Recognising The Right Time to Look for a New Job

8 May 2024

You may have heard about the Great Resignation. If you haven’t, it’s a term that became popular in 2021, describing a trend of workers quitting their jobs to seek more flexibility, more money, more autonomy or maybe all three. Many experts predicted that the quitting craze would end once Covid restrictions were eased and life got back to “normal.” But it seems that hasn’t been the case, with 55% of workers starting a new job, or looking for one.

While quitting your job has become cool, there are a few things to consider before you dive in headfirst and hand in your notice. Knowing when it’s the right time to move on to a new workplace is key to ensuring that you feel happy and fulfilled when you get there.

Here are our top things to look out for that may be telling you it’s time to move on to a new job.

1 – Lack Of Challenge

Feeling unchallenged at work can be a clear sign that it’s time to start exploring new job opportunities. When you find yourself going through the motions without any excitement or growth, it may indicate that your current position is no longer fulfilling. A lack of challenge can lead to boredom and complacency, which can ultimately hinder your professional development.

Have you outgrown your current role? Are you constantly seeking more stimulating projects or responsibilities? If so, it might be time to consider moving on and finding a position that offers the challenges you crave.

Quitting your job and embarking on a new career path is never an easy decision. However, staying in a role where you feel unchallenged can stunt your growth and limit your potential. It’s important to recognize when the lack of challenge outweighs any other benefits your current job may offer.

If you’re unsure about whether or not it’s time to quit your job, take some time for self-reflection. Consider what motivates you and what kind of work environment brings out the best in you. By evaluating these factors, you’ll gain clarity on when to start actively looking for a new job that will provide the intellectual stimulation and growth opportunities that are essential for career satisfaction.

2 – Your Mental Health Is Suffering

Mental health is no trivial matter. It’s crucial to prioritise your wellbeing and consider if a change in your work environment could help alleviate the strain. Your mental health should always be a top priority, and if you find that your current job is negatively impacting it, it may be time to start exploring new opportunities.

Constant stress, overwhelming workloads, or toxic work environments can take a toll on your wellbeing. Feeling trapped in a job that doesn’t fulfill you or support your growth can lead to feelings of frustration and unhappiness. If you notice signs of declining mental health such as increased anxiety, depression, or sleepless nights, it’s important not to ignore them.

A new job may offer a fresh start and the chance to find a healthier work environment. Look for companies that prioritise employee wellbeing and have supportive cultures. Consider positions with better work-life balance or opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Remember, making the decision to look for a new job is not admitting defeat but rather taking control of your own happiness. Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a doctor as you navigate this process. Putting your mental health first is essential for long-term success and fulfillment in both your personal and professional life.

3 – Poor Relationships With Colleagues

Poor colleague relationships can be a major sign that it’s time to find a new job. If you work a typical 9-5, you’re spending 8 hours per day with your coworkers. When you constantly clash with them, or feel excluded from team dynamics, it can lead to a toxic work environment and negatively impact your mental health. Bullying, low morale, and a lack of value for your input are all red flags of a toxic culture that can hinder career growth and affect you outside of work too.

Having positive relationships with colleagues is crucial for collaboration, teamwork, and overall job satisfaction. When you don’t get along with your coworkers or your boss, it creates tension and can make even the simplest tasks difficult to complete. This constant friction at work can leave you feeling stressed, unmotivated, and unhappy.

If you find yourself in this situation, take the time to evaluate whether these poor colleague relationships are fixable or if they are indicative of larger issues within the company. Consider talking openly with your colleagues or seeking guidance from HR to address any conflicts. However, if these attempts fail or if the toxic culture persists despite efforts to improve it, it may be time to start exploring other job opportunities where you can build healthier relationships with your coworkers and thrive in a more supportive environment.

4 – Company Layoffs

When your company goes through layoffs, you may witness the sudden departure of colleagues and feel a sense of uncertainty in the air. This can be an alarming situation that raises concerns about job security and the future of the company. If you notice multiple rounds of layoffs, or a company acquisition, it may be time to start considering your options. Instead of waiting for your role to be axed, it may be worth getting ahead of the curve and finding your new job beforehand.

Being excluded from meetings and decision-making processes could also be a sign that your role is at risk. Disrespectful behavior towards your work or feeling undervalued by management should not be ignored. These are warning signs that your position might not be secure.

Ultimately, recognising the signs of impending redundancies and taking proactive steps can help you navigate through the process. Stay informed about industry trends and explore other job opportunities to ensure you’re prepared for any outcome. Taking control of your career is a better option than sitting idly by and hoping for the best.

5 – You’re Not Paid Your Worth

Money doesn’t have to be your first priority in your career, but we all have bills to pay. Feeling underpaid is like pouring your energy into a bottomless pit, with little reward in return. When you realise that your salary does not align with the value you bring to the company, it may be a sign that it’s time to find a new job. Being underpaid can lead to dissatisfaction and demotivation, as you feel undervalued for your contributions.

Not only does being underpaid affect your financial situation, but it also impacts your overall job satisfaction and morale. It’s important to recognise your worth and advocate for fair compensation. Before immediately seeking a new job, consider negotiating for a higher salary with your current employer. This can be an opportunity to communicate the value you bring to the organisation and potentially secure a pay rise. Depending on your industry, this process can be handled by a union – especially if you work in a public sector role, such as teaching.

However, if negotiations prove unsuccessful or if you consistently find yourself in a situation where you are overqualified but underpaid, it may be time to explore the jobs market. Look for companies that offer competitive salaries based on industry standards and market rates. Finding a job that compensates you fairly will not only provide financial stability but also contribute to your overall happiness and professional growth.

