7 signs it's time to change jobs

Any job can have its highs and lows. But how do you tell the difference between a few downsides, and something deeper – something that means it’s time to make a change?

Kristine Tuazon, Director at Good People HR, shares the signs that could mean it’s time to think about moving on from your current job, and the steps you can take to move toward change for the better.

  1. You dread going to work
    It can be easy to relate to an ‘I hate Mondays’ meme, even if you like your job. But this is more than that. If you spend Sundays dreading the week ahead rather than relaxing, or feel dread before every shift, it could be time to look at why – and what you can change.

    Tip: Try putting aside an hour or two each week – it could be a Sunday afternoon – to search for the right job for you. This time could be just to explore and read up on roles that interest you, or you could set yourself a goal of applying for one new job each fortnight. While you’re at it, you could update your SEEK Profile so employers can reach out with opportunities.

    Read: How to stay on top of your job search
  2. You envy other people’s success
    Some periods in our working lives are less satisfying than others. But do you see someone earning a living doing what they love and think, ‘Why should they have that, when I don’t?’ It could be a sign that you’re really seeking something more fulfilling.

    Tip: See if you can use other people’s success as motivation. When you see someone doing what they love for work, try to learn from them – ask them how they got to be where they are and try to take on some of the strategies that worked for them. You could also try reading up on the careers of people you admire in your industry to find out actions or approaches you could adopt.

    Read: What matters to you more than money?
  3. You’ve stopped thinking big
    It’s easy for goals or aspirations to take a back seat when you’re busy with work each week. But if you’ve completely lost sight of what you want from work or career goals you had, it could be worth checking in with these things to see if it’s worth making change.

    Tip: Set aside an hour or two to evaluate where you’re at and think about what you really want from work. Are there any goals you lost track of that you can revisit? Or, you could try taking a little leap toward something you’ve always wanted to do – it might mean targeting a company you’d love to work for and reaching out. Explain why you’d love to work there and ask about potential roles or what they look for in employees – and use any information you get to come up with a plan.

    Read: Step-by-step guide to following your passion
  4. You’re never challenged
    If you’ve been with a company for a long time, you could find yourself doing the same tasks over and over. You might be seen to have a certain skill set, and not really get a chance to go beyond it. It’s great to be recognised for what you’re good at but if you’re being pigeonholed or pushed into a rut, it can limit your ability to make progress.

    Tip: If you miss feeling challenged, you could try speaking with your manager or boss to find out if there are opportunities to add new projects to your workload, change up your tasks or spend some time working in other parts of the business. If that’s not possible, you might want to start looking for that challenge elsewhere.

    Read: Ask Sabina: Help! I'm stuck in a career rut
  5. You have no work-life balance
    Does it feel like you spend every waking minute working, or thinking about work? Do you no longer have time to catch up with friends or do the things you enjoy? Balance can be a tricky concept to achieve sometimes. But it’s important that you’re able to switch off, spend time with friends or family, or just enjoy being who you are outside of work.

    Tip: See if you can make some tweaks to your working week for better wellbeing – it might involve looking at your breaks, sleep, exercise, or activities you enjoy. Or you might try setting boundaries, like not reading or responding to emails after 6pm. If you can’t make any adjustments and work still feels all-consuming, it could be time to think about looking for a new job.

    Read: Are you ticking the work-life balance box?
  6. You don’t feel listened to or appreciated
    Do you feel like your work is taken for granted? Do people speak over you? This can be frustrating and leave you feeling disheartened. If you work hard and are committed to your role, you should be treated well and feel like your input is valued.

    Tip: Try some different ways to get yourself seen and heard – if voicing your ideas in meetings isn’t your thing, perhaps there’s another way to communicate. It could also be worth sitting down with your manager or boss to let them know you feel your work isn’t being appreciated or that you have ideas you’d like them to see. If you can’t do this, or it doesn’t help, it could be worth looking for a new role where you’ll feel valued and listened to.

    Read: 5 signs you’re in a dead-end job
  7. You’re reading this article
    Perhaps you’re just curious, but if you’ve found your way here, that could be a sign in itself that you’re looking for reasons to make a change.

    Tip: Sometimes work has downsides, but if these signs are really ringing true for you, it could be worth exploring other options. Taking a leap toward something new can feel overwhelming, but breaking down options, possibilities, and small steps to get there can help you make your next move.

If you feel like it’s time to move on, a good place to start is here and now. Take stock of your current position, talk to your network, and try to figure out just what you want for your next role. This will help guide your next steps and move you closer to change.

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