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4 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job (and 5 Things That Aren’t Red Flags at All)

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To put it plainly, some work challenges are worth it, while others are not. But how to navigate the normal job annoyances from the actual red flags? We tapped Andrew McCaskill, a career expert at LinkedIn, to help shed some light.

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1. You Can’t Grow at the Company

Beyond a promotion or corner office, growth can take on many forms. (Maybe it means a change to your job description. Maybe it means a management opportunity.) Regardless, growth comes to a halt at work when you stop getting chances to gain experience. To evaluate, ask yourself: Have you been offered any recent opportunities to take on new projects? Or have you volunteered and been refused? If you’ve explored multiple growth paths and been vocal about your needs and career aspirations and still aren’t getting what you want, it’s likely time to move on, says McCaskill.

2. There Are No Opportunities to Learn

In any job, it’s important to feel like you have the ability to acquire new skills. Some companies make this overt with tuition reimbursement programs or access to professional development courses. But opportunities to learn can occur internally, too. (Perhaps that colleague on the design team could give you a weekly photoshop lesson.) Bottom line: Education comes in all forms, and if you can’t find it, it could be time to dust off your resumé.

3. You’re Not Proud of the Workplace Culture

McCaskill maintains that most professionals value a good company culture above other, more traditional perks. But as for what “good culture” looks like, that’s really up to you. For some folks, it’s workplace transparency and encouraged work-life balance. For others, it’s regular social events or a community-minded mission statement. A good gut check question to ask yourself is: Are you proud to work where you do? If you find yourself bad-mouthing work frequently or no longer sharing the same values as others in your company, it may be time to move on.

4. There’s a High Turnover

A rotating door of people is never a good sign, especially if folks you respect seem to resign out of the blue, says McCaskill. “This could be an indication that there are systemic issues within your company or that something’s coming down the pipeline that people aren’t happy with.” The best way to assess? Try to gain some insight as to why people are leaving. Toxic culture? Bad pay? Long hours? That should help steer your decision.

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1. You Don’t *Always* Feel Satisfied or Happy at Work

Job satisfaction is different for everyone, explains McCaskill, so this is the moment to do some soul-searching. “No one loves their job every single moment of every single day. If you feel satisfied more days than not, this could be a job worth sticking around for and improving—or asking for a change in role—where you can.” Some questions to ask yourself: Are there ways to improve areas of dissatisfaction? What’s missing that would make you happier?

2. You Love Your Team…Most of the Time

Great co-workers can make or break a job, but just as with the role itself, you’re not going to love every single minute you spend with them. (This applies to your colleagues, your boss, everyone at the office.) If you feel positive about them most of the time, that’s a good sign, says McCaskill. And as long as your boss is someone you like working with and who cares about your career path, you’re in good shape. (A toxic boss is a whole other issue.)

3. You’re Feeling Burned Out

The pandemic has done a number on the idea of work-life balance and work-related stress (dubbed burnout) is at an all-time high. “If your company is willing and able to support you with increased flexibility, mental health services or PTO, that’s worth taking advantage of,” says McCaskill. In other words, any feelings of burnout may be better solved by setting new boundaries as opposed to seeking a new job.

4. There’s New Management

New management means new workflows, rules and more, which can be a challenge as everybody gets the hang of things. But before you balk at the change and start your job search, go back to that list of career priorities. Is there a way for you to carve out a new role for yourself? Better still, this could be an opportunity to find a new mentor or manager who can offer different perspective. Just try to give it a chance before jumping ship.

5. You’ve Been There Less Than a Year

To avoid a resumé that includes a super short work stint, try to stick it out for a least a year. This doesn’t mean you should stay put in a toxic situation. It’s more about giving things time before you change course. And if you have to suffer through a few terrible months, so be it.

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