Is it time for a career move? 10 unmistakable signs you shouldn’t ignore

Most of us have been there – the Sunday night blues, dreading the start of another work week. A certain amount of angst over Mondays is normal. But if those feelings of dread, disengagement and dissatisfaction persist for weeks, months or even years, it’s one of the clearest signs that it may be time to make a career move. Staying in an unfulfilling job can have serious consequences on your productivity, confidence, relationships and overall wellbeing. The tricky part is knowing when it’s just a temporary rut and when the role is no longer a good fit for your goals and values.

To help you evaluate whether a change is truly needed, here are 10 unmistakable signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

  1. Your work no longer excites or challenges you
    In the early days, you probably felt stimulated and motivated by the daily tasks and responsibilities. But now the lustre has worn off. The work you once found engaging has become mindless, repetitive or boring. Rather than being present, you spend an inordinate amount of time watching the clock or scrolling on your phone to make it through the day. That sense of passion and drive has been replaced by complacency.

  2. There’s no path to progression
    You’ve achieved your initial goals, but there’s simply no runway for upward mobility. Whether it’s topping out at your role with nowhere to be promoted, or just a lack of professional development opportunities – the ability to continue growing your skills and taking your career to the next level has stagnated.

  3. Lack of recognition and reward
    Despite working hard and getting consistently great results, you receive little to no recognition, incentives or compensation in return. It’s incredibly demoralising when you go above and beyond, yet have your efforts and achievements taken for granted or outright ignored. Feeling undervalued and unrewarded is a sure-fire way for motivation and engagement to plummet.

  4. The culture is toxic
    The culture at your workplace or company has become toxic, whether it’s due to terrible leadership, intense politics, gossip and cliques, unethical behaviour or a misalignment of values. No matter how great the role, working in an unhealthy environment where you constantly feel out of place and uncomfortable is damaging. It negatively impacts your wellbeing, mindset and ability to thrive.

  5. Work-life balance is non-existent
    Any sense of work-life balance has become non-existent. We all go through periods where we need to put in some extra hours for a key project or deadline. But if you’re chronically overworked with no boundaries, unable to unplug during your time off and constantly having to sacrifice your personal life and relationships – that’s an unsustainable path that will inevitably lead to burnout, resentment and low quality of life.

  6. You’ve outgrown the role
    You’ve simply outgrown the role and there are no longer any opportunities to be challenged or apply your full range of talents. The work and responsibilities you were initially so excited about have become stale. You’ve checked all the boxes, mastered all the skills and now feel stuck on a plateau with no room for further growth or development. Your potential is being underutilised.

  7. The company is struggling
    Whether it’s due to poor leadership, financial troubles, being in a dying industry or any number of reasons – you can clearly sense that the company is struggling or on a downward trajectory. This creates an environment of negativity, instability and anxