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Is it time to change jobs? How to spot the warning signs

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Posted 4 months ago by Hays

‘It’s just a job’, is something we often say to ourselves after a bad day in the office. But is it? We spend so many of our waking hours at work that to settle for less than a job that is fulfilling, challenging and creatively and intellectually stimulating is to do yourself a disservice.

Recognising when it’s time to move on career-wise is tricky. Do you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Or frequently reading online articles like this about whether it’s time to get a new job? If you recognise any of the signs listed below, perhaps it’s time to start considering pastures new:

1. You’re clock watching

Sometimes, five minutes can sometimes seem like an hour. At other times you can look up from your desk after no time at all and see that it’s suddenly dark outside. For most people checking the time on a Friday afternoon is probably a pretty standard weekend countdown ritual, but if you find yourself clock watching at 2pm on a Tuesday it’s probably an indicator that you’re not interested in the assignment at hand.

It may be that you’re not being challenged enough, or that you simply don’t have enough to do. Perhaps the answer to making the day fly past is a simple one – find a job you really like.

2. You get the Sunday night blues

If you often feel a certain prickling apprehension creep in on Sunday evening, you wouldn’t be alone. The ‘Sunday blues’ is a common phenomenon – 48 hours of freedom are drawing to a close, and you’ve got a full week of work ahead.

These feelings in themselves are common, but if the thought of work the next day is having a really negative effect on your mental state and causing acute anxiety, perhaps you should be thinking twice about whether you’re in the right job. Life really is too short to dread Mondays.

3. The culture is toxic

There are a number of indicators of a toxic workplace culture. Employee morale is often a casualty of punishing hours, an unreasonable boss, impossible objectives and office politics. If any of those sound familiar to you, and you notice a serious lack of enthusiasm and positive interaction within your teams, it’s probably a sign that you should be looking elsewhere.   

Moments of conflict at work are not, by themselves, wholly unusual, but if continuing issues within the entire workplace are causing a really sustained and detrimental effect on your mental health, it’s definitely time to take action.

4. Your progression is neglected

Having no goal to focus on and nothing to achieve can really kill your enthusiasm for a job. If there’s no new skills to learn, no new responsibilities and no promotion on the horizon, why stay?

Deciding when to ‘cut and run’ is tricky – if you feel you’ve been honest with your boss about where you see yourself heading, done all you can to move your career forward at your current organisation, and know you’re worth more than what you’re currently being offered, it’s probably time to make a move.

5. You’ve lost passion for the work

Sometimes you can have the nicest boss, the most hard-working and collaborative team, the most rewarding workplace culture – and it still isn’t enough. It may be that the work itself isn’t challenging enough, that you don’t think your contribution is felt, or simply that you’ve just lost interest in the meaning and purpose of what you’re trying to achieve.

Whatever it is, if you find that you’ve really fallen out of love with what you do, then that’s a sure-fire sign that you should be moving on.

If you’re thinking about beginning your journey to your next role, search our newly added jobs, or alternatively, check out our latest career advice

About this author

Beginning life in 1968 with just a handful of employees, Hays how has over 7,800 recruiting specialists worldwide, including 1,800 in the UK. Our consultants are experts in their field, helping professionals advance their careers, and organisations find the right talent.