If you’ve been feeling that it might be the right time for a change in your career, you aren’t alone. A poll conducted by Edenred UK found that almost a fifth of those surveyed had left their job of their own volition in the last 12 months alone, and an additional 16% plan to leave in the upcoming year. In recent years, we have all been forced to reconsider our priorities and working practices, and the resulting consequence is that many have come to realise their current role might not be the perfect fit they once thought it was. But if you aren’t sure what constitutes a sure-fire sign that you’re ready to leave, this article aims to highlight the most common signs that it’s time to seek a new opportunity.
1. Are you being challenged?
If you are frequently finding yourself bored, demotivated or complacent at work, it might be that you simply aren’t being challenged enough. If you find that the work you’re doing doesn’t inspire you anymore or has become monotonous, you may have outgrown your current role. Sometimes it’s possible to solve this by asking your management if your role can be pivoted to include further responsibilities or exciting projects, or if it’s possible to adjust the kind of tasks you’re carrying out to reignite your passion and enthusiasm for the role. But, sometimes, you’ve lost the feeling of being challenged because you’ve simply come to the end of the road in this particular role. In the latter instance, it’s time to look for something new.
2. Are you taking on too much?
It’s important to recognise when you are experiencing burnout and to take a step back, evaluate your options, and to know when it is time to go. Burnout can result from a number of issues in the workplace, such as heavy workloads, toxic work environments, a culture of over-working and a lack of appropriate and healthy workplace boundaries. Sometimes, burnout can be remedied through consultation, restructuring or coming up with a strategy with senior management to alleviate some of the burdens and pressure you’re facing at work. Before you decide to hand in your notice, it’s worth discussing the options there might be for reducing your feelings of burnout to see if the situation can be remedied. But when it comes to issues with a company culture or workplace attitudes, it is extremely difficult to set these problems straight and come up with a solution. Sometimes, there’s no other option than to leave the role you’re currently in, and in these instances it’s crucial to do the right thing for yourself and start looking for another job.
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3. Do the company values reflect your own?
Everyone changes and grows, and sometimes you outgrow a company or find that your core values and beliefs simply no longer align with your own. Or you could find that the culture fit isn’t quite right for you anymore. This is very normal, particularly given how the focus on company culture has shifted dramatically in recent years; in the wake of the pandemic, company culture has had to shift to encompass remote-workers and the less ‘in-person’ perks that were once on offer within the office space. Some companies have been able to adapt and evolve in order to retain or even improve their existing culture, whereas others have not. Over time, working within an incompatible culture or within a company whose values don’t reflect your own can lead to feelings of displacement and unease in the workplace, particularly since a large portion your time and energy is dedicated to working towards your company’s cause. If you no longer feel that the culture fit is right, or your core values no longer align with your own, it may be time to move on.
4. Is there room for growth?
If you’ve been in the same role for a number of years now and there doesn’t seem to be any opportunity for growth or promotion, you might have reached the ceiling and gotten as much out of the role as you possibly can. Feeling like you’ve reached the limit in your role can leave you feeling stuck or listless, but even worse is the feeling that you are not being considered for promotions that are available even when you are making every effort to advance. It’s always worth having a conversation with your manager or director to see if there are any opportunities for promotion and growth that they might have in mind. But if this isn’t a possibility, it’s time to find a company where you can follow your ambitions.
5. Are you undervalued?
Many of us will at some point or another feel undervalued in the workplace, but if this feeling has become second nature, it’s definitely a sign to consider your current position. Feeling undervalued can encompass a whole range of things, such as feeling that your hard work and efforts are underappreciated, or that your ideas go unnoticed. But often, feeling undervalued results from being underpaid and overqualified. It’s worth bearing in mind that a salary that was negotiated years ago with only an annual increase to account for inflation doesn’t often align with the salary you could be offered should you decide to switch roles. If your current pay rate doesn’t align with your market value, you might want to think about trying to negotiate a salary increase that reflects your level of expertise and the demand within your current industry for the skillset that you offer. If you feel this is the case, try to open a line of communication with your employer about it; if they’re still unwilling to budge, it’s probably time to move on.
Whatever the reason you are considering a change, it’s important to assess every aspect of your position and consider whether there is the potential to improve or resolve the issues within your existing role. But if you’re certain that it’s time for a new challenge, make sure you take your time and find the right role for you to move into next rather than leaving in a hurry. Above all, always trust your instincts: if your gut feeling is telling you it’s time to go, or if your current job is having a negative impact on your overall wellbeing, then trust it and start looking for something new.
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