

6. Your workload is too much and you’re not getting support. Sometimes you take on a short-term project that stretches you way too thin, but since it’s not forever you push through. When you’re feeling this way every single day, though, and no one seems to be willing to help lighten your load a bit, it’s time to look for a new job where you will have better support and work-life integration

Make a plan and stay positive

If these signs seem to be resonating with you, it might be time to freshen up your resume and start actively looking for a new position. Starting now means you’re not terribly unhappy at work and this will allow you to keep a clear head and take your time in searching for the right job for you.

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- June 1, 2022

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