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Maybe you think your career has hit a dead end, or you've asked for a raise several times and been shot down. Perhaps what you imagined would be an exciting and challenging position has turned out to be not as great as expected. You might only be open to being poached, or actively sending out resumes, but fact is -- you're thinking about changing jobs.
So how do you know when the time is right to say goodbye to one job and find another?
Things Are a Disaster
You're miserable every morning, you feel no passion about what you're doing and the thought of your colleagues makes you cringe -- these are a few signs that things just aren't working out. When a job is overall a disaster, it may be better to give it up. There could be many reasons why the job is terrible: you may be completely over firm work, you may just hate the practice area you have been forced into, or your firm or company may be heading down the tubes. Whatever the cause, however, inescapable misery is a good sign that it's time to start sending out new resumes.
You're Not Getting Opportunities to Grow
Treading water can be easy, but it's not going to take you to the heights of the profession. If you feel like you've stopped advancing, it may be time to consider finding a new job that would provide more opportunities or greater responsibility. Moving to a new firm can provide you the space to focus on areas where you want to grow and to seek out new challenges in your career.
It's Time for a Change of Scenery
Then again, you may be perfectly happy with the level of work and responsibility you have, but not the setting. Perhaps things aren't to the extent that they'd fit into the disaster category above, but you may find that your current work environment is stale and uninspiring, or you've locked horns with colleagues once too many times and your work environment has begun to sour. Or maybe you just want a literal change of scenery, be it a move across town or across the country. These are all good reasons to look at lateral moves.
Get Out Before It's Too Late, But Don't Go Too Soon
How you get out of a job can be just as important as where you land. If you wait too long, you may be completely burnt out -- or worse, have burnt some bridges. That's why, even when you've decided a gig isn't for you, you'll want to make sure you remain fully committed until the very end. Similarly, you don't want to take off too early; if it's stress or a few bad interactions that are making you think about moving, consider taking a vacation first. After a bit of relaxation, you may find that your outlook has improved.