New year, new… job? We know, that’s not quite the cliché “new year, new you” slogan you’re used to seeing this time of year, but it still has some merit. The start of a brand new year can be thrilling. That turning of the calendar represents a fresh start—a chance to say goodbye to your baggage and bad habits and tackle the coming year with a renewed perspective. It only makes sense that that same desire for new beginnings would trickle into your career, right?
Here’s the thing: A new digit in the calendar year shouldn’t be the deciding factor when it comes to major career decisions. So how can you know if this is the year you should make a switch from your current job? Here are five signs it’s time for a new job:
1. Your career development is stagnant
There’s no polite way to put it: You’re totally bored at work. You feel like it’s been ages since you’ve been challenged, spearheaded a complex project, or tackled an unfamiliar skill. While there’s a lot to be said for feeling like an expert in your current role, you don’t want that comfort level to sabotage your professional growth and development. If you feel like you’re just going through the motions on autopilot every single day, you might be ready for a new challenge.
There’s one important caveat to mention, though: You don’t want to prematurely jump ship before you’ve had a transparent conversation with your boss. There might be new responsibilities you can take on with your current employer that will reignite your passion and enthusiasm for your work. Don’t skip out on those honest discussions. They’re nerve-racking but important.
If you’ve already approached your manager but still nothing has changed, well, then that’s a definite sign that it’s time to pack up and head for greener pastures.
2. You have concerns about the direction your company is heading
Maybe your employer has gone through a recent acquisition. Perhaps there have been major changes to your remote work policies or your paid time off. Maybe you’re now working under entirely new leadership. Regardless of the specifics, the name of the game at work has changed—and you aren’t entirely confident that you’re on board anymore.
There’s a lot to be said for trusting your intuition, and more often than not, it’s not all that hard to tell where your organization is heading when these types of changes come up. Loyalty only goes so far, and there’s no rule (well, other than any contract you might have signed, of course) that says you need to stay there at all costs. If you’re uneasy about the future of your employer, consider that a red flag that you might want to move on.
3. You dread going into work
Life’s way too short to hate your job (although far too many of us do). There’s nothing worse than dealing with a tragic case of the “Sunday scaries” or wanting to burst into tears when your alarm goes off each morning. It’s tempting to write those things off as normal career woes—but make no mistake, they aren’t normal.
While you probably won’t ever cartwheel out of bed in the morning (hey, working is harder than relaxing, and that’s why it comes with a paycheck!), getting yourself to the office shouldn’t feel like a feat of superhuman perseverance. If it does? Do yourself a favor and find something that doesn’t take such a toll on your emotional well-being.
4. You’re getting approached about new opportunities
If you’re thinking about looking for a new job, here’s a concern that’s bound to cross your mind: You might not find one. Your existing position offers at least some security and predictability, and it’s scary to think about heading out into the great unknown of the job search landscape.
The good news is that, as the Society for Human Resource Management confirms, we’re still in a candidate-driven market, where companies are competing to recruit the talent they need. Take comfort in the fact that you’re in a good position to find a new gig. And if you’re already getting approached by recruiters, hiring managers, and headhunters on a frequent basis? You can take that as a solid sign that you have skills that are in demand—and it might even mean you’re overqualified for the job you have now.
If you’re in the fortunate position of having an inbox that’s no stranger to requests for informational interviews, maybe this new year is the time to give some serious consideration to those opportunities.
5. You’re just ready for a change of pace
It’s tempting to feel like you need to justify every single decision you make in your career—and in most cases, it’s essential to use logic and reason to your advantage. But take this reminder to heart: You don’t always need a reason. Sometimes, you can’t really explain why you’re itching for a fresh start or a new challenge, and that’s perfectly OK too.
After all, most people don’t stay in the same job forever. As long as you aren’t making a totally uninformed jump (more on that in a minute), it’s more than justifiable to change jobs just because you have a gut feeling that it’s the right move for you.
Are you ready for a new job in the new year?
Did you recognize yourself in one of (or even a few of) the above signs? If so, this might be your year to take on a new career challenge. Of course, don’t let this list be the only consideration you give to a potential job change. Before moving on, make sure that you:
- Do plenty of research to make the right move for you.
- Sleep on it—your career isn’t a place to make hasty decisions!
- Take the necessary steps to make the most of your current job, whether it’s speaking with your boss, tossing your hat into the ring for promotions, or putting yourself out there for new projects.
But if you feel confident that a brand new gig is what you need to make this your best year yet? Well, go get ‘em. We’re rooting for you!