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6 Signs that Answer the Career Question “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Climbing young adult with map and compass

The guys from The Clash aren’t the only ones to have ever asked “Should I stay or should I go?”

But while it may be fine for a rock group to let someone else answer that question, when you’re weighing whether to stay in your job or seek a new one, the decision is often entirely up to you. A job change isn’t always the result of being fired, laid off, or down-sized, and the desire to leave a job usually builds over time.

Do you know the signs that it’s time to change jobs, or are you as clueless about the indicators as a rock star?

1. The job no longer feels like a good fit.

People change, jobs evolve and responsibilities shift. It’s not unusual for people to find the job they’re doing now isn’t the same as it was when they were hired. If your job no longer feels like it matches your skills, personality, goals, and values, it may be time to seek one that does.

2. You’re not being effectively managed …

… and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Sometimes, you can experience a clash of personalities and style with your manager. If you can’t talk it out and he or she isn’t going anywhere any time soon, it may be smarter for you to move on. It beats staying in a job where a management clash will make it hard for you to excel.

3. The corporate culture isn’t a good fit for you.

It can be difficult to get a real sense of a company’s culture until you’ve been working there for a while, so it’s possible you may find that your company’s personality doesn’t mesh well with yours. You can try to tough it out, but the company’s culture isn’t likely to change, so it may be more beneficial in the long run to look for a better fit.

4.You’ve gone as high as you can within the organization.

Everyone wants to see his or her career advance, so if you’ve achieved the highest level available to you in the company, you may need to look outside the organization for advancement.

5. You’re struggling to make ends meet financially.

You may love your job, but if it’s not paying you a living wage you have only a few options. You can ask for a raise, which you may or may not get. You can advance your education to enhance your value to the company and possibly boost your earning power. You can put yourself on a strict budget, but that may be hard if you’re already running lean. Finally, you can look for a better-paying job.

6. You just dread going to work every day.

We’d advocate not waiting until your job dissatisfaction reaches the dire level of dread, but if inertia and fear of the unknown have kept you in place too long, the job you have may not be salvageable. If you’re losing sleep, feeling anxious or even physically ill when it’s time to go to work, remember no job is worth sacrificing your health and mental well-being. You’ll feel better when you take control of your professional life and start looking for a job you can love.

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