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Signs That it Is Time to Move on to Another Job or Retire

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According to a 2016 study from LinkedIn, job hopping is on the rise. Based on an analysis of user profiles, the average person changes jobs at least four times by age 32, and continues to change jobs throughout his career. Most people change jobs to make more money or to move into a more advanced position, but there are other reasons to move on or even retire. A toxic work environment, general dissatisfaction, no opportunities for growth and a lack of purpose at the job are just some of the signs that it’s time to move on.

You’re Miserable

Everyone has bad days at work. However, if you have more bad days than good ones, it’s time to start pursuing other options. If the mere thought of going to work causes anxiety or makes you feel depressed, or if you spend most of your days feeling bored, unhappy or on edge, you clearly aren’t in the right place. In some cases, that unhappiness can stem from burnout brought on by constant stress or overwork, leaving you exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. In other cases, the unhappiness comes from the feeling that you can’t do anything right, and you have to walk on eggshells around your boss and co-workers. In any of these cases, it’s time for a new job.

The Environment Is Toxic

Your boss is unpredictable, with a hair-trigger temper and a list of unreasonable demands. Your colleagues spend more time gossiping and undermining each other than actually getting their work done. There is no spirit of teamwork or camaraderie, but rather a sense that it's "everyone for themselves." If going to work feels more like you’re in an episode of a bad reality show than in a productive business with other adults, it’s time to move on.

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No Opportunities to Grow

Even if you love your work and the people you work with, staying in the same job without any new challenges or opportunities for growth isn’t going to do you any favors career-wise. Doing the same things day after day is comfortable, but if you never leave your comfort zone, you’re likely to lose your passion and become bored with your work. Ideally, every job you have should help you add to your skill portfolio and increase your value as an employee. So if you are still doing the same thing after several years and never getting new assignments or promotions, you should start looking for new opportunities.

The Company Is Dying

Just because your employer is struggling to stay afloat doesn’t mean you have to go down with the ship. Pay attention to signs that the company is on the verge of failure or that layoffs or coming: Downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, extreme cost-cutting, more closed-door meetings than usual and an active rumor mill are all harbingers of big changes, and you need to pay attention. Otherwise, you could find yourself standing in the unemployment line with your co-workers, instead of enjoying a new position elsewhere.

Is It Time to Retire?

In some cases, changing jobs isn’t enough, and it’s time to retire. Typically, when your age or health become an issue and affect your ability to do your job – or you have reached the point where you have to start taking the minimum distributions from your retirement benefits – retirement is a good idea. Other signs that it’s time to hang it up include an inability or unwillingness to keep up with relevant technology, burnout and a sense that you are just killing time until you feel comfortable enough to stop working. If you have been putting money away and have enough resources to cover your expenses, make plans to retire.

About the Author

An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

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