Many people feel lukewarm about their jobs at some point during their careers. It's the red flags you have to watch out for — major signs that it's time to leave your job. Once you see a red flag, it can be time to make a serious assessment of where you are in your career and where you want to be. Here 10 signs that it's time to start looking for another job.
1 You're passed over for a promotion. When this happens, find out why, says Joan Runnheim Olson of Pathways Career Success Strategies in Hudson, Wis. You may not have had the right certification or training. But if you don't get a straight answer, it might be something more.
2 You don't get along with your boss. "If you don't like your boss, there's a good chance your boss doesn't like you," Olson says. And when that happens, your chances for success are limited.
3 You're depressed about work when you aren't there. "When you spend Sunday dreading Monday, listen to your gut," Olson advises. If it's just a project getting you down, it may be temporary. But if you're dreading work every time you're off, it may be the sign of a larger problem.
4 Your company is acquired. This isn't always necessarily a bad thing, so do some research on the acquiring company. "If they typically clean house, you might want to start looking," Olson says.
5 The company has had multiple rounds of layoffs. If there are several rounds of layoffs and you're still standing, that can still be a sign to look anyway. Rounds of layoffs mean the company hasn't solved whatever problem it thought layoffs would fix — and that you might be stuck with an unrealistic workload.
6 People have stopped talking to you. If you aren't included in management meetings or people are making decisions without your input, it's possible that you are being shut out on purpose. You will need to decide whether it's better to ask what's going on, or simply start looking.
7 You're not feeling challenged. "People can hit a plateau, sometimes about five years in," says Nancy Branton of People Potential Group Inc. in Woodbury, Minn. Ask for new projects and training, if possible — or, if you've hit the ceiling, look for something new.
8 Your boss or co-workers undermine your work. You may find that projects you've approved or decisions you made are being overturned by others, behind your back or openly. Second-guessing and making changes without your input are disrespectful and mean your work isn't valued. Time to start looking!
9 Your stress has become unmanageable. If you have a heavy workload and an outside stress such as caregiving for a family member, you might find that leaving the job is your best choice. "Some people might feel stuck because the pay is good," Branton says, but the challenge may be untenable.
10 You have nightmares about your job. Most people have dreams about work once in awhile. If you're having regular bad dreams about the office, your brain might be trying to tell you something.
It can be hard to discern between short-term dissatisfaction and a deep-seated unhappiness with your job, but when you see the signs, you'll know when it's time to leave.