How Do I Know When I Need a New Job? (and What Comes Next)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Career progression is a natural part of your professional journey, and you are likely to find a new job at several points in your career. To foster personal and professional growth, it's important to perform well and enjoy your occupation and responsibilities. If you feel you may be interested in finding a new job, there are several options to consider.

In this article, we detail the signs that indicate you may need a change in your professional life, along with essential information on how to change jobs responsibly, how to look for a new position, and when it's the right time to resign.

8 signs that may make you think "I need a new job"

When you need a change in your career, there are signs that can leave you thinking, "I need a new job." Equipped with this information, it becomes easier to determine whether you can fix the issue, or if it's time to change positions. Some signs include:

1. Complaining frequently

If you find yourself complaining about work, especially over a long period, this can be a reason to consider a new job. Maintaining a journal that tracks any workplace issues can help to assess any concerns objectively. Upon reviewing the journal at set intervals, weekly or monthly, you can determine the cause of your concerns, along with any patterns. Use the journal to review how your job is impacting your wellbeing by noting your feelings. If it highlights regular complaints that leave you saying "I need a new job," it may be time to seek new employment.

2. Considering new employment

Although it's normal to fantasize about career growth and new opportunities, dwelling on these thoughts can represent an issue. Work is a large part of personal fulfillment, and if the focus is primarily on finding a new job, it can affect performance. If more attention is on other possibilities rather than the actual position, it may be time for a change.

3. Excessively thinking about retirement

Planning for retirement is prudent, but fixating on the future highlights an issue with the present. You may need a challenge or it could result from an incompatible workplace. Keep a record of thoughts regarding retirement to track whether those opinions result from your current employment. Retirement might be a positive thought, originating from anticipation rather than escape.

4. Having issues sleeping

Experiencing sleep disturbances is not uncommon, though disliking a job can exacerbate these issues. Work-related stress may increase how long it takes to fall asleep, or, conversely, it can provoke over-sleeping. It's worth noting if sleep issues coincide with struggles in the workplace.

5. Experiencing health concerns

Work has a direct impact on wellbeing, and in a good job, this facilitates overall wellness. If you feel dissatisfied or distressed due to work concerns, it can present as feelings of sickness. Positive workplaces can leave feelings of satisfaction and contentment, while unhealthy work environments can lead to feelings of malaise such as nausea or dizziness.

6. Feeling excessive dread or anxiety

Feelings of dread or anxiety are an apparent physiological sign that it's time to make a change. Possible approaches to improve this include speaking with human resources to discuss any specific concerns. Many workplace issues mend with a simple change, such as remote work or schedule changes. Depending on the available solutions, you can determine whether it's a matter of needing a new job or simply the need for another life change.
Related: Sunday Scaries: Causes and How to Manage Them

7. Struggling with persistent boredom

Workplace engagement is a major factor in feeling fulfilled at work, something that persistent boredom can impede. Professional development can stall with a lack of challenge in the workplace. It can result in not being fully present, compromising performance. This can affect overall office morale, making it a contagious concern that highlights the need for a workplace change.

8. Conflict in the workplace

A clear indicator that it's time to find new employment is working in a toxic environment. The first step you can take is pursuing all reasonable measures to address the issue. Consult the office procedures, asking a supervisor or human resources professional if needed. Follow the protocol as outlined in the company policies. If this is unsuccessful, then searching for new job opportunities is essential.

Related: When To Change Jobs: Reasons, Considerations, and Steps

Opportunities for change

Determining whether to find a new job differs on a situational basis. In some circumstances, you can solve the issue and continue in your current position. Consider the different warning signs that call attention to employee dissatisfaction. For instance:

  • Boredom: If the issue is under-stimulation, connecting with management is a clear first step. Speak with a supervisor or with human resources to indicate the issues with your current role.

  • Interpersonal issues: Workplace concerns relating to staff or management are not uncommon, but they're manageable. Especially if you're considering leaving a long-time job, it's worthwhile to investigate solutions such as mediation, scheduling changes, or other steps that improve workplace morale.

  • Sleep problems: Especially if the work hours are causing a health concern, it's worth consulting a physician to address any potential medical implications. To address this, you can approach human resources or management to consider options such as split shifts, reduced hours, or remote work.

Working gainfully involves a satisfactory job that aligns with your values and skills. Though sometimes issues in the workplace are repairable, this is not always the case. Consider your options and what you can do to regain your motivation and feel more engaged with your role again before leaving. If these steps don't invigorate your interest and commitment to the role, it may be time to find a new job.

Related: What Is Flexibility at Work? (With Examples and Benefits)

Beginning the job search

Once you know you need a new job, it's time to begin preparations. Instead of quitting right away, take the time to find new opportunities. This starts with market research, ensuring that there are positions available in the industry and for your experience levels. For the next steps you can:

  • Update your resume. Add the most recent experience to your resume, highlighting skills learned while they're still fresh in your memory. Ensure that the resume keeps with modern standards and has entirely up-to-date information.

  • Craft a cover letter. Individualizing your cover letters based on the job and potential employer is essential. Having a basic cover letter helps organize your thoughts and offers a starting point when curating personalized letters for applications.

  • Contact your references. Informing references that the employer may call them to attest to your abilities is important. This can involve communicating directly with your current employer and contacting previous employers or colleagues to serve as references.

  • Apply and interview for new positions. After identifying jobs that fit your skill set, education, and experience levels, you can apply. It is best practice to schedule interviews outside of your current work hours, but if this is unavoidable, schedule time off as far in advance as possible.

  • Find the right fit. Especially when departing a job for better opportunities, it's important to identify the best-fitting position. It may take time, though it's a more responsible approach than accepting the first offer.

  • Get hired and set the start date. Once you have an offer of employment, review the agreement thoroughly, and ensure that any issues present with the previous position aren't likely to occur in the new role. Confirm acceptance of the new job and establish a start date after your last day, working at your previous job.

  • Issue your formal resignation. If there is a contract in place, check the term for notice of resignation. Even if you have a verbal agreement, providing a letter of resignation is essential.

Related: How to Write a Resignation Letter (With Samples and Tips)

Finding the right time to resign

It's easiest to find employment while you still hold a job. Unemployment benefits may be inaccessible when you resign, so be sure to review your employee handbook or speak to the HR department about the policy so you can prepare. Inform your employer of your departure date in advanced and issue official written notice, with two weeks being the standard. Provided you plan your transition, this can allow you to retain strong relationships with your professional contacts.

Planning your job search ensures that you can find new work without alienating a former employer. It allows you to schedule a start date at the new job and issue notice accordingly. This lets you start the new job comfortably and leave the former position gracefully.

Explore more articles