Should I Stay or Should I Go? Deciding if it’s the Right Time to Job Search

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Was it just a bad week at work? Or is it time to look for other opportunities?

Deciphering if it’s the right time to job search can be extremely challenging. Especially when our emotions and motivation get involved. Just because you had a tough couple of days or the company is going through an odd season doesn’t mean you should pack your bags. But it might be a good time to evaluate where you stand in your career.

So if you’ve been getting the itch to job search but you aren’t sure if you should, here are some reasons to possibly leave a job that might help you decide if you should stay or if you should go:

The Job Isn’t What You Expected

Companies and positions change over time as they adapt to the world around them and respond to staffing adjustments company-wide. Especially if you’ve been in the same role for a long time, that might mean the job you were hired for isn’t the job you’re actually doing anymore. And that adapted version of your position may not be what you expected, what you signed up for, or what you want to be doing.

If you’re new to your role and the job you’re doing doesn’t align with the responsibilities on the job posting that you applied for, that could also be a reason to make a quick exit from the company.

You Wouldn’t Recommend Your Job to Your Best Friend

Sometimes we look out for our friends a little more than ourselves. If the same position at your company came up and your friend wanted to apply, what would you say? If the answer would be “absolutely not” or even “I’m not sure,” that might be an indication that the job isn’t a very positive experience.

You’re Underpaid or Undervalued

If your job isn’t supporting your financial and personal needs, it might be time to consider other options. An appropriate compensation, reasonable time off, and consistent recognition are just a few things that can greatly impact your motivation to produce quality work and stick with a job. When those things are missing, find a company that understands the value of your talents and strengths.

Your Work Feels Meaningless

While not every job will fulfill a deeper life passion, if your work feels immensely meaningless, negative, unethical, or simply boring, it might not be the best fit for you. And that might change over time. What you found fulfilling five years ago might feel draining and pointless now. As much as possible, move toward work and opportunities that give you a sense of purpose.

The Work Environment is Toxic

A toxic work environment is a major red flag when you’re deciding if you should or shouldn’t job search. Even if you love the work you do, if the environment is causing you any type of harm or emotional distress, it may not be wise to stay in that role. Maybe your supervisor treats people unfairly and a different position within the same company will do the trick. Or maybe the bullying, gossip, or turnover has taken over the entire organization and it’s best to get away entirely.

You Dread Going to Work

Motivation is everything at work. It drives you to get your work done, pushes you to challenge yourself, and inspires you to improve processes. So if you dread getting out of bed, your daily commute, or just being at work every single day, the motivation might not be present to keep you going in your current role.

You Feel Overwhelmed

Work-life balance should not be overlooked. Too often workloads increase while staff decreases, leaving employees overwhelmed and unhappy. When your work becomes too much to handle during the workday or even while you’re at home, it may be time to turn your energy and focus on job searching.

The Industry or Company is Dying

Do you know if the industry you’re in is growing or dying? That’s an important fact to keep up with as technology advances and the world constantly changes. If the field you’re in is dying, it might be a good idea to leave before larger problems arise.

You’ve Seen Better Opportunities

Have you seen someone on LinkedIn doing something that really piqued your interest? Maybe there was a job ad on Facebook that caught your eye? Or did a friend just start a new job that seems awesome? Go after those jobs! When you catch yourself dreaming about the possibility of sometime better or bigger, listen to your gut and go find it.

This Job Isn’t Your Long-Term Plan

Whether your current job doesn’t have growth opportunities or isn’t allowing you to leverage the skills you’d like to be using, now could be the right time to pursue your long-term plan. Many people accept positions with the idea that they won’t be there long but then end up staying for quite a while. If you know your job isn’t your long-term plan, find a position that is!

So if any of the ideas and situations above resonated with you, that might answer your question of whether you should stay at your job or start searching. Either way, give yourself space to reflect on where are with your career over time to make sure you’re making the progress and impacts you want to be making.

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