I'll never forget the day my father decided to “retire” at the young age of 56. He marked the occasion with this piece of advice: “When three out of five days a week you just don't want to go to work, it’s time to move on.”
My father had switched jobs a few times, but when he transitioned from 32 years as the manager of labor relations at Ford Motor Company (F, +2.61%) to his “retired” position as the president of the local city library board, I knew it was the right decision. He loved it. He was challenged to do work he had never done before and even became involved in city politics to pass the building of a new library, which was erected during his 14-year term. Watching him transition through his career and end up in his “dream job” through retirement taught me that changing jobs is not a negative, nor is it the end of your work life. It’s all part of the stepping stones in building your career.
Here are four signs it may be time for you to start looking for a new job:
You dread going to work three out of five days a week
Not everyone gets the “Sunday scaries” or dreads going to work every day, and you shouldn’t either. If you wake up most days with anxiety over what the day holds or find yourself checking out at work to avoid progressing on tough projects, it may be time to reevaluate your situation. Sit back and examine what might be making you feel this way. Have you lost pride in what you are doing? Are you in a toxic environment? Is your head in another place? Whatever the reason may be, it may be the reason to find a new job.
You're bored and have grown out of your position
We all need challenges at work, or else it would be considered play. When you can’t seem to grow with the job or move forward, it’s time to start looking for a new one. When you hit the highest-level position, can accomplish your duties with your eyes closed, or aren’t being taken up on your ideas to take work to the next level, it’s natural to start resenting your job, or even the company. If you’ve worked with your managers or peers to push the envelope and really don’t have a way to grow within your role, it’s not a suitable long-term situation. Challenge yourself, grow, blossom, and become who you were meant to be. Don't ever stay at a job solely out of convenience or comfort. Aim higher, even if that means pursuing another job that’s just one step closer to your ultimate goal. That’s more progress than sitting and stewing in your current spot.
You have no barrier between work and life
If you find yourself checking your emails in bed, mindlessly scrolling through your phone during family time, compromising your friendships and relationships, or missing out on big (or small) life moments, there may not be a fair balance. The right balance is different for every individual and industry, so take time to evaluate how your job may be disabling other aspects of your life. Consider if this imbalance is something you’re creating on your own to block out your misery, or if it’s a forced condition for survival at your company. Either situation is a sign something isn’t right.
Your performance is slipping, or you’ve been warned
My first business venture failed. We pushed and pushed to make it go, but looking back, I could have channeled that time and energy into the successful work I have today. There’s no shame in acknowledging that sometimes, it’s just not the right fit. It’s better to recognize when it’s time to leave than to burn out, or worse, have to stop on someone else’s terms.
Bottom line: You are the creator and the gauge of your own success. If you’re not there yet, keep going. The next stepping stone awaits.