In some circles, it’s frowned upon to put money first. But feeling underpaid is a valid reason to seek new employment. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve – take action and find a job that appreciates and rewards your hard work.

6 – Lack Of Career Progression

Progressing your career can be important for self-fulfillment, as well as securing a higher salary. However, if you find yourself in a position without any opportunities for promotion, it may be time to start exploring other options. Feeling stuck in your current role can be demoralising and a waste of your valuable time. It could indicate that you are being passed over for promotions, or maybe there is a current postholder who isn’t likely to move on and create a vacancy for you. Either way, you won’t be given the chance to grow professionally.

Promotions provide the opportunity to have stimulating projects and challenging assignments that allow you to develop new skills and expand your knowledge base. If these opportunities are consistently unavailable or limited in your current position, it may be a sign that it’s time to find a new job where there is room for advancement.

Being stuck in a role without growth potential can lead to boredom, frustration and even resentment towards your company and bosses. Don’t underestimate the impact of career stagnation on your overall happiness and wellbeing. Take the time to evaluate whether your current job is likely to provide the long-term satisfaction that you want. Sometimes, making a bold career change is necessary to find the fulfillment and growth you desire.

7 – Misaligned Company Values

When considering if it’s time to find a new job, one important aspect to assess is whether the values of the company match your personal beliefs and principles. If you find that there is a misalignment between what you value and what the company stands for, it may be a sign that it’s time to move on.

Working in an environment where the company’s values are not in line with your own can lead to feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction, and even ethical conflicts. It becomes difficult to fully engage in your work when you constantly have to compromise your principles or suppress who you truly are.

Additionally, being part of a company whose values align with yours can have numerous benefits. It creates a sense of belonging and purpose, enhances motivation and engagement, fosters trust among colleagues, and contributes to overall job satisfaction.

Take some time to reflect on what is truly important to you both personally and professionally. Consider the mission, vision, and core values of your current employer. If there is a significant mismatch between these factors, it may be worth exploring other opportunities that better align with your values.

8 – Poor Work / Life Balance

If you’ve been feeling stuck and unhappy in your current job, it’s important to consider all signs that it may be time for a change. We have already mentioned the importance of aligned company values and how being in a toxic work environment can negatively impact your career growth and mental health. Now let’s shift our focus to another crucial factor: excessive work hours.

Working long hours without proper rest and balance can quickly lead to burnout. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed by an unmanageable workload and struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it may be a sign that your current job is no longer sustainable for you.

Excessive work hours can also indicate a lack of respect for your time and wellbeing. It’s essential to prioritise self-care and ensure that you have enough time for personal commitments outside of work. We all need down time to unwind and ensure that we’re refreshed for the next day, whether that’s having time to read a good book or binge the latest Netflix series.

We spend a significant portion of our lives at work, if you take sleep out of the calculation, most of us will spend more time at work than at home relaxing. It’s crucial to make sure those hours at work are fulfilling and allow room for personal growth. If your current job is consuming all your time without providing any meaningful opportunities or fulfillment, it may be time to consider exploring new career options where you can achieve better balance and satisfaction.

9 – Lack Of Flexibility

Feeling trapped in a rigid work environment? It’s time to break free and find a job that offers flexibility and empowers you to thrive. An inflexible work environment can be incredibly stifling, limiting your ability to grow both personally and professionally. When your schedule is set in stone and there’s no room for negotiation or accommodation, it can leave you feeling frustrated. More importantly, it can lead to feelings of guilt when work gets in the way of other important parts of your life such completing the school run, or attending a friend’s wedding for example.

Inflexible work environments often prioritise strict adherence to rules and procedures over individual needs and preferences. This lack of flexibility can manifest in various ways, such as rigid working hours with no option for remote or flexible work arrangements, limited vacation or personal time off policies, or resistance towards alternative work styles.

Not only does an inflexible workplace hinder work-life balance, but it also limits your ability to pursue other interests outside of work. It can leave you feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, as there’s little opportunity for self-care or pursuing hobbies that bring you joy.

By recognising the signs of an inflexible work environment, you can take steps towards finding a job that aligns with your needs. Look for companies that prioritise employee flexibility in their work day. In 2023, many companies are recognising the need to provide more options such as flexible working patters, remote working or condensed hours and employees are increasingly seeking these options. If your current employer can’t provide it, there will likely be one out there that can.

10 – Work Is On Your Mind All the Time

When work becomes the only thing you can think about, it’s a clear sign that something isn’t right. Your mind should have space to think about other aspects of life and pursue personal interests. If you find yourself constantly mulling over work-related issues, stressing about deadlines, or replaying conversations with colleagues or superiors, it may be time to consider finding a new job.

Being unable to switch off from work can lead to burnout and negatively impact your mental health and overall happiness. It prevents you from fully enjoying your personal life and creates an imbalance between work and leisure time. This constant preoccupation can also affect your relationships with family and friends as you struggle to be present in the moment, or take out your stress on those closest to you.

Take a step back and evaluate why work is consuming your thoughts so heavily. Is it because you’re passionate about what you do? Or is it because the demands of your current job are overwhelming? If it’s the latter, it may be worth exploring opportunities elsewhere that allows you to disconnect when needed.

Finding a new job doesn’t mean giving up on career growth or challenging projects. It means prioritising your mental wellbeing and creating space for personal fulfillment outside of work. Don’t let work consume every aspect of your life – take control and make a change if necessary.


At times, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between short-term unhappiness and longer-term job dissatisfaction. By fully reflecting on your current situation, and looking out for the above 10 telltale signs that it’s time for a new job, you may be able to recognise when it’s time to move on.

If you’ve made that decision, take a look through our list of current vacancies, where you might just find your next dream job. Alternatively, you can contact us to provide your CV or discuss your next career options.