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Time for a job change? Here's how to tell

Participating in your employer’s Going Out of Business sale is a solid indicator that a job change is inevitable. However, if your employer’s books are solidly in the black, how do you know the right time, if ever, to change jobs?

Asking yourself these four key questions could give you the answer:

1. Do I feel challenged? Nothing gives me more satisfaction than having my individual contribution result in a successful outcome for my company. Utilizing your skills and talents keeps you engaged, challenged and invested. Without this aspect to a job, complacency arises and professional growth halts. Ask yourself, “When was the last project that motivated me to contribute my best work?” If this question is hard to answer, and you do not see an opportunity for personal investment in the immediate future, a change of employment is recommended.

2. Can I do what is expected of me? Being challenged is one thing, but nothing is more frustrating than being expected to complete assignments without the time, materials, or information needed. Everyone’s capabilities have limits when expectations are unrealistic. If clarifying and communicating concerns with your employer does nothing to alleviate the obstacles to fulfilling company expectations, a job change is in store.

3. Do I like who I work with? Nine hours is a long time to spend with people you do not like. Negative relationships with superiors or co-workers impedes job satisfaction, engagement and individual contribution. If you do not enjoy the company culture you are surrounded by from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, now is the time to look for other opportunities.

4. Do I view my employment as a job or a career? The Cheshire Cat’s council to Alice in Wonderland holds true, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.” If your current position is not contributing to your career goals, you have a job. Simply put, you are punching a clock and picking up a paycheck. In contrast, a career motivates you to increase your talents, to find ways to contribute to your company’s success and directs you toward your ultimate career goals. If you are simply punching a clock and you have unmet career goals, now is an optimal time to change employment to get you on your desired career path.

Taylor Cotterell is EVP of executive search and recruiting firm NaviTrust. Readers can reach him at or @headhunterinUT.