Knowing when it’s the right time to move on has been a bit of a struggle for me. Jobs, relationships, ventures, all-you-can-eat buffets – I don’t give up easily.
Once I’ve invested time and energy, moving on from something I cared about is a hard concept. But overlooking red flags in hopes that the situation will get better is detrimental to your self-growth. And honestly, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Been there, felt that.
The certainty to move on from a job that no longer serves you is hard to see when you’re caught up in the middle of it. This is even more so true early on in your career when you can’t compare the experience to many others. But the signs will always be there, it just takes some courage to read them.
I learned the power of letting go the hard way, and have stayed far too long in roles that weren’t meant to take me anywhere. Below, I share a few signs to read when it’s time to break up with your job and move on to something better.
You’re no longer learning
I mean, duh. I can’t articulate enough how important this is! If you’re not constantly learning something new you might as well sign yourself up for early retirement and get your spot at a senior home.
If you’ve gone too long without saying “I need to know how to do that,” or “this is a project I’ve never tackled before,” it’s a sign you’re not in the right place anymore. Don’t stay in a position that has become mundane and stagnant. Let go and learn on.
New projects or responsibilities don’t excite you
You should be excited every damn day about what lies ahead. As new projects and responsibilities arise, you need to be ready and happy to do the work.
For reference, I received an opportunity to completely own one of the better accounts at my previous agency, but I wasn’t even excited about it. I was drained and only saw the opportunity as more work and late nights. It didn’t inspire me, as seemingly great as the responsibility was.
Showing up late has become a habit
Have you noticed yourself showing up later and later each day? So much so that it has become a habit? Girl, same.
I realized one day as I was running late to work (yet again) just how unmotivated I was to reach my destination. I also had a complete disregard for the consequences of being late and how that would make me look. For me, showing up early is a sign of pride in what you’re doing. I had stopped trying to impress my co-workers with my punctuality and that was a big red flag that I needed to find a place that made me want to show up early.
The role you desire isn’t there
Sometimes, the job description you came in with isn’t the one you find yourself in anymore. We can get molded into a role that’s not exactly what we asked for, especially when we’re starting out. But you need to ask yourself, is this what I actually want to do or is this what I’ve been told to do? I recognized that the role I was in wasn’t what I had set out to do. It didn’t play to my strengths, I was merely forced into a position that needed to be filled.
I would encourage a discussion with your manager to say, “I’ve been working a lot on X but my real passion is Y. Is there a role where I can take on more Y or do we foresee one opening up in the immediate future?”
If the answer is maybe, that’s not good enough. If the answer is no, then there’s your sign.
You’re not scared
If you aren’t doing things or faced with opportunities that scare the shat out of you, then well, you’re too comfortable. Staying safe and comfortable is great for peace of mind but not so great when it comes to self-growth. In our 20s, we need to be taking risks and jumping into situations that create fear because the reward is worth so much.
Does the thought of your company shutting down tomorrow and your position no longer being there terrify you? If not and you wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep over your company ceasing to exist, then all signs point to the door. We should respect and love our jobs enough that we’re scared to lose them.
You wouldn’t recommend your job to family or a friend
If a close family member or friend was curious about a position, would you truly recommend they apply or would you advise them to look elsewhere? If your immediate answer isn’t yes, then you should do some self-evaluation as to why. Is it the culture? The workload? Management? Not recommending your job to anyone and everyone with enthusiasm tells you a lot about how you view your company.
Like a lot of things in life, jobs aren’t forever. They are here to help us reach a certain potential and prepare us for whatever is next. We shouldn’t ignore the signs when it’s time to put ourselves first and move on to bigger and better things. Break up with what no longer serves you. The future awaits!
Have you ever received a sign that was just so clear you needed to move on? When did you know it was time for a career change? Comment below!