5 subtle signs it’s time to look for a new career challenge

Signs like feeling completely miserable or checked out at work are obvious indicators it’s time to move onto greener pastures. But you don’t want to wait until you’ve reached a point of no return to recognize when to seek a new career challenge.

“As a professional, you should be able to redefine yourself after some time in a job, know your worth in the job market, and assess your competitiveness. And this cannot actually be possible if you stay too long in a role. Plus, staying too long in a role could show you are not ambitious enough,” says job search strategist and career coach Ferdy Ed.

To help you pay attention to the more elusive clues you might be in need of getting out of your professional comfort zone, we’ve asked Ed to share the subtle signs it’s time to start looking for a new career opportunity.

Why? “Because if you do not, you will end up losing confidence in yourself, doubting yourself, being in a constant bad mood, downgrading yourself and your capabilities, and decreasing your worth/value,” he says.

According to him, overstaying your time in a role can have the following negative consequences:

  • Your level of excellence decreases
  • Your ability to do more or go the extra mile drops
  • You progressively stop being your usual energetic and dynamic self
  • You perform at the bare minimum
  • Your level of engagement plummets
  • Your creativity and innovation decrease

    On the other hand, you still have a lot to gain from your current role when your work pushes you to do and give more, you are constantly being challenged, you are exposed to complex projects that make you think and grow, your full capabilities are at work, you make mistakes and learn from them, and you are provided with constructive feedback that helps you improve. If this doesn’t quite sound like your current situation, here are five subtle signs it’s time to look for something else.

You are no longer learning or growing on a regular basis

Professional development is hindered if you are not regularly expanding your skillset. It’s normal to master some of your core responsibilities and competencies, as that’s part of the reason you hold a certain position in the first place, but you should also feel like you have plenty of wiggle room for expansion while carrying your day-to-day tasks. Being able to do your job with your eyes closed is definitely a sign you are reaching a growth ceiling.

You don’t feel as challenged anymore despite taking on new projects

You’ve successfully asked for more responsibilities. You’ve jumped on the opportunity to join professional associations and workplace committees. You’ve covered for your boss while she was on vacation. But you just don’t feel as challenged anymore. You miss the thrill of jumping into something and feeling positively uncomfortable. If any of this sounds familiar, it might be time to start looking for new opportunities.

You feel bored and underappreciated more often than not

If you keep checking the time and the hours seem to be passing by super slowly, the clock is ticking on your current role. Couple that with feeling undervalued and not recognized for your contributions and you’ve got a recipe for job dissatisfaction. Not every chapter of your career is going to be extremely fun, and you don’t need constant accolades and validation to feel appreciated for the impact you’re making. But if let’s say, you feel bored and underappreciated more than 50 percent of the time, it’s a subtle sign to start being on the lookout for a new challenge.

You have a nagging feeling something is missing

You’re pretty happy with your work arrangement. The position is a step up from the last one, the money is good, you get along with your coworkers and the title looks prestigious on your resume. But you can’t help but feel that something is missing. You can’t quite pinpoint what it is, but you have a persistent feeling of unfulfillment that you keep ignoring because everything else is great on paper. This nagging feeling might be trying to tell you something…

You don’t enjoy your work environment as much as you used to

Is your current job feeling as stale as an open box of cereal? Maybe you are staying because you used to love moments like team-building activities, Monday sprints, and holiday parties. But you can’t sustain a career path based on a sense of nostalgia or loyalty to an employer. It’s important to check in with yourself and ask if it’s time to look for a work environment that will make you feel as excited as you were when you first started.