Your interests and goals will change over time, but how do you know if you are ready for a new employer? Even if you have been in your current firm for some time and have built a good relationship with your colleagues, it does not mean that you do not want something else. During interviews with our applicants at Compusearch we see several signals that it is time to take action.
You are often stressed and tired
Do you find yourself dragging yourself to work in the morning? Are you sleeping less well than before, or are you more irritable or bad-tempered? These can all be symptoms of rising stress levels - some sort of physical early warning system that indicates that certain things are not quite as they should be. Stress can affect your mood and your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and a bad mood and hurting your performance. If you ignore these, even more serious health problems can develop. So when you start to feel like your body is trying to tell you something, it is worth pausing to reflect on this message.
You no longer believe in the company as you are used to
When you started in your current job, it seemed full of opportunities and you felt proud to identify yourself as an employee of the organization. But recently you noticed a change in the atmosphere in the office, and your confidence in the organization is no longer what it used to be. Perhaps the company has made some commercial or strategic decisions that are not right for you? Perhaps a change at management level has not been properly implemented in your opinion? Or maybe it is just that your own way of thinking has evolved and you are starting to feel that the company's values are not aligned with your own? A lack of shared values can be a powerful motivator. If this turns out to be the case for you, it might be time to look around for another company you can really believe in.
You often look at the clock
You used to wake up in the morning to what you could achieve in the next day. You would even take on extra projects and volunteer overtime to get extra work done. Now, however, you are counting down the hours until you can log out and go home. You are tempted to do just the minimum, instead of looking for opportunities to challenge yourself or go the extra mile. Everyone deserves to have a job that they are passionate about and that helps them make a difference. It may be that your job no longer challenges you, or that your current employer does not have an appropriate development path for you. Either way, it may be the time to move on to something new.
Your skills do not match your personal interests
Sometimes people are recruited for things they are really good at, but don't necessarily like to do. You may be highly skilled in software sales, but would prefer to work in marketing. Or are you good at making spreadsheets, but would rather meet with clients instead of sitting behind a computer screen all day. You may have noticed that you are currently focused on one domain, while you have always had a passion for another. While it's not always easy to get it done, it's normal for you to match your personal interests with your career - and the longer you delay doing that, the harder it is to change as you become more and more specialized in a domain that you feel is not really your thing.
You have outgrown your current position
Sometimes it can be difficult to accept that a job - no matter how much you like your organization and how well you treat your colleagues - is simply not substantial enough for you. But getting stuck in a position where you have grown out of a sense of loyalty or reluctance to change can become a demotivating experience in the long run. You have developed skills and experience over time and you are ready for new challenges. Sometimes an employer simply does not have the resources or a business case to enable you to grow adequately, and sometimes what your career needs is just a step that only a job switch can provide.
If some of the above apply to you, don't be afraid to start exploring your options. You ultimately owe that to yourself.