Career & Finance

Here’s How to Tell When You’ve Outgrown Your Current Job


You generally like what you do. But, if you’re being perfectly honest with yourself, you’re beginning to feel a little limited.

That job you adored so much when you were just getting started is starting to seem monotonous and mundane. Those tasks and duties that were interesting challenges in the beginning are now so routine and ingrained, you’re fairly confident you could do them in your sleep.

Of course, you don’t want to get on your high horse and proclaim that the work is beneath you. But, at the same time, you’re eager to constantly grow and learn in your career.

So, where’s the line here? How can you know if you’ve truly outgrown your current job or you’re just being impatient and unrealistic? Here are five telltale signs that you’re ready to move on from your existing gig.

1. You’re no longer engaged.

Work isn’t always going to be the first thing on your list that you want to do—it’s called a job for a reason, after all.

You deserve to at least have a certain level of interest and engagement in your job.

But, while your career doesn’t need to constantly make you leap with joy and charge into the office with unmatched enthusiasm, you deserve to at least have a certain level of interest and engagement in your job.

If you’re feeling completely detached from the work you’re doing and the impact it has on your company as a whole? This an indicator that you’re ready for something that will spark your creativity and excitement again.

2. Every day is the same.

Becoming routine and competent in your job can be a good thing—feeling like you’ve mastered your position is what leads to confidence in the workplace.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you never want to feel challenged. Your career should be a learning experience!

And, if your current job has become so monotonous and predictable that you can’t even remember what it’s like to not have the answer to any sort of problem or predicament, you’ve probably gotten a little too comfortable where you are.

3. Your conscience (and other people) tell you so.

Perhaps that little nagging voice in your head says, “What are you still doing here and why are you still doing this?” each and every time you complete a task. Or, maybe your co-workers or even your very own boss has said on numerous occasions, “We’re so lucky you choose to stick around here!”

Your own conscience and even the other people around you are constantly acknowledging the fact that you’re too good for where you are—and that you could likely go anywhere else you wanted.

You already know that people can be brutally honest. So, if you’re constantly hearing praise or whispers that you deserve better, it’s likely time you weigh your options. After all, maybe those colleagues of yours aren’t just out to flatter you—maybe they actually have a point.

4. You feel under-utilized.

You landed an entry-level job at a great company right of college. You love your employer, your co-workers—really, you adore everything about where you work.

The only problem? That entry-level job was a great way to get your foot in the door three years ago, but it’s starting to feel restrictive now. That assistant role filled with all sorts of odd jobs and loose ends was a dream come true when you were just getting started. But, now that you have a few years under your belt, you’d love if your graphic design talents (and your degree, for that matter) were put to good use.

Everyone wants to find a job that allows them to use their expertise to the fullest extent possible.

Everyone wants to find a job that allows them to use their expertise to the fullest extent possible. So, if your current position is missing the mark in that regard, get out there and see if there’s a different company (or even a role within your current company) where you could make better use of your skills.

5. It no longer fits in with your goals.

Here’s the thing about careers: They’re flexible. Our goals are constantly changing. Even though people ask you when you’re little what you want to be when you grow up, you’re never held to that answer. You’re allowed to adjust your course based on new information and new experiences!

So, maybe you gave this current gig a try for a while. But now it no longer fits in with what you ultimately see yourself doing.

That’s fine! And you’re perfectly entitled to find something else that does. Remember, your career isn’t set in stone. If your existing position doesn’t support your long-term career goals anymore, it’s time you find something that does.

So, what next?

You’ve determined you’ve definitely outgrown your current job, and you’re left with one big question: What happens now? When you no longer want to feel stuck in your existing gig, what should your next steps be?

Of course, your first inclination might be to pack up your workspace and move on to greener pastures. But, that’s not always a realistic option—particularly if you don’t have a new role lined up for yourself yet.

So, one great alternative is to have an open and honest conversation with your supervisor about the fact that you’re feeling a little unchallenged. You might be surprised at the new projects and duties your boss allows you to take on. Employers are typically willing to do what they can to keep talented people on their team.

You can also explore opportunities outside of the office that allow you to feel challenged and fulfilled, such as volunteer groups, freelance gigs, or lending your skills as a board member for an organization. No, it won’t address the issues you’re facing in your position. But, it’ll allow you to stretch your creative muscles (and gather some great resume boosters!) while you prepare to find a new job that will fit the bill.

Moving on from a job is never easy. And, determining whether you should pack up and hit the road because you’ve outgrown your current role can make things that much tougher.

So, keep your eyes open for these five telltale signs that you’ve outgrown your job, and you’ll be able to take yoru next steps with confidence.

Have you left a job that you had outgrown? How did you know it was time to leave?