4 good reasons to consider leaving your job, and the 1 reason not to
“I’ve been at my current job for almost three years, but I’ve never really loved it. I don’t feel inspired; I feel like I’m chasing a paycheck. It might be time to throw in the towel—but how do I know for sure?” A young man, Noah, approached us after a speaking engagement wondering if we could give him advice on whether we think it’s time for him to move on. We felt his pain. Everyone’s had at least one dead-end gig that seemed to be going nowhere. Sometimes, it’s exactly the right move to head somewhere better. That’s why it makes sense that over 60% of Americans are interested in leaving their current positions. But Noah wanted to know—and so should you, if you’re looking to make a big move—when should you start packing your bags, and when should you give your current job another chance? Here’s what we’ve discovered in our own careers, and through years of research and coaching clients from across the country and around the globe.
It’s time to leave your job if…
1. You Just Can’t Connect With Your Leader Or Team
You may have heard the saying “People leave managers, not companies.” And on the flip side, you probably know that great companies pride themselves on their unique people. Ask many employees at top-notch companies what they love most about their job, and they’ll likely answer, “My team!” The people you work with can make or break a work situation. So if you’ve given it your all, and you’re still discovering serious irreconcilable differences with colleagues, it’s probably time to move on. Unfortunately, people aren’t likely to change to accommodate your personality or work needs. Don’t worry; you’re not alone — Gallup reports that nearly half of job-seekers want to leave because they’re frustrated with their managers. Just remember to pay close attention during your next interview process. Look for a team and leader who make you comfortable and bring out your best. Prioritize cultural fit, and you can avoid finding yourself in this situation again in the future.
2. No One Appreciates A Job Well Done
With all the proven benefits of sincere recognition for great work, it’s pretty incredible that teams — and entire workplaces — still exist where appreciation is not a priority (or even an afterthought). If you’re stuck in a company where this is the case, it may be time to make a move on. But before you go, think carefully. Have you done your best to lead the way in appreciating greatness? Do you share kudos and congratulations — and still hear crickets when you pull out all the stops yourself? If you can honestly say yes, then pack your bags. If you feel like you haven’t pulled your weight either, try to give it another month or so. Say thank you often and sincerely. Look for signs that your leader does the same. At the end of the day, an organization that doesn’t prioritize gratitude doesn’t prioritize you and that’s not a workplace that will bring out your best or make you happy in the long run.
There’s nothing worse than growing stagnant at work. That’s why top companies often offer employees development and further education classes. It’s why industry conferences are attended by tens of thousands, and smart publications are picked up and shared throughout workplaces. People are inherently curious; if your company doesn’t allow you opportunities for growth and development, they’re dampening your abilities to grow and adapt with the times. Sometimes, companies simply don’t have the budget to help you grow professionally. That can be remedied — you can attend free webinars or listen to podcasts, for example. But if your leadership is actively resistant to professional growth, that’s a real sign of trouble. If you’re interested in knowing more and doing more, you want to be at a workplace that supports you, not working for a boss who’s afraid he’ll lose his competitive edge. If that’s the case, it’s time to make a move. You deserve to be uplifted and empowered to grow.
4. Your Wellness Continuously Suffers Because Of The Job
Most employees don’t live to work — they work to live. And if your current job is wreaking havoc on your ability to enjoy life, it may be time to make a change. Don’t think we’re advocating everyone should leave their jobs in search of endlessly flexible hours or unlimited paid vacation. Most companies simply don’t offer these types of benefits. But what we do advocate is a dose of self-reflection. Is your mental, social, or physical wellness continuously suffering because of your job? There are small changes you can make to improve your workplace wellness — here’s a great list to get started. But aside from moving more and keeping hydrated, there are environmental factors (like endless high-stress, or lack of fresh air and natural light) that you can’t escape. If your current job is hurting your long-term wellness, start the job hunt. When you’re not well, your productivity, innovation, and satisfaction suffer. You don’t want that — and neither does your employer.
Don’t Leave Yet if…
5. You Feel Like You’re Not Doing Great Work
At your current job, do you make a difference for your team, your leaders, and your customers? Are you making positive changes and chasing new innovations? If you’re shaking your head no, well, this is your issue to solve and not your organization’s. Of course it can be demoralizing and frustrating to feel like you don’t make a difference at work. We all started our jobs with the intention of being awesome. But not producing your best work is not a reason to leave — rather, it’s a chance to embrace a new mindset. Global research culling from more than one million cases of award winning work reveal five skills that universally lead to great work. Take it upon yourself as a goal to make a difference at work that people will love. Your bosses will likely notice your newfound passion and pursuit. They hopefully will recognize your efforts and support you in your quest of achieving greatness.
Noah listened intently as we gave our opinion and findings. “I think the problem with my current position is a combination of colleagues who don’t want to collaborate and a boss who never shares credit when it’s due. I’m glad you pointed these factors out, because you’re right — they’re not likely to change. But, it’s interesting that you mentioned the concept of being my best. I’m going to think about that.”
No matter what he chooses, we support Noah’s decision and wish him the best. But, we wanted to ask you, the reader: what are your dead giveaways for when a job isn’t going to work out and it’s time to find something new? Share below.
This article was originally published on Forbes.