In life, the only constant is change – and that certainly applies to our career paths. Unexpected and even planned events, as well as things we learn along the way, can all influence our careers. Here are 20 signs that it may be time to quit your job, change careers, or take a break.
After graduation, it’s often not a bad idea to accept an entry-level position in a company, even if you have the knowledge for a job with more responsibilities. However, if you find yourself in this situation for too long, it might be a good idea to seek a different job so that your degree does not lose its value. “On the other hand, make sure to check internally for another position that suits you,” says Claire Savoie, CHRP, Career Management Consultant.
No opportunity for growth
Even if you succeed in getting a job that matches your skills, that job should also provide opportunities for advancement. Obviously, you can’t expect to move up after only six months, but if no opportunities for growth emerge in the medium to long term, it might be time to question that job.
Better opportunities elsewhere
Sticking with the topic of career progression, if a job offer comes along that provides an opportunity for advancement and includes most of the features for which you are looking, it may be time to consider leaving your current position. Of course, before making a big decision like this you’ll need to think carefully about whether it’s really a good idea to leave a job you love, even if advancement is slower. Note that 57% of Canadians surveyed gave this as a reason for changing jobs.
Change in management
When a company is bought by a larger competitor, internal restructuring often takes place to eliminate duplicate roles. If you notice that your position is in danger, applying elsewhere may be a good idea.
Similarly, if it looks as though your employer may be going out of business and even if bankruptcy isn’t necessarily on the horizon, it may well be wise to take steps to find another job. Be aware that the Government of Canada’s Wage Earner Protection Program ensures that compensation will be paid in the event of bankruptcy, but not in the event of a simple closure.
While there may be nothing toxic about your work environment, if the tasks you perform go against your ethics, quitting may be a good idea. Some professions are governed by codes of ethics, and failure to respect these codes may result in suspension or even prosecution. Moreover, any employer who demands that their employees carry out unethical work is liable for prosecution, as is the employee.
Money should not be the only criterion to consider when thinking about your job. However, it is an important aspect “that you should take the time to discuss with your boss, while making sure you know the current market,” says Ms. Savoie. If, despite your efforts, nothing changes after a salary review, there’s no harm in looking elsewhere to find a more lucrative position.
Poor work-life balance
It’s totally normal to experience periods when your work is more demanding and takes up more of your time. However, if your work-life balance has been suffering for some time, if your work pace shows no signs of slowing, and your employer is not open to offering you more flexibility, a change of job in the near future might be a good idea.
No respect for your personal time
Similarly, if your employer tends to encroach on your breaks, needs tasks completed within a time frame that forces you to work on weekends, or expects you to work outside of your normal hours, you’ve got a real problem. If nothing changes after discussing it with your boss, you should seriously consider seeking employment elsewhere.
Your skills no longer match your position
An employer has the right to change the tasks employees are asked to carry out, as long as it does not alter the fundamental nature of their work. However, a change to your position may mean it no longer aligns with your skill set. “If you feel there is always a disconnect between what is expected of your role and your skills, you will end up feeling like a failure or burned out,” says Julie Carignan, CHRP, Organizational Psychologist and Associate, Leader and Team Development at Humance. In this situation, it would be in your best interest to find another job that suits you better.
Unsuitable work environment
We all have bills to pay, meaning most of us have to work. However, if your response when asked about your job is mostly negative or, worse still, you would strongly advise a friend against accepting a position at your company, it’s time to consider a change of job.
You need time out
Following an accident, a traumatic event, or other significant incident and despite your best efforts, you may find it very challenging, if not impossible, to go back to work. There is no shame in taking time out.
Disagreement with your boss
A challenging situation with your boss is not necessarily a reason to resign. Differences of opinion can occur without things getting out of hand. However, if it is really affecting you, “make sure there has been an attempt to discuss and resolve the situation, or at least mitigate the effects, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with disrespect,” says Ms. Savoie. “It’s important to address a situation like this, if for no other reason than to avoid potentially replicating it – if you’re partially to blame – in your new job.”
Managers can sometimes be unapproachable, lack leadership skills, or on the flip side, have a tendency to micromanage their employees. Whatever the case, if this behaviour continues once you’ve clearly and respectfully articulated the issue to your boss, it may be time to leave. This scenario is much more common than you might think. According to a Robert Half survey, two out of five workers in Canada have quit because of a bad boss.
Cliques have formed in your office. Internal micro battles are occurring on a regular basis, sabotaging the collective effort and making the workplace climate nothing less than toxic. “If you are in a toxic environment and your organization is not doing anything about it, then maybe it is indeed appropriate to look elsewhere,” says Carignan.
While certain projects or intense periods at work can cause anxiety and stress, these should not generally be sustained over a long period. If you feel anxious every time you have to go to work, it’s worth considering a change of job.
Lack of enthusiasm
We’re not all lucky enough to earn a living from our passion, but your job should at least arouse a bit of enthusiasm and interest. “When you start to get bored in your job, when you feel like you’ve seen it all before, or if you rarely feel challenged, it may be time to change jobs,” says Carignan.
Not enough work
You’ve been at work for two hours and already completed all of your tasks. Now you’re just watching the clock until home time. This has been your daily routine for several weeks now, if not months. If boredom has been plaguing your workdays for a long time, and you’ve already discussed this with your manager to no avail, a change of scene may be in order.
Longing for new horizons
It’s totally normal to occasionally imagine what it would be like to live elsewhere, but if that desire to travel and work in another country is something you really want to act on one day, perhaps now is the time to think about making this dream come true.
No longer in step with your company’s values or direction
This can happen following a change in management, new ownership, restructuring, or other development. No longer sharing the same values as your superiors or boss can sometimes be a problem, depending on how tolerant you are! “It always depends on how much it affects us. I always prefer to talk about it to see if we can’t find common ground between the two parties,” advises Ms. Savoie. If you’re finding the situation too much to bear, however, resigning may be the only way to be happy.