How do you know it’s time to start job searching again? Maybe you have a good job right now and enjoy what you do. However, you can’t help the nagging feeling that it’s time to start a job search. It’s like window shopping. You’ll head over to LinkedIn, type in keywords for your dream job and see what pops up. It can’t hurt to look — and maybe apply for a position that sounds like a potential fit, right?
There may be external factors, like high turnover at work, that influence our decision to conduct an early job hunt. Other times, it’s a gut feeling. You can’t always explain how you know it’s time for a change. Sometimes, certainty is simply based around the phrase: “when you know, you know.”
From a lack of professional growth to consistent dreams about leaving your job, these three signs show it’s time to act on your nagging feeling to conduct a job search.
1. You dream about quitting your job.
Many of us have probably dreamed, at one point or another, about our workplace. You could be doing something completely out of character in this dream, like completing a ridiculous task or yelling at an irritating coworker. Or, you might dream about quitting your job.
Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz, previously worked at a law firm. One night, she dreamed that she had quit her job. The dream was unusual to Bird, who had not been thinking on a conscious level about leaving the firm. If anything, she felt obligated to stay because of her clients.
What made the dream strange, however, was that she couldn’t stop laughing during it.
“I started laughing in the dream,” Bird says. “I had this experience of intense joy. I laughed so hard in my sleep that I started laughing in real life and actually woke up. I woke myself up with laughter, which I’ve only ever done one other time in my life.”
Instead of dismissing it, Bird spent the next morning carefully thinking about the amount of joy and relief she experienced in the dream.
“I thought: 'Maybe there’s something I need to pay attention to there,'” Bird says.
The more she thought about it, the more Bird considered that her job allowed her to serve her clients. However, she gradually realized the role wasn’t serving her in the ways she wanted for her life. Bird thought about the dream for the rest of the day, slept on it and gave the law firm her notice the next day.
Did you have an experience similar to Bird’s, where you dreamed about quitting your job? Consider the circumstances of the dream and how it made you feel thereafter. Depending on what happened, you may dismiss the dream as your subconscious being silly or take it seriously, especially if you have recurring dreams of leaving your job that fill you with joy.
2. Your boss is acting distant.
Have you always had a great relationship with your boss, but feel as though they are not communicating with you as much as they used to lately? Julie Good, partner at talent acquisition firm WinterWyman, says this may be a sign to start seeking out a new role elsewhere.
“A less open and communicative relationship with your boss may signal a few things,” Good says. “Your boss may be looking for a new job or they may have other things on their mind like too much headcount in your department.”
Good advises to find out why your boss isn’t talking if you notice a communication slowdown.
“The answer could help you decide if it’s time to leave your job.”
3. You’ve grown as much as possible in your role and feel stagnant.
How do you know you have stagnated at work? Ivelices Linares Thomas, CEO of HR & Beyond, says to watch out for these warning signs.
- There are no further opportunities to develop any new skills,
- You’re unable to grow in your current role,
- And there’s no opportunity to transition into another role in the company.
Did you tick off “yes” to each sign? If so, it’s time to move on with your job search because you’re not just stagnant — you’ve developed a bit of boredom in the position and are able to do your job pretty much on autopilot.
“If you can do your job without thinking what you’re doing or how you’re doing it, it becomes more of a subconscious, repetitive act than an affirmative effort,” Thomas says. “When you’ve reached this point, you owe it to your professional growth — and the organization — to start searching for that next opportunity."