The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How do you know it’s the right time to switch jobs? is written by Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of Hired.
According to a recent Gallup poll, about 70% of people aren’t engaged at work. Most will stay at their current jobs because the idea of looking for something new is too daunting. And yet, there are few things as important as finding a fulfilling job, given that we spend the majority of our waking hours at the office. Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to start looking:
The business is stagnant
We all want to feel like we’re part of a winning team, and while you shouldn’t just run at the first bump in the road, consistent warning signs like layoffs, flat revenue growth or a sinking stock price shouldn’t be ignored. If you work for an organization that isn’t terribly transparent when it comes to numbers, try to have a conversation with your manager or someone in a senior role to get a sense for how the business is doing. If your request is declined or you continue to see troubling signs, it might be time to move on. A good rule of thumb to follow: If you wouldn’t invest money in the company where you work, you probably shouldn’t invest your time.
Your career path is unclear
Having a clearly defined career path and an understanding of how you’re contributing to your departmental or company-wide goals are key components of workplace satisfaction. If you’re not getting performance reviews or regular feedback from your manager, that’s typically a bad sign. Another useful barometer is what has happened to other individuals who have had your title: Are they still with the company? Have they been promoted? If everyone at your level has left, been forced out or has had the same responsibilities for a significant period of time, it could be a warning sign. At smaller companies where there isn’t a historical precedent, I’d advise having a frank conversation with your manager to determine exactly what the path forward looks like for you, assuming you’re a high-performing employee. If you can’t get a straight answer or the timeline for promotion keeps changing, it might be time to leave.
Lack of resources and support
Good companies know that they should invest in their employees by providing resources, support and compensation to make them feel valued and foster growth. To that end, it’s worth asking yourself if you feel challenged by your role, whether you’re continuing to learn new skills, and if you’re receiving mentorship from more seasoned individuals within your organization. Another good gauge is compensation. If you haven’t gotten promoted or received a raise in a year or two, it’s worth taking a look at sites like PayScale, LiveCareer or Salary.com to see how your salary compares to the rest of the market. Many professional organizations also publish detailed annual salary guides for specific job verticals.
If your company doesn’t check off any of these boxes, it could indicate that it’s more about your career path than where you work. I encourage people in this position to see what options are available for transitioning into a new role within their current organization. At the end of the day, the choice of where to work is usually second only to the choice of spouse in terms of impact on our lives. Asking yourself hard questions about your happiness level today will pay dividends in the future.
Real all responses to the Leadership Insider question: How do you know it’s the right time to switch jobs?
Here’s how to tell if your job is at risk by Chris Perry, chief digital officer at Weber Shandwick.
What a failed negotiation could mean for your career by Shadan Deleveaux, co-founder of Technology For Families in Need.
Why a low paycheck isn’t enough to leave a job by Mike Guerchon, chief people officer at Okta.
This is how long you should wait before quitting a job by Edward Fleischman, chairman and CEO of The Execu|Search Group.
3 signs it’s time to switch jobs by Karen Appleton, SVP of industry at Box.