When is it the Right Time to Change Jobs?

We’ve all been there where we wish we had a better job.  It could be because of co-workers, stress or no room to grow.  When we get to this point we ask ourselves, “When is it the Right Time to Change Jobs?”.  There are times that stress you out where you just want to get up and quit.  It could be anything from co-workers playing games and bossing you around to not being appreciated by your boss or seeing room for growth within the company.  The reality is that even if you want to change jobs, these issues may only be temporary troubles.  If they aren’t temporary then it may be time to change jobs.  Here are some of the things I have thought about and evaluated whenever I had been thinking about changing jobs.

Is this a temporary issue or one that will last and grow?

Sometimes problems that seem like they will last a long time are actually just temporary.  If it is a co-worker that isn’t pulling their weight and is bossing everyone around, they tend to not last if they are ever put on a project by themselves and cannot use outside help.  Most of the time the work they produce is decent, but could have been done a lot better and the results will show.  If you are working on a huge project that is going to last a year, the stress may be hard to deal with for a year, but if the project is successful and you put your effort and heart into it you may be rewarded after it is over.  Think about the future and chances for promotions based on how you dedicated yourself to the company during the stressful year.

Most of these issues aren’t long lasting, even though they seem like they will never end.  It is important to take a step back and really look at how long the problem will be an issue for.  If you love the company and are willing to stick it out, these time sensitive issues can fix themselves since they are only temporary.  If you sit back and think about when they could be over and your job can go back to being something you love, then you may want to stick it out.  If the problem isn’t going to go anywhere; you will not get promoted, the person will never stop because they have friends higher up or are intimidating to you, or they will move you to a new project that causes the same amount of stress for another year, you may want to move on.  Sometimes the corporate world won’t be fair.   When it isn’t and fair and when the problems cannot be resolved, there will be another company that is better for you out there.  You just have to prepare yourself financially and mentally to support yourself until you can find that new role.

Can I overcome this negative feeling?

Something you should ask yourself is “Is there a way to overcome these negative feelings?”.  Although you may be furious right now and have been for a couple weeks.  Try talking to a Therapist or someone outside the company and see if they can help you work through the negative feelings.  By being honest with someone outside and someone whose job is to help you get through these issues, you may discover ways to feel better about your job, co-workers or lack of upward movement.  Therapists can be a great option and some of them may even say that it sounds like you need to make a change.  I am a strong believer in getting help and using a Therapist to get you over some of these negative feelings.

What have I done to try and right the situation?

Before you make your move and change jobs or possibly make yourself unemployed, have you sat back and thought about what you have done to make the situation better?  Mentioning something to a co-worker or talking to the Office Manager and your friends isn’t trying to right the situation.  Talking to your boss or talking to HR (if you feel you can trust them) or talking to someone above your boss (If you don’t trust your boss or the issue is your boss) may be the way to try and have a meeting to address your concerns.  Sitting back and gossiping with friends isn’t really productive and may make the situation and the way you feel worse.  Approaching the person or people that have created the negative situation in professional way to talk about the problem is something that you can do and is proactive.  You do have to use your best judgment because it may not go the way you want and you could be the one who loses your job.  If you do lose your job over this, at least you got your answer and you now know the company wasn’t right for you since the problems wouldn’t be resolved.

Do I have a back up plan and strategy?

If you are going to leave your company, you need to have a plan.  Ask yourself these questions and any other ones that you can think of.

  • Do I have enough money saved up to support myself until I find a new job?  It could be a year or longer.
  • Have you thought about how to keep your job search secret from your current employer if you don’t want them to find you looking for a new job?
  • Are there people that depend on me or any possible medical problems that might arise that I cannot cover without insurance and an income?
  • Have I talked this through with the people I trust?  These could be spouses, partners, best friends, parents, Therapists, etc…
  • Am I mentally ready to go through the process of getting tons of rejections and possibly being fired if I get caught looking around?
  • Where should I look for jobs or send my resume?  Job boards, Headhunters, company websites, etc…

Can I give it two more weeks knowing that I have a plan to see if it improves?

Sometimes you have just had a few bad weeks that could drive you to want to leave the company.  If you could try and distance yourself from the current negative feelings and go in like it is a brand new job, you may see that things aren’t that bad.  When you sit there day after day and go in with a negative attitude you may eventually set it up so that things that would be frustrating become devastating and something that is bothering you a little bit becomes something that is killing you.  Try to step back, redo the way your cube or office looks, only put happy music on your iPod or music player and go in like it is a brand new job.  If you can do this, sometimes you can pull out of your rut and start to love your job again.

Making the decision to leave your job is a tough thing to do and many people do it without really considering all of the negative things that can happen.  If you are asking yourself “When is the right time to change jobs?” try to work it out with your company, try talking to a Therapist and try seeing if you can work out the problems if they are co-workers.  If you do decide to leave your current company, make sure you are both financially and mentally prepared for a job search and being unemployed.

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