Is it Time to Look for a New Job?
A few years ago, if we were chronically dissatisfied with any aspect of our jobs —from pay to working conditions—solving the problem may have been as easy as updating our resume, scanning job boards in the evenings, using our PTO days to attend interviews, then accepting a new offer and moving on to a better life. As long as an employee remained professional and gave two week’s notice before jumping ship, job transitions were a natural, common, and straightforward aspect of life in the adult world.
But things have changed. With the slowing economy, the job market has become a frightening place, and dismal rumors now have the power to keep unhappy employees sitting tight and willing to compromise. In this new atmosphere of risk aversion, any job seems better than none at all, and the known is always preferable to the unknown, no matter how unpleasant or unfulfilling it may be.
In some cases, there’s a logic to this. A rough job market helps us keep our problems in perspective and allows us to sort fleeting, superficial issues (a broken coffee machine, a demanding boss) from genuinely unlivable conditions (an unsafe workplace, an intolerable boss).
So how can you decide when it’s really time to gather your courage, stare down the risks, and take a leap of faith? Start looking for a new job  if any of these describe your situation:
- You’ve been passed over for a raise or promotion more than once. Once may be a simple issue of business necessity. Twice means it’s time to look elsewhere to find the respect and opportunity you deserve.
- You’re ready to advance, but there’s nowhere for you to go. This is often an issue with very small companies. If there’s only one management position in this office and it’s occupied, don’t let too much time go by in a state of stagnation. Make your move now.
- You’re being treated unfairly or paid less than the market value of your skills. Make your case first. Be upfront, and ask directly for what you need. But if you don’t get it, move on.
- The future looks grim for your company or your position. Are you being left out of meetings and closed out of projects? Are budget cutbacks making it harder and harder for you to simply do your job? If so, it’s time to get moving.
Have you ever left a stable job and headed into the unknown? When the time came, how did you know? Share your experience in the comment section below.