Skip to main content

The emotional ebbs and flows at work can make it difficult to figure out when it’s time to leave a job.

We’ve all had those moments at work where we think, “I love my job!”

And we’ve also had those moments at work where we think, “I can’t do this for one more day!”

Here are the ways to know for sure that it’s time to look for a new job.

It’s time to leave a job when something doesn’t feel right

One way is that you feel uncomfortable in your current job.

Maybe you feel like things are happening that impact you, but you are the last to know.

Or you feel like someone in a position of power doesn’t like you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

It could be that you feel like people don’t trust you to do your job.

Do you still feel inspired to do your best work every day? 

Or maybe you’ve cried one too many times on your drive home over this job. 

Any of this sound familiar?

All of these feelings (and plenty of others) are uncomfortable, and they often compound over time.

Problems keep growing, not shrinking

The first time that uncomfortable thing happens, it feels bad, but you can quickly get over it.

The second time it happens, it makes you think about the first time again. You get over it again, but the frustration lingers a little longer.

The third time it happens, it makes you think about the previous two times. Now you have a list of times when you felt uncomfortable.

The fourth time something happens, it gets harder to bite your tongue and keep a professional attitude.

By the fifth time, you have a serious choice to make*.

The comfort of loving your job is gone. Going to work (or even thinking of going to work) is painful on an emotional level.

What are you going to do about it?

There’s only one way to stop it. It’s time to go.

People are shrinking, not growing

Another way to know that it’s time to leave a job is that you’re not being challenged to grow.

Are you a part of a “But we’ve always done it that way” culture?

Look around at your peers.

How many of them have been working at the same company for more than 10 years?

How many of them have had the same job title for more than 5 years?

How many of them are excited to jump in a create something new?

How many of them are showing signs of complacency?

Doing an average job over time makes you the most vulnerable.

If you work to collect your paycheck and go home, you are the most susceptible to getting blindsided because of your complacency. 

Companies are moving faster than ever before, and they’ve created systems to let you know if you’re at the top, in the middle, or at the bottom of the food chain.

If you’re somewhere in the middle, don’t get too comfortable.

There are people out there who are ready to do your job cheaper and faster.

The secret is that if you feel uncomfortable in your position, you should immediately see that as a red flag.

When the merge happens.

When the layoffs start.

When the reorg goes into effect.

It’s the ones who feel the most comfortable that always go first.

They are the ones that didn’t see it coming because they wrongfully thought, “They’ll never get rid of me.”

Save yourself from the blindside…get out there and find your next gig.

Is it time to leave your job?

Here’s how to know when you should stay in your current role.

If you’re not feeling more than one of these, then it’s probably time to make a change.

Stay in your job when you feel challenged.

When your working relationships are productive and trusting.

When the team operates in sync, and there is a good balance of constructive conflict and swift and fair resolution.

When you’re creating something that means something to you and the company.

When you’re encouraged to try new things.

When it’s ok to fail and then fix it.

When you believe in the mission.

When you’ve achieved a goal and were rewarded for it.

When you feel heard.

When your work aligns with the vision you have for your life.

When you feel valued.

When you feel like you’re making a contribution that matters.

When you’re being asked to solve a new problem.

When you have far more good days than bad.

When someone asks you how your day was, and the first thing you tell them is a win and not a gripe.

That’s when you know you’re in the right place. For now.

If it’s time for you to leave your job and you need help with the first step, let’s get started on your resume.

*I’m not suggesting that you should give an uncomfortable situation five chances to redeem itself. In all likelihood, things will never be the same after the first time something makes you think, “Hmm, that felt awful.” It’s just that we tend to give people and situations multiple chances, even when we know it’s time to move on.