According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record number of workers quit or switched jobs four times in 2021. More than 4 million Americans quit at least once.
That level of employee mobility, spawned by rapidly evolving opportunities to and attitudes toward work in a pandemic age, became known as the Great Resignation.
And it isn’t over.
Research shows more than half the U.S. workforce is likely to look for a new job over the next 12 months. One study indicates the numbers don’t vary much between in-person, at-home and hybrid workers.
Reasons vary, but it’s safe to say that this isn’t a trend driven by entry-level workers. Resignations among employees aged 30 to 45 increased more than 20% over 2020, while resignations for 20- to 25-year-olds dipped.
Clearly, a lot of people are looking for new jobs right now. But should you be?
Check your motives because it’s not always about money. Here are some clear signals that it’s time to start looking for a new gig:
Sometimes It Is About the Money
Underpaid and overqualified are not badges of honor. If your compensation doesn’t match your contributions to the company, your seniority and industry norms — especially if you know you can earn more elsewhere — it may be time to go. Prepare a well-researched case for a raise, ask for it and, if not received positively, be ready to turn the page.
Your Progress Has Stalled
When co-workers with less experience start getting jobs you’d be qualified for, that’s an indication of management’s opinion of your skills and growth potential. If you’re in a job that doesn’t present opportunities to grow into new titles or responsibilities (especially if you’re not very well compensated or near the end of your career), it would be better to seek an opportunity that also provides a path for growth.
You may be a bit bored because your responsibilities don’t challenge you; if no new projects or training are available, start looking for new horizons.
If you don’t like your boss, what do you think are the chances that she or he likes you? Bosses promote, hand plum assignments to, and otherwise reward with perks and compensation workers who they get along with and respect. Speaking of getting along, lousy relationships with colleagues — especially those with whom you work directly — are another reason to consider a new work situation.
If you find yourself being overly critical at work (justified or not) or you can’t be your authentic self because of the workplace culture, these, too, are reasons to start looking.
Have there been multiple rounds of layoffs? Start looking. You’ll spare yourself the survivor’s guilt and the dread of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Has your company recently been sold? A house-cleaning could be coming, so best to be prepared.
Listen to Your Conscience (and Subconscious)
Perhaps your company’s values or workplace culture doesn’t align with your own. Perhaps the work you’re being asked to do crosses legal or ethical boundaries. Perhaps you’re at your desk daydreaming about flipping it over and walking out, or you’re jolted awake at home by another work nightmare. All of these are clear signs you’d be better off elsewhere.
Look Before You Leap
If a lot of the aforementioned red flags are waving at you, you might be tempted to simply quit. Resist the temptation for the instant gratification of a “take this job and shove it” moment.
Taking the time to plan your next move will position you as an attractive candidate rather than a desperate one. Additionally, leaving your present company on good terms is not only the professional thing to do, but also allows for the possibility that you’ll be invited back once they realize how indispensable you were all along.
For more information and tips about switching jobs, check out the accompanying resource.
AUTHOR BIO: Goodwill Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations. It is committed to providing disadvantaged individuals with job training, employment services and critical community-building support.
This infographic was created by Goodwill Car Donations, a reputable car donation charity