Every job has its highs and lows. But how do you tell the difference between a few downsides and something deeper – something that means it’s time to make a change?
Kristine Tuazon, Director at Good People HR, shares the signs that it’s time to think about leaving your current job, and the steps you can take to move toward change for the better.
- You dread going to work
Everyone can relate to an ‘I hate Mondays’ meme, but this is more than that. If you spend Sundays dreading the week ahead or feel anxious before every shift, it might be time to look at why – and what you can change.
Tip: Try putting aside an hour or two each week – it could be a Sunday afternoon – to search for the right job for you. Use this time to explore and read up on roles that interest you, or set yourself a goal of applying for 1 new job each fortnight. While you’re at it, you could update your SEEK Profile so employers can reach out with opportunities.
- You envy other people’s success
Do you look at someone earning a living doing what they love and think, ‘Why should they have that, when I don’t?’ It could be a sign that you’re really seeking something more fulfilling.
Tip: Use other people’s success as motivation. When you see someone doing what they love for work, ask them how they got to be where they are and try taking on some of the strategies that worked for them. Another great idea is reading up on the careers of people in your industry that you admire, to find actions or approaches you can adopt for you own career path.
- You’ve stopped thinking big
It’s easy to let your goals take a back seat when you’re busy with work. But if you’ve lost sight of your career goals, it might be time for a change.
Tip: Set aside an hour or two to evaluate what you really want from work. Are there any goals you lost track of that you can revisit? Or, try taking a little leap toward something you’ve always wanted to do. This might mean targeting a company you’d love to work for and reaching out. Explain why you’d love to work there and ask about potential roles or what they look for in employees. You can use what you find out to come up with a plan.
- You’re never challenged
After being in the same role for a long time, you can find yourself doing the same tasks over and over. You might be seen to have a certain skill set, and not really get a chance to go beyond it. It’s great to be recognised for what you’re good at but if you’re being pigeonholed or pushed into a rut, it can limit your career progression.
Tip: If you’re not feeling challenged, try speaking with your manager about new opportunities: adding new projects to your workload, changing up your tasks or working in other parts of the business. If that’s not possible, you might want to start looking for that challenge elsewhere.
- You have no work-life balance
Does it feel like you spend every waking minute working, or thinking about work? Has work stopped you catching up with friends or doing the things you enjoy? Balance can be a tricky to achieve but it’s important to switch off, spend time with friends or family, or just enjoy being who you are outside of work.
Tip: Try making some tweaks to your working week– this might involve looking at your breaks, sleep, exercise, or activities you enjoy. You could also try setting boundaries-- like not checking work emails after 6pm. If you can’t make any adjustments and work still feels all-consuming, it could be time to look for a new job.
- You don’t feel listened to or appreciated
Do you feel like your work is taken for granted? This can be frustrating and leave you feeling disheartened. If you work hard and commit to your role, you should be treated well and feel like your input is valued.
Tip: Try some different ways to get yourself seen and heard – if voicing your ideas in meetings isn’t your thing, perhaps there’s another way to communicate. It could be worth sitting down with your manager to let them know you feel your work isn’t being appreciated or that you have ideas you’d like them to see. If you can’t do this, or it doesn’t help, it could be worth looking for a new role where you’ll feel valued and listened to.
- You’re reading this article
Perhaps you’re just curious, but if you’ve found your way here, there’s a good chance you’re looking for a change.
Tip: Taking a leap toward into something new can feel overwhelming, but breaking down options, possibilities, and small steps to get there can help you make your next move.
If you feel like it’s time to move on, a good place to start is here and now. Take stock of your current position, talk to your network, and try to figure out what you want from your next role. This will help guide your next steps and find the change you’re looking for.