Staying in your comfort zone instead of taking the courage to leave your job is an easy thing to do. Many developers – even though they tend to be more amenable to change than mere mortals – stick to their job for a long time not because they’re happy there, but only because it’s easier. And sometimes, it’s because with a pile of work and stress it’s hard to find the time to stop and consider what you might want to do next.
Even when it becomes clear that it’s time to ditch your current job, the arduous saga that is finding a new one can be slightly off-putting. However, in such a case, it’s definitely worth the risk and pain as a new job allows you to grow, to feel valued, and to regain your enthusiasm for work.
If you’re still not sure whether it’s time for a change, here are the telltale signs that it might be better to do a runner than stand your ground.
There’s no chance of climbing the ladder
We don’t mean to the next floor up in the office, but professional growth within the company or the chance to develop your skills. If your chances of moving up are slim, then this is a big warning sign.
Similarly, if you’re doing the same thing every single day and have no chance to improve yourself professionally, then it might be time for a change.
You don’t look forward to work
Of course on Monday morning after a nice relaxing weekend, or before a particularly unpleasant meeting, none of us jump gleefully out of bed for work.
But if your enthusiasm for work never reaches more than a slight flicker then perhaps it’s worth considering a change. Besides, you spend far too much of your life at work for it to be nothing more than something to pay the bills.
You have no chance to change your career direction
It may be that this desire for a different focus or programming language is merely incompatible with your current job role or the needs of your employer making it an insurmountable problem.
Your values are at odds with the company’s
Does your boss bend the rules to get business? Are customers treated like throwaway commodities? Is there something about your product which fundamentally goes against your principles?
Whatever it might be, if your values are at odds with those of the company, it’s going to be hard to stay motivated (and maybe even to sleep at night!). Maybe at Techloop, we’re a little idealistic, but we believe that you should work for a company you can wholely support. Write down a list of your non-negotiable values and find a company that is in line with them.
You can’t remember the last time you had time for your family or passion
Work is eating into all of your free time so that you only have a moment for a quick ‘hi’ in the morning and the same in the evening before collapsing into bed. Not to mention that new PS4 is still in its Christmas box, bows and all, and it’s been at least a year since you went to the cinema.
Sound familiar? Then we would prescribe a small (or maybe more substantial) career change. Unless, of course, it’s an exceptional or temporary circumstance (such as an upcoming deadline), or you love your job so much that you’re happy to spend your life there.
Stress is affecting your health
Maybe you wake up with your heart pounding furiously, or you’ve just worked out to the point of exhaustion. Oh and by the way, if your boss is trying to fool you into thinking that passing out at your computer is some badge of honor then run for the hills.
A little stress doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can boost productivity, and some of us are addicted to the adrenaline. But too much is too much. In the long term, an extremely stressful job is not worth the damage to your health.
Your loved ones are telling you to get out of there
It’s true that choosing a job is an inherently personal matter and your opinion should count the most in this discussion (after all, you’re the one that has to go, right?).
On the other hand, your loved ones know you better than anyone, and because they are not as into your work as you are, it’s possible that they can be more objective. It is at least worth listening to your friends’ and family’s thoughts and mull them over. As they say, two heads are better than one.
You’re not appreciated for your work
This lack of appreciation doesn’t necessarily mean financially (although that wouldn’t go amiss) but also some praise from the boss and credit for a job well done. If this isn’t happening, or your boss and colleagues are always claiming the credit for your excellent work, this doesn’t sound like a dream job.
You’re constantly butting heads with your manager
Even the most exciting job can become a nightmare if your boss is an idiot who is always on your case. If you have longstanding issues with your superior and no way of working under someone else, we would suggest that you mosey on out of there.
Before you do anything too hasty, it’s worth thinking long and hard about the source of your unhappiness at work. Try talking about it with your boss, jump at the chance of a new project or delegate the parts of your job which you don’t like to someone who might.
If you do end up deciding to leave your current job, we have some advice for you on that, too.