5 Subtle Signs It's Time To Find A New Job
We all know what it feels like to hate your job. You get that Sunday night dread, you’re constantly anxious, and you find yourself feeling miserable and stressed even in your free time. Allowing yourself to get to this stage, however, can be risky; by then, you’re so miserable, you’re likely to apply for just about every job you’re qualified for, and jump at the first offer you receive, rather than making a considered choice based on your preferences and ambitions. For this reason, it’s vital to take stock of how you’re feeling at work on a regular basis, and consider whether there might be more subtle signs it’s time to move on. After all, the days of forcing yourself to stay in a job when you’ve achieved all you can are a thing of the past. Although many people worry they might be perceived as ‘job hopping’ if they change positions too often, there are proven benefits to making a change every so often; it’s a chance to re-establish your value, learn new skills, and build your reputation. With this in mind, in this blog post, we’re taking a look at five subtle signs it might be time for you to find a new job, along with how to conquer the psychological barriers that could be holding you back.
1. You can do your job with your eyes shut
This one might be good news for surgeons (though we don’t recommend trying it) but for most of us, being challenged by our job is essential. Although it might sound counterintuitive, a recent survey confirmed that having to overcome some difficulties in the course of the working day actually produces higher levels of happiness and engagement, as long as the right support is available. The reason for this likely lies in our physiology; the same systems within our brain that provide a boost of happiness when we eat or exercise also respond in a similar way when we find solutions to problems. When we consider how many people enjoy solving complex puzzles or piecing together 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles, this makes sense. When we’re deprived of challenges, therefore, this reward system is under stimulated, which can contribute to low mood. If you’ve started to find your work predictable and dull, this is a strong indicator that it’s time to move on to something more challenging.
2. You’re easily irritated with your colleagues
You wouldn’t quite call it anger, but you do find yourself unreasonably annoyed by your co-workers these days, even though they’re not doing anything wrong. Sound familiar? Of course, this could also be a sign you’re suffering from stress or other mental health issues, but in the absence of these, it’s likely a sign you’re feeling frustrated and bored. In psychology, this is known as displacement, and is a defensive mechanism in which a person redirects a negative emotion from its original source to a less threatening recipient. Naturally, if this happens frequently, you’ll likely find that your relationships with your colleagues will start going downhill fast, which will make the original problem worse. We all have bad days, but if this is something you’re experiencing frequently, chances are, it’s time to start searching for a position which brings you greater happiness.
3. You’re disengaged
It’s time for a team meeting to catch up on everyone’s schedules for the week ahead and make new plans, and you realise that you simply don’t care. You’ve begun to feel like all you do is show up, go through the motions, and then go home. The idea of overachieving or coming up with new ideas no longer sounds appealing to you, and you’re simply there to get your paycheque. What’s more, the quality of your work has taken a downturn, and your manager has started to notice. These are all signs you’re feeling seriously disengaged at work. This could be because your current company aren’t putting any effort into your professional development, not offering you enough challenges, or simply aren’t valuing the work that you do. Either way, it’s a sign it could be time to move on.
4. You’re having trouble waking up for work
We’re constantly surrounded by the trope that everyone wakes up dreading going to work in the morning, hitting the snooze button several times before they drag themselves out of bed, exhausted and annoyed. Believe it or not, however, people who enjoy their jobs rarely suffer from this problem, unless they’ve had poor quality sleep. If you’re finding it challenging to get up and face the day, this is likely due to the fact that you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed about your working life. Think back to when you first started your job; you likely looked forward to the day ahead, excited about the challenges and new experiences that might await. Here at Gleeson, we’re strong believers that everyone should wake up excited about their jobs, and what’s more, we know from experience that it’s perfectly possible. If you’re feeling like this on a regular basis, it’s time to remind yourself that you deserve to feel happy and fulfilled in your career.
5. You’re complaining about work more often
Yet another cultural narrative we’re surrounded with is that almost everyone hates their job, and that it’s simply a fact of life we’re all doomed to put up with until we retire. However, you might be surprised to discover that a poll by YouGov actually determined that two-thirds of Brits actually like or love their job. Although you’re not human if you don’t have the occasional grumble about work, if you find yourself moaning to family and friends on a regular basis, it’s a definite sign that something isn’t right. Remember that scene in Friends where Chandler comes home complaining that he doesn’t like his job, and comments, ‘But who does?’ and the other characters proceed to tell him that they actually love their work? It’s probably truer to life than you might think! The moral of the story? Don’t be Chandler when you could be Ross.
Breaking through the psychological barriers
Of course, even if you’ve ticked off every one of the above indicators, making the decision to leave is easier said than done. There are numerous psychological barriers that can prevent us from leaving a job, which are similar to the reasons many people stay in unhappy relationships. For instance, many of us suffer with negative or unhelpful voices inside our heads telling us we’ll fail if we try something new, or even that we don’t deserve new positive opportunities. Stress and boredom can also cause us to become stuck in inertia – we know we need to make a change, but we simply don’t have the mental energy and motivation to do it. It’s also easy to fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy; you’ve spent so long in your current position, and even though you’re unhappy, wouldn’t it be a waste to move on now? Not to mention, many people have a tendency to believe that career success is something meant for other people, not for them. All of this poses the question, how can you break through the mental barriers preventing you from moving on?
Start slowly. Allocate thirty minutes of each day to start looking for jobs. Don’t start applying yet, rather, think carefully about what you actually want in a new position, and make a detailed list. It’s important that your next career move is one that you carefully consider, rather than one made out of desperation and unhappiness. By taking thirty minutes a day to think about your next move, you’ll start to feel in control without becoming overwhelmed.
Build your confidence. Quash that negative internal narrative by taking notice of all the things you do well. Reflect on positive feedback you’ve been given at work, ask your friends and family what they like most about you, and think about times when you’ve achieved more than you thought you would. Once you begin to recognise just how much you have to offer, landing your next job will be much easier, and you’ll no longer be content to put up with boredom and frustration at work.
Work on yourself. Get a new hobby, start going to spin class, go skydiving – it doesn’t really matter. Career coaches and business leaders alike all agree that one of the keys to career success is having a passion outside of your professional life, as it can help you think creatively and better manage work-life balance. Exercise has also been proven to be particularly beneficial, as it can lower stress and improve your concentration. This will also give you a sense of accomplishment and pride, which will be beneficial to your long-term mental health.
Don’t do it alone. If we’ve seen it once, we’ve seen it a million times. Job seekers try to take on the task of searching for their new career challenge all alone, and end up totally overwhelmed, or hear nothing back and become demoralised before giving up. For this reason, it’s vital to work with a trusted recruitment partner. Not only can it save you the effort of filling out long and tedious job applications, your recruitment consultant will offer you honest and helpful advice to ensure you make the correct decision, as well as provide access to exclusive positions that won’t be advertised elsewhere.
Stuck in a rut? Let us help you out. We’ve hundreds of positions available in industries such as accountancy, human resources, marketing and digital, IT, and many more. Alternatively, you can search all our positions here, or register with us.