How to know when it's time to move on from a job

After a few years years in the same job, one day you may find that your enthusiasm, high work standards and general attitude has been gradually deteriorating.

This may have come about following changes in the workplace that you don’t agree with, maybe your skills have outgrown the role, or you’re no longer being challenged and the enjoyment is waning.

It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and identify if this is just a temporary rut or a permanent hole. But how do you know that it really is time to move on?

Mondays are as boring as Tuesdays and Wednesdays and…

If you’re dragging your feet into work every single day and arriving in a mood best described as a mixture of extreme boredom and impending doom, then it’s probably a good time to consider whether you should be there at all.

Think about:

  • What’s changed in your job that’s made it so boring? Has anything changed at all, or have you naturally outgrown the role?

  • Can you address the boredom within your current job by seeking more responsibility and challenges, or have you hit a wall?

  • Is this boredom going to change as your job moves past where you are now, or is this a forever feeling?

Your confidence is flagging and your enthusiasm is rock bottom

Where once you were a keen worker, leader or problem-solver, you now just do the job you’re told to do and leave it at that.

If, for whatever reason, your confidence and self-esteem are being eroded by either the people around you or the tasks you are being asked to do, then this needs to be addressed.

If there is nobody to talk to, or no solution to finding the flexible, creative and innovative person you once were then it’s clearly time to look elsewhere.

There are plenty more jobs in the sea

Are you hanging out in a rut because there are brighter times to come in the near future, such as a promotion, or are you just too scared to leave and step into the unknown?

If the latter is the case, then it’s time to face reality and overcome that fear or be forever miserable where you are now. Make an informed choice by:

  • Researching the job market from the comfort of your home computer to give you some idea of what’s out there and where your skills may slot in.

  • Deciding which areas or companies you may like to work for and doing a bit of background detective work about them to bring you inspiration, confidence and enthusiasm to move on.

  • Think about whether it’s time to switch career paths entirely. Part-time study or gaining skills in other ways, such as professional development, may be the answer.

  • Join social media platforms in your career field and find out what opportunities are going, and what people are saying. You may find changing jobs isn’t that scary after all and it may help you identify whether your current situation really is a definite rut, or just something you need to deal with for a while before circumstances change.

Are your skills really suited to this role?

Take a good hard look at your skills, including the soft skills that make up such an important part of your personality. Assess if they are being put to the best use, or if you’re just boxing them up to survive to the next pay day.

  • Is your personality suited to the job and workplace culture around you?

  • Is this job making the most of your talents and, if not, can this be remedied within your current role?

  • Does the job you’re doing go against your personal beliefs and values? Is this a mindset you can realistically change?

  • Whatever your feelings about your job, don’t deny them. Address them, deal with them and try to make a change.

Is your job meaningful enough for you to keep it just for income?

After another boring day at work, you head home only to feel like you’ve achieved very little more than earning another week’s rent.

There’s nothing wrong with that, if you can cope with it, but some signs you may be urgently due for a change could be quite obvious once you think about it.

Consider:

  • Do you believe in the outcome of what you’re doing? Is it worth the energy you’re investing?

  • Have you simply outgrown your role? Nothing ever stays the same, and that includes you. Don’t be ashamed to admit that, after years, your job is now beneath you and your skillset, and it’s time to go elsewhere.

  • Is your job just a bad fit for you? This may include the tasks themselves, which either stress you out or bore you completely, or it may be the workplace culture.

  • Do you just want more? Go and find more. There’s plenty of it out there.