10 Reasons You Need a New Job (Or Don’t) and How To Get One

By Indeed Editorial Team

May 2, 2021

You dread going to work. You’re stressed. You’re apathetic. While it’s fairly common to have a bad day or two, if every day feels like a bad day, it’s time to reassess your professional goals and consider getting a new job that better matches your interests and priorities. In this article, we examine 10 common reasons it might be time for a new job and how to find one that better matches your interests, desired salary and need for work-life balance. We also offer tips on how to find a new job quickly.

10 signs it’s time to look for a new job

Here are 10 common reasons you might need a new job and questions to ask yourself to determine if your job dissatisfaction is temporary:

1. You obsess about other jobs

While it’s common to daydream about potentially better jobs during a stressful project or quarter, if you’re thinking about it every day, it might be time to consider a different position or company. Like with any complaint about work, it’s important to reflect why and what is causing your dissatisfaction and if it is really a reason to quit. Begin by asking yourself:

Is it the tasks and responsibilities of my current position?
Am I unhappy with management or team members?
Do I need a career change or a company change?
Do I feel limited in career growth at this company?
Is it just a busy or stressful time at work, or is it always this way?
Is there something I can do to improve this position?

2. You complain a lot

It could be that you feel like your ideas aren’t being considered, you are underpaid or you just don’t feel like you fit with your workplace team or culture. Crucial to determining if it’s time for a change is examining exactly what it is that is making you feel inadequate, unsatisfied or negative at work. Asking the following questions can help:

What do I complain about the most?
Is there something I can do about what I am complaining about?
Is it current management?
Is it my team members?*
What part do I play in this unsatisfactory state?
Have I tried to fix the issue(s)?

3. You feel ill

When you feel unhappy in any situation, it can have a direct impact on your physical well-being. For example, if you’re feeling stressed most of the workday, you might become fatigued or have stomach problems. If work is making you physically ill on a chronic basis—not just before an important presentation—then it’s time to ask yourself:

What is the underlying emotion?
What is causing that emotion?
Is the situation negative or is it my reaction to the situation?
Could I try to think about the situation differently?
Would talking to my team or supervisor help change what’s making me feel ill?
Is there anything I might be doing to contribute to this feeling?
Do I have too many responsibilities?
Am I being treated unfairly?
Have I tried to fix the issue?

4. You’re bored

Most employees become bored or unmotivated at some point, but knowing what causes your boredom will help you decide if it’s the role, company, career or you. To determine if your current boredom is reason enough to look for a new job, ask yourself the following:

When do I feel myself getting the most bored?
What is the cause of my boredom?
Is boredom really the feeling I’m experiencing?
If it’s anxiety, hopelessness or apathy, why am I feeling that way?
Have I talked to my manager about finding more exciting responsibilities?*
Have I considered switching roles or departments?
Is it the company and their mission or culture?
Is there a career I might be more passionate about?

5. You feel unappreciated

As an employee, there may be times when you feel misunderstood or unappreciated for your commitment or work. Or it could be a supervisor who isn’t a good fit or a company organizational structure that doesn’t offer the kind of professional growth you need. If you’re feeling unappreciated, here’s what to ask yourself:

Why do I feel unappreciated?
Is it situational—according to a project or singular event—or do I feel unappreciated in my general responsibilities?
Could I be working harder to fulfill my responsibilities?
Could I be working harder and developing new ideas to fulfill the company’s goals?
Have I asked my supervisor for more projects, professional development or more responsibilities?
Have I talked to my manager about my work quality and asked for opportunities to improve, if applicable?
Do I often do more than my share of the work? Does my supervisor know that?
Do I work longer hours than what’s expected? Does my supervisor know that?
If my supervisor knows I am working hard, have they acknowledged it to me?
How do I measure appreciation at work—a “thank you” or “good work,” or a raise or promotion?
Have I asked for these?

6. You’re not productive

There are several reasons you may not be productive at work. The job could have too many responsibilities and you can’t do them all, or maybe you don’t feel passionate about the work. The best way to find your next best steps is to determine why you might be unproductive. Start by asking yourself:

Do I have too many responsibilities?
Am I trying my best to complete my responsibilities?
Have I asked for help if it is too much work?
Am I not motivated because I don’t feel like the company is supportive?
Am I not producing because I don’t think I can make the goal?
Am I not producing because it feels too hard or is not enjoyable?
Are personal commitments or hardships distracting me from being productive?
Am I just not excited about the company or my role?

7. You argue with the team or boss

Working in a team environment can mean differing opinions, but new ideas are vital for company growth. You may occasionally disagree with your team or manager about projects, workflows or administrative aspects of your role and/or employment.

This is normal and expected. If, however, you find yourself arguing with your team or boss in an unproductive way, not listening to their opinions and doing it often, it’s likely a sign of a chronic problem. Ask yourself these questions to determine how to proceed:

How often do I argue with my boss or team?
What do we argue about? Is there a theme or is it different every time?
Who instigates the arguments?
Am I arguing about important work topics or are they more minor squabbles?
What is my motivation for arguing? Is it to better the company or advocate for myself or am I just trying to win?
If the reason for arguing is a personality conflict, have I tried to mediate with the other party, HR or a supervisor?
Have I asked colleagues what they perceive about my conflict?
Is this company, their culture and role the right fit for me?

8. You think about not working at all

Everyone at some point in their career has likely considered what it would be like not to work. That said, if you are having your needs met, work should not be something you have to think about constantly. For example, if you’ve started making financial calculations on what you would need in savings and other assets—with possible downsizing on household expenses, car payments and housing—to free yourself from your current job, it’s time to start asking yourself questions such as:

Is it just this company that I don’t want to work for anymore?
Is it my team or boss that is making me want to stop working?
Am I just not in the career for my interests?
Am I not being appreciated enough—either verbally or monetarily?
Do I want a career with a different or bigger purpose?
Am I stressed and unhappy most of the time?
Do I feel like I don’t have enough “life” in my work-life balance?
Am I unable to complete the responsibilities of this position?
Have I asked my supervisor to help me feel better about continuing work—in whatever way that I am finding difficult?

9. You don’t have goals or direction

Most of us have career goals that motivate our actions in the workplace. Some prioritize specific career titles or companies to work for, while others consider financials, promotions and career advancement. If you’ve noticed you either don’t have goals or have lost sight of your original ones, it could be time for self-evaluation. Ask yourself these questions:

Did I ever have career goals?
If I did, what were they?
If I did, how long ago were they?
What would I like to achieve in my career and life?
Am I taking the right steps to attain these achievements?
Is this the right career, industry or company to help me get there?
Is there any opportunity in my current company to find and meet goals that will make me happy?
Have I talked to my supervisor to see if they might help me get inspired?
Does my current company have any opportunities for training or education that will meet my new goals?

10. You're currently unemployed

Being unemployed can be difficult, but it also offers you the opportunity to reevaluate everything about your previous career and education and the companies you’ve worked for. It’s a time when you ask yourself the most important questions about your career in relation to your work-life happiness. Start by asking yourself:

What did I like or dislike about my previous position(s)?
What did I like or dislike about the company and company culture?
What did I like or dislike about my team and supervisor?
Why am I unemployed? Was it my choice or the company’s?
Was I interested in what I was doing in previous positions?
If not, what would I like to do instead and what educational requirements are there?
What transferable experience and skills can I offer my new career?
Do I have professional references I can use in future applications?
Is my resume and cover letter up-to-date with my most recent experience?
Have I customized my resume and cover letter to the role/career I am interested in?
Do I have a plan for obtaining training or formal education, if applicable?*

Read more: 12 Signs You Need a New Job

How to find a new job

Staying at your current job until you find a new one eliminates any potential employment gaps on your resume while giving you time to research, plan and find a new position that meets your needs. So, if you can wait, it is recommended.

Once you've decided it's time to make a change in your professional life, take these steps to help you find a job that matches your priorities and interests:

1. Update your resume

The first thing to do is update your resume and any other professional resources that you might need to submit to potential employers, such as your references, portfolio or networking profiles.

Highlight your most recent work experience and any new skills you’ve acquired. Try to use relevant and trending keywords and powerful action words, be specific about job responsibilities and showcase significant professional achievements with measurable outcomes.

If you're choosing to pursue a different career, research its required skills and qualifications. Determine what positions are currently available, and customize your resume and cover letter to match the job's requirements. If your work experience doesn't align with the description, consider volunteer and life experience to demonstrate leadership, planning or other relevant skills.

Related: 3 Simple Resume Updates To Help You Get More Interviews

2. Determine what you want

It's important to have short- and long-term career goals. Brainstorm your ideal career, responsibilities, work environment and company values. It can be helpful to write it all down so you can cross-reference your goals and work ideals with open positions as you’re job searching. Think about the following factors:

  • Your title

  • Advancement opportunities

  • Benefits

  • Pay

  • Company culture

  • Job duties

  • Contribution to the community

  • Value of work to society

  • Geographic or physical work location (i.e., in an office or at home)

3. Do your research

Once you have a clear idea of what you want in a job, research what roles, companies and career paths will match your ideals. Visit company websites to understand their work cultures and growth trajectories, research salaries to estimate income by geography and experience level and search job descriptions to learn what skills, education and experience are required.

4. Practice interviewing

Preparation is key to successfully interviewing for a job. In an interview, you want to present yourself as confident, polished, professional and the best candidate for the job. By practicing what you will say and how you will answer potentially tricky questions, you automate the process in the event that you become nervous during the actual interview.

Start by researching common interview questions for your career title and successful answers. Know you’ll likely be asked both generic—”Why do you want to work for us?”—and industry- and/or career-specific questions.

Be prepared with concise, direct answers that highlight your applicable strengths and experience. To practice, it can also be helpful to enlist a colleague, friend or family member to ask sample questions so you can rehearse your answers.

Read more: Practicing For a Job Interview

5. Network on and off social media

Build your online presence on professional social media platforms and job boards to help you network with recruiters, companies and employees looking for job candidates with your background.

Additionally, take advantage of virtual or in-person networking events. Sign up for free or low-cost webinars and training sessions to advance your skills and meet industry professionals that might be able to connect you to job resources. Make sure these connections are strategic and aligned with the specifications you've already set for your next career move.

Other networking sources include:

  • Former college professors

  • Former colleagues

  • Former employers

  • College career or alumni networks

  • Professional associations

  • Family members and friends

Related: The Complete Guide To Networking

6. Consider freelance, contract or temporary work

If you're currently out of work, consider pursuing freelance, contract or temporary employment while you're searching for a full-time job. Not only can short-term work help pay the bills in the interim and fill in potential unemployment gaps, but it can also provide you with business connections and leads to more permanent job opportunities.

Related: FAQs: How Do Temp Agencies Work?

7. Stay motivated

Finding a new job can take time and effort, so it's important to stay focused and motivated throughout the process. If you're already out of a job, make finding a position your new job. Treat it like it's a project by planning, strategizing, setting goals and putting in the hours to reach your desired outcome. You don't want to seem unmarketable, but you do want to remain on task to ensure you don't miss any good opportunities.

8. But, don’t forget breaks

Stay motivated but also give yourself a break from the job search every so often. Remind yourself that finding a job can be a huge undertaking, so to avoid getting burned out or discouraged, a short break from job searching tasks is necessary and deserved. Consider going for a walk, getting coffee with a friend, volunteering, reading a book or meditating. Then, return to your job search with a clear and determined mindset.

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