Millions of workers have left their jobs in recent months.
Some found new roles, while others walked away without having anything lined up. So how do you know if it’s time for you to start looking for a new role?
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“Many of us have bad days, don’t like our jobs at times and have frustrations with our managers and co-workers, but does it mean you should actually quit is a different level of a question,” said Amy Gallo, workplace expert and contributing editor at Harvard Business Review.
Evaluating how long there’s been issues with work and identifying what you are dissatisfied with can help determine whether you’re stuck in a rut or if it’s time to move on.
And don’t lose sight of the big picture: “In the pandemic, things have been very intense. We’ve all felt a lot of burnout. We’ve had a lot of stressors in our lives,” said Gallo. “Is it possible all of that is influencing your perception of your job?”
Once you have the list, figure out if the problems are fixable, and start outlining any potential resolutions to improve your job satisfaction. If that doesn’t seem possible, you may want to start looking for another job.
Here are some signs that could signal it’s time to find a new role:
You feel like you’ve plateaued
It’s hard to stay motivated and productive at work if you feel there’s no room for advancement.
Feeling like you’ve plateaued can look different to each individual. For instance, it could mean a lack of promotions and pay raises, uninteresting assignments or lack of learning new skills.
Long-term unfilled promises from your boss, like a new position, additional training or staff, can also be draining.
“If you don’t feel like the inroads or the transparency or communication and connection with your boss is there to have a fruitful conversation, that can be a red flag,” said Anna Bray, executive and career coach at Jody Michael Associates.
There are major issues with your boss
There are going to be times when you and your boss don’t see eye-to-eye, but when issues go beyond casual disagreements and there’s a lack of trust and support, that can stifle productivity and career progression.
“When you feel like you have to constantly monitor what you are saying…when you feel like you are constantly being scolded or evaluated, feeling like you are under a microscope constantly, and when you feel like your manager doesn’t have your back, there is no trust there – when those three things are present, it’s not going to work,” said Foram Sheth, chief coaching officer and co-founder of coaching company Ama La Vida.
Gallo suggested evaluating whether your bad boss is an isolated problem or part of a bigger cultural issue.
“Any bullying or toxic behaviors, I think those are real signs,” said Gallo. “Look around the organization and say: ‘are there better bosses here?’ It could be that your boss is acting in accordance with the organization.”
You perpetually procrastinate
We all put things off occasionally, but if you are constantly waiting until the last minute to complete work tasks when you used to schedule appropriately, that could be a signal it’s time to move on.
“When you procrastinate, you tend to be reactive and wait until the very last minute and then the quality of the work becomes just a checklist just to get it done,” said Sheth. “Compared to ‘I do this because I have pride in doing this….I care about the results. Now the shift is: ‘I need to do just enough so I don’t get into trouble.’ ”
There’s a cultural disconnect
Your company’s culture plays a role in your engagement, productivity and happiness, so any disconnect can create problems.
For instance, if work-life balance is important to you and there’s a constant deluge of emails from your boss at all hours of the day, that can contribute to burnout.
Sheth said workers should feel supported and safe at work. How companies responded to the needs of workers during the pandemic has played a role in people deciding to leave their jobs, she added.
“If your company did not give you that support system, this is why people are leaving.”
You’re noticing other potential opportunities
When you feel unsatisfied with your current position, you start to notice other opportunities more frequently.
“All of the sudden you start to notice job opportunities pop up on LinkedIn and you are actually slowing down and looking at them – your focus has shifted,” said Sheth.
She suggested asking yourself: If you were unemployed and your current job was offered to you as it is, would you accept it or keep looking?
Your attitude has changed
Take note if there’s been an increase in your eye rolls, heavy sighs and under-your-breath grumblings at work.
“If you find yourself over and over for months on end just being dissatisfied with different aspects of your job, being unhappy going to work, sitting down at your computer and thinking ‘ugh I cant believe I have to do this,’ that is a sign that you might need to look at what else is out there,” said Gallo.
While you aren’t expected to be happy at work all the time, Sheth said always being defensive and providing snappy, transactional-type responses that are curt and supply limited information can also be warning signs.
Shifts in your attitude and approach to work can be an indicator that it’s time to rethink things.
“You aren’t pouring yourself into work the same way…maybe you are calling in sick and just not showing up to meetings that you used to show up to,” Bray said.