The air is becoming crisper, the leaves are changing color, and days are growing shorter. Autumn is a season of transitions, which means it may be time to consider a professional transition as well. Everyone has bad days at the office, and it’s important to take advantage of all the resources possible to navigate workplace stresses and conflicts. But there are a few indicators that hint that it may be time to leave. Think about the positives and the negatives associated with work, consider the scenarios below, and critically assess if the bad outweighs the good. If so, it may be time to find a more promising opportunity.
1. Lack of Professional Challenges
If every day feels monotonous and mindless, it’s possible your position is no longer professionally challenging. If it’s easy to complete all tasks with minimal effort, and there aren’t available opportunities to learn new skills or to take on more responsibility, it may be time to start looking for a new job.
In the short term, consider learning new skills independently – there are plenty of ways to learn a new program or to pursue an interest outside the office. In the long term, start looking for positions at companies requiring new levels of expertise or responsibility, and pay attention to companies offering in-house training programs to ensure employees never feel bored.
2. Limited Future
There are no promotions in sight; no matter how much you excel at work and no matter how long you stay. This stalemate could arise from a number of factors, from poor management to small company size, but if it’s clear there’s nowhere to grow, then it may be time to go someplace else.
Consider companies that have a reputation for promoting from within. When considering a new company, ask current employees how they have grown during their tenure, and if they enjoyed their career progression. Another option is to change career paths entirely and find a starting position in a new industry where there’s plenty of room to grow.
3. Cultural Misfit
Company culture is the most intangible feature of every office, but it’s also one of the most important: when the fit isn’t right, it’s obvious. A company’s mission, values, leadership, atmosphere, and its employees all influence the culture, and every culture is different. Some companies are laidback, fun, and casual, while others are conservative, formal, and fast-paced.
Not every employee will fit in every company’s environment, and if there’s a bad fit, make the change sooner rather than later. A bad fit can lead to work-related stress, frustration, and even conflict. Determine what values matter to you, and then look for positions at companies that reflect these values and act upon them.
4. Unhealthy Levels of Stress
Stress is normal, and positive stress can be a motivator, promoting peak performance. Stress in the workplace can prompt more effort and creativity as well. But when stress becomes unmanageable, it can also have serious repercussions on your health.
Examine what factors are prompting the negative stress. If they are all inherent to the company or the position, and there’s no available recourse, then the best solution may be to find a new environment. In the short term, find ways to relieve heavy stress outside of work so that your health doesn’t significantly suffer.
5. Emotional Harassment
If a coworker or a boss is being emotionally abusive, the decision should be easy: it’s time to find a new job. While sending resumes out, take advantage of all the resources available at your current company to help the situation. Most organizations have human resources departments that are equipped to manage these situations, or if the issues are with a peer, consider speaking to a manager about the abuse.
If the abuse continues after you’ve already taken measures to address it, then it’s time to take more serious steps toward finding a new job.