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How I Know it’s Time to Leave a Job

Let me preface this post by saying that this isn’t a formula for leaving your job. However, I believe there are tell-tale signs that we should heed to support our career growth and sanity.

According to a 2017 study of talent trends from Mercer Global, only 1 in 3 employees are satisfied in their current role and are planning to leave within the next 12 months. That means that more often than not, people are considering job transition in order to find something that best matches their needs.

For me to feel fulfilled within a job, there some things that should be standard:

  • Application of my skills towards my current tasks

  • Great benefits

  • A culture that would make the “Greatest Places to Work” list

  • Competitive pay

  • Work/Life Balance

  • Empowerment and opportunity to grow

On the contrary, there are situations that signal to me that it’s time to move on. These signs don’t come quickly, of course. It’s just like dating. People/employers put their best foot forward in the beginning, but as they become more comfortable the flaws and imperfections shine through. It takes for us to get hired and be in relation with the company before we can truly see if it's the best fit.

I know it’s time for me to move on when:

There’s no opportunity to grow or be promoted

Another statistic from the Mercer Global study states that 1 in 3 employees do not feel empowered to create their own career success. This is the main challenge that will cause me to start rethinking my job. I am in the stage of life where I am trying to sharpen my skills, gain more knowledge, and make more money. If I notice that the dynamics of the environment only allow for me to stay where I am or if I have to jump through hoops to create opportunities for myself, then I’m on my way out.

I’m not utilizing my skills or education (which I paid good money for)

I have had jobs where I was hired to perform a marketing role but over the course of time, it turned into an administrative role. There’s nothing wrong pitching in and performing administrative tasks to help things along. However, when the pendulum doesn’t swing back in the other direction, then I need to move on. I have skills that I’ve honed and want to continue to sharpen. I also paid good money for the degrees I have so it just makes sense to start getting a return on my investment! I have specific career goals and if the position no longer aligns with them, then it’s best for me to find something that does.

There’s a lack of employee acknowledgement and engagement

In my opinion, employees are the foundation of a company’s success. Therefore, when I see that employees are instead treated like a byproduct, then I start to check out. I’m not saying that employers need to roll out the red carpet every time I show up to work, but I should feel like an important piece of the puzzle.

My role is monotonous and it won’t change

I am not the assembly line girl. When I’m on a trajectory of growth, working in a position where the bulk of my responsibilities entail doing the same thing everyday make me feel stagnant. Now, these type of tasks are important as that’s how cars are produced and how administrative functions support big corporations. They also can help to sharpen your attention-to- detail. However, I’m interested in strategic thinking and the bigger picture so spending my time and energy at this level makes me feel like I am missing out on achieving something more.If this was a temporary project or if I was just interested in collecting a paycheck, then this would suit me just fine.

There’s inexcusable injustices in the culture

No job is perfect. There’s always something that we won’t like or that could function better. but there’s a line between regular workplace woes and pure injustice. For example, I had an experience where my insurance benefits were not available for an entire month at the first of the year with no explanation or remorse from the employer. In another incident I was speaking to my boss about a promotion when I was told that I had to create a development plan featuring why and what I needed to move to the next level. Take note that even after completing this, there was no guarantee that I would be considered. However, a white male counterpart who had been at the company for less time than me was easily promoted without the requirement of completing extra assignments. Nuances at the company that leave a permanent bad taste in my mouth lower my morale to a level where it cannot be revived.

What’s your tipping point to cause you to start looking for a new job? Before you decide that you’ve had enough, I want you to consider four things:

1.) Are you just having a bad day?

When we have those days where even brushing your teeth goes haywire, consider the fact that you may be too emotional to make a clear decision to leave.

2.) Have you given it enough time?

It’s possible that the challenge you’re facing may be a seasonal issue. Businesses go through cycles which can affect your role and your work. The wise approach is to take notes and be vigilant for six months to a year before you make a concrete, well-informed decision.

3.) Is there something you can do to make the situation better?

Perhaps your challenge is really your opportunity to solve a problem, create something new, or improve poor conditions. Evaluate whether you can contribute to helping your situation. If so, your efforts will be a great resume booster!

4.) Do you have peace from God?

Ultimately, He directs our path. Is it His will for you to stay put for the time being? Spend consistent time in prayer and meditation. You want to ensure that your decision aligns with where He wants to take you. Otherwise, you'll end up in a worse position.

Remember, no job or company is without flaws as they are run by imperfect people. However, know your limits in order to make your next move your best move.


Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Study (Rep.). (2017, October 05). Retrieved October 10, 2017, from Mercer Global website:

Clifton, J. (2017). STATE OF THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE (pp. 18-19, Rep.). Washington, DC: Gallup, Inc.

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