You've been in the same job for a while, but how do you know when it's time to move on? Journalist Polly Devaney lists 10 key signs it's time to get serious about job hunting.
1. You've reached a dead end
Have you gone as far as you can in your company? Looking around, is there no further scope for progress, either because the work would simply be 'more of the same' or because the flat hierarchy means you are in a 'dead man's shoes' situation? Perhaps you need specific professional qualifications to progress within this company or you are at the top of your pay band with limited options to move higher?
2. You fell into it in the first place It is particularly common for graduates to take any job offered on leaving university, simply to pay off student debts and to gain some work experience. However, several years down the line that position may turn into a comfortable but unchallenging rut. As career consultant Sherridan Hughes says, "So many of my clients 'fall into' their job, for example, a friend may mention that it is up for grabs, but without thorough self-assessment and matching to a role, it's essentially pot luck and people are all too likely to find such a job a poor fit, and then be less successful and fulfilled."
3. it’s like an episode of Friends – the one with you in a career rut!
Are you bored and unchallenged but can't face the thought of leaving your work mates behind? If your personal and social relationships with work colleagues are by far the best thing about the job, it's time to consider a move. If they are truly good friends, those relationships will last when you change organisation. With the help of online social and professional networks, it's easier than ever to keep in touch with people. Whilst it's important not to leave your team high and dry, remember that no one is indispensible and when it comes to your career, your main loyalty should be to yourself.
4. Fear of failure is holding you back
There are 1000’s of jobs from sales jobs to Engineering & Manufacturing and It can seem like a big scary world of unknown 'other jobs’ out there and you may think you've been in your current job too long to make a big move. But it is never too late to re-evaluate and change role, organisation or even both. It really could be a case of needing to 'feel the fear but do it anyway' in order to reap rewards in your career.
5. You need a lifestyle change.
As experienced professional coach Joan Bolton-Frost suggests, "If a long and arduous daily commute is grinding you down, why not look for a job closer to home? You may also decide you want a different work-life balance or a new challenge – promotions and pay rises are good reasons to move job but they are not the only valid reasons. Have a think about what's really important to you in your life and whether your job is helping or hindering you with them."
6. You're clinging to a sinking ship.
You may have been sitting tight, not wanting to take a risk during the recession. However, by keeping your head down you may be missing some exciting opportunities as we recover from the recession. If you know that your company is not doing well, it may be better to start job hunting now, rather than waiting for a possible redundancy. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the same talent pool, having to compete with your colleagues as well as the latest graduates and school-leavers. It's always easier to get another job when you're still in work and you won't be as tempted to just take the first job that's offered.
7. The training should never end
Are you stagnating? During difficult times, training budgets are often one of the first things to be cut, so to keep developing you may need to move job in order to gain the skills, competencies and experience important for progression. Bolton-Frost adds, "Don't be overly negative and afraid – it is easy to think it is all doom and gloom, but there are still firms thriving in these difficult times, so if promotion and pay rises are not forthcoming where you are, look elsewhere!"
8. You're getting the cold shoulder.
If your development meetings and one-to-one time with your boss are consistently being delayed or cancelled, it may be time to take a hint. Once or twice is to be expected in a busy firm but any more than that would start to suggest they don't take your career development seriously. If your boss and other key stakeholders are not supporting your progression and those around you get promoted but you don't, it's time to look for a new, more supportive environment.
9. You have that 'Sunday night' feeling – every night
If you have to drag yourself out of bed and hate the thought of another whole day or week at work, it's time to re-assess. As Hughes points out, "If you're in the wrong job, your family, friendships and health can all suffer. You might be doing 'OK' where you are but somewhere else could be a lot better than 'OK'– and there's nothing to lose by looking around at what's out there – you might well be pleasantly surprised!"
10. You wouldn't put up with it if it was a relationship
Would you stay with someone if the relationship had gone stale, was unfulfilling, the spark was gone and they weren't taking an interest in your thoughts or feelings? Probably not. You are likely to spend more time doing your job than you do with your partner, so if any of these key signs look familiar, don't accept less than you owe to yourself – start that job hunt!