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When it's time to move on

Published April 03. 2010 09:00AM

Deciding when it's time to leave a job and look for a new opportunity is different for everyone. Some folks get fed up after six months; others, after only a few weeks, and yet others might stick with a job for years, or even their entire working life (although these folks are in the minority these days). With unemployment still high and new opportunities still low, it's important to think long and hard about what comes next if you decide to jump ship and leave your current job.

People leave jobs for every reason imaginable, both legitimate and (some would say) downright ridiculous. But to the person leaving, their reasons for leaving are totally valid and legitimate. Although it's a personal choice and every workplace is different, below are a few reasons that might make you think twice about staying where you are:

No opportunity for growth. Although every job is a great learning experience, sometimes you've just learned all you possibly can in a job. After a few years at some workplaces, you would be eyeing a supervisor or management position, but because of your company's structure, you're staying right where you are. If your job no longer challenges you or helps you to build additional skills or gives you added responsibilities, it might be time to find one that does.

Downsizing. If your company's already making cuts, you may want to do yourself a favor and start looking before that pink slip arrives. Although many layoffs come as a surprise, most folks who have been through them had some clue that their position was going to be cut. There's usually some type of buzz going around if a facility is doing some downsizing, so you may want to dust off that resume if it looks like you might be on your way out in your current job.

Changes to your benefits. Many folks who work full-time take advantage of at least some of the benefits offered by their employer, and any changes to those benefits wouldn't sit too well. Some of us get by without vision or dental coverage, but having health benefits reduced or cut altogether is a huge risk for most people. This is especially true if their benefits covered the family, too. True, you all may be healthy now, but even the slightest cough or sniffle could lead to a doctor's visit, and they aren't cheap. Even if your job seems secure except for the reduction or loss of your health coverage, is it worth the risk if someone in the family gets sick?

A hostile work environment. "Hostile" can mean different things to different people, but most folks know just how much of a toxic workplace they can take before it starts to take a physical, mental, or emotional toll on them. No job is worth putting your own health and well-being at risk, and if this is what's happening due to conditions at your current job, get online and start sending out those resumes. Those health benefits I mentioned earlier? You might find you'll be using that health insurance a lot less if you remove yourself from your high-stress work environment.

Deciding to leave a job isn't exactly an easy decision, so think it through before making a move. Then think it through some more, just to be sure. Whatever you decide is the right decision.

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