One of the toughest decisions facing any executive is how to know when to change jobs. Often we feel such loyalty to our place of work that the thought of quitting makes us feel guilty. However, there are certain times when leaving is entirely justified and can actually help your career.
When to Leave a Job You Love
Learning how to know when to change jobs takes time and experience. It can be difficult to distinguish run-of-the-mill stress from long-term dissatisfaction. Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to look for a new position:
- You no longer trust your employer. When an executive starts mistrusting their employer’s motives, ethics, values, or the cultural aspects, it’s time to update the resume and think about an exit plan.
- You don’t have faith in the business. No one should have to stay on a sinking ship. If you no longer believe in the business model and don’t think the company has a future, it’s time to move on.
- Your job has become stagnant. Staying too long in the same position without taking on new responsibilities is a red flag on a resume. If you’ve learned all there is to learn in your current position, it’s time to seek out something new.
- You don’t feel like a valued asset. Every employee, even managers, need to feel like their work has meaning. If you don’t feel valued and can’t see how your work fits into the bigger picture, you need to examine whether it’s time to leave.
- Your mental health is suffering. Many people don’t wonder how to know when to change jobs: they dream about quitting their current job day in and day out. If you feel overwhelmingly negative about your job, it’s often no longer worthwhile to stay. Your mental and physical health should come first.
Knowing When to Quit Your Job
There are many times when the need to leave is clear. However, I would urge you to exhaust your options before quitting, especially if you don’t have another job lined up right away. If you’re unsure how to know when to change jobs and the above circumstances don’t apply, there might still be hope for you at your current job.
When you’re thinking about quitting, it’s important to first re-examine your perceptions of the situation. Seek the advice of your mentors, trusted colleagues, a business coach, or a professional HR person. Many times our emotions can keep us from seeing our own circumstances clearly, and it can help to have an unbiased observer to help advise us.
If you truly are dissatisfied but would like to stay with your company, have an honest talk with your manager. While certain things are beyond their control, most leaders are willing to be flexible in order to retain their high performers. Come prepared with a list of changes that could reasonably be made in order to keep you on.
Finally, be prepared to walk away. It’s possible that the situation is unsalvageable, but that’s a necessary part of life. Your career path won’t always look the way you anticipated, but if you trust your gut, it will often work out for the best.
While you might have a very good reason for a job change, every job comes with its own set of challenges that must be overcome. If you’re wondering how to know when to change jobs, fill out my contact form for a video coaching session on the biggest challenge in your career.