Sometimes, it’s obvious when to change jobs. Other times, not so much. There are several signs to look for when you feel like it’s time to move on. You don’t want to make a hasty decision, but neither do you want to stay in a job that doesn’t meet your needs. This takes some thought. After all, how do you know if it's time to change jobs?

Here are seven tell-tale signs that maybe it’s time to move on. These indicators are listed in order of obviousness. The more obvious the need to leave, the higher up on the list it appears. See how these signs apply to your situation.

Toxic Work Environment

A toxic work environment can severely impact your mental and emotional well-being. Nobody can survive long in such an atmosphere.

Look for these signs of a toxic workplace:

  • Divisive Office Politics: Constantly navigating through cliques, favoritism, and backstabbing can create a hostile atmosphere.
  • Unprofessional Behavior: Regular exposure to unprofessional conduct, such as rude comments, inappropriate jokes, or unethical practices, undermines a healthy work environment.
  • Lack of Respect: If your co-workers or supervisors consistently fail to show you respect, whether through dismissive attitudes, condescending remarks, or ignoring your contributions, it’s a significant red flag.
  • Bullying or Harassment: Experiencing or witnessing bullying, harassment, or discrimination is a clear sign of a toxic workplace. This includes verbal abuse, intimidation, or any form of discriminatory behavior based on race, gender, age, or other personal attributes.
  • High Turnover Rates: When colleagues are frequently changing jobs due to low morale, poor management, or lack of job satisfaction, it’s a sign that the work environment is detrimental.
  • Micromanagement: Excessive control and lack of trust from supervisors can stifle creativity, reduce autonomy, and increase stress.

If you’re often subject to these conditions—or worse—it’s pretty obvious you should leave your current job to find a new position in a better workplace. 

Constantly Thinking About Quitting

Are you browsing job boards on company time? Daydreaming in your job is one thing, but if you constantly think of resigning, that’s a sign that maybe your job isn’t as fulfilling as it could be. Persistent dissatisfaction shouldn’t be ignored and should be a reason to consider switching jobs or start exploring other positions within your company. Try to understand exactly why you want to quit before making a move - are you in need of a new challenge? Do you no longer feel valued? Once you know what you're looking for, you'll be more likely to feel enthusiastic in your new job for longer.

Poor Work-Life Balance

Everyone gets tired at work, but chronic stress and fatigue are red flags. If your job consistently causes overwhelming stress and physical or mental exhaustion, it's time to take a closer look. Here are some signs that your work-life balance is off:

  • Constantly Working Overtime: If you find yourself working late nights and weekends regularly, it's a sign your workload might be too much to handle within normal working hours.
  • Lack of Personal Time: When your job starts infringing on personal time, making it difficult to pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones, or simply relax, it's a clear indication of imbalance.
  • Health Issues: Persistent stress can lead to various health problems, including headaches, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders. Noticeable declines in your physical or mental health should not be ignored.
  • Burnout: Experiencing feelings of extreme fatigue, detachment from your job, and a reduced sense of accomplishment are key indicators of burnout.

Misalignment with Company Values

When you first applied for the job, you probably had expectations of the company’s values, mission, and culture. However, over time, you may find that things are not how they initially appeared. A mismatch can become obvious after you’ve been there a while. Personal ethics are involved here. Are your core values at odds with the company culture?

What about your career goals? Do they no longer align with the direction of your position? This can lead to a lack of motivation and engagement. Working for a company whose values resonate with yours is vital for job satisfaction. Take your lowered motivation as an essential sign that change is needed.

Lack of Growth

Determining whether you are growing in your job takes time. It may be that you haven’t taken advantage of all your company’s offerings. Still, continuous growth is crucial for long-term career success. If you feel that you have reached a plateau in your professional development and there are currently no opportunities for advancement or learning new skills, it might be time to consider a change. 

Here are some signs that you might have reached a plateau in your professional development:

  • Stagnant Skill Development: If you’re not learning new skills or expanding your knowledge, it’s a clear sign that your growth has stalled.
  • Lack of Challenges: When your daily tasks become routine and no longer challenge you, it indicates that you’re not being pushed to develop further.
  • No Advancement Opportunities: If there are no clear paths for career advancement or promotion within your current company, it may be time to look elsewhere.
  • Unchanging Job Responsibilities: If your job responsibilities have remained the same for a long time without any increase in scope or complexity, it suggests a lack of growth opportunities.
  • Feeling Unfulfilled: A persistent sense of dissatisfaction or lack of motivation can be a sign that you’re not growing professionally.

Sometimes a new job can solve your need for career growth, but other times changing careers entirely could be the answer. Feel like you've hit a plateau? No longer enjoying the work you once did? Consider a brand new path in life.

Instability in the Workplace

Experiencing instability in the workplace is a clear sign that it might be time to consider a job change. Frequent restructuring, sudden layoffs, or constant shifts in company direction can create an environment of uncertainty and insecurity. This lack of stability not only affects your job security but also impacts your ability to plan for the future. Having a stable job is an important part of life for most people, so when you're constantly worried about the stability of your employment, it becomes difficult to focus and maintain a high level of productivity.

Underutilization of Skills

Are your talents and abilities not being fully utilized? A subtle sense of underutilization can grow, making you bored and disengaged from your work. This indicates that your role is not a good fit for your skills.  Another job may be better. 

Here are some signs that you might be experiencing underutilization of your skills:

  • Monotonous Tasks: If your daily tasks are repetitive and do not challenge you, it’s a sign that your role is not leveraging your full potential.
  • Lack of Responsibility: When you’re not given meaningful responsibilities or projects, it can feel like your contributions are undervalued.
  • Absence of Skill Development: If you’re not learning new skills or growing professionally, it suggests that your job does not offer opportunities for development.
  • Feeling Undervalued: When your ideas and suggestions are consistently overlooked, it’s easy to feel that your expertise is not appreciated.
  • Boredom and Disengagement: Persistent feelings of boredom and lack of engagement are strong indicators that your skills are being underutilized.

Feeling Undervalued and Unappreciated

Feeling undervalued and unappreciated at work can be a significant indicator that it’s time to consider a job change. Recognizing this feeling often begins with noticing that your hard work and accomplishments are consistently ignored or taken for granted. When your efforts go unnoticed or unrewarded, it can lead to a sense of invisibility and frustration.

Inadequate compensation for your contributions, especially when compared to peers in similar roles, can further compound these feelings of undervaluation. It's not just about salary; it also involves the absence of positive reinforcement or constructive feedback from supervisors. If your input and expertise are frequently overlooked or excluded from key projects and decision-making processes, it becomes clear that your current role is not appreciated.

Better Opportunities Elsewhere

Finding better opportunities outside your workplace takes initiative and effort. It won’t be evident that you should leave for greener pastures unless you do your research. Better jobs can offer career advancement, increased compensation, or improved job satisfaction. 

It pays to keep an eye on potential job opportunities, even if you plan to stay in the same position for a while longer. Here’s why:

  • Market Awareness: Understanding the job market helps you stay informed about industry trends, salary benchmarks, and the types of roles in demand.
  • Networking Opportunities: Engaging with professionals in your industry can open doors to opportunities that you might not have otherwise encountered.
  • Backup Plan: Having knowledge of available opportunities provides a safety net in case your current job situation changes unexpectedly.

You need to make sure you are in the best possible role for your career goals. If you find a better match, you must consider your decision carefully. But under the right conditions, this can be a smart strategic move.

Looking Forward

One excellent way to keep tabs on future job opportunities is to apply for other jobs to see if you’re in demand. This proactive approach not only gives you a sense of your market value but also keeps you informed about what skills and qualifications are sought after in your industry. If an offer is made, you can change jobs or even use this as leverage with your current employer, especially if more money is on the table.

Being prepared for a job change means being proactive in exploring opportunities and understanding your worth in the job market. When the time comes to make a decision, whether to stay or move on, you will be ready and equipped with the necessary information and options to make the best choice for your career growth and satisfaction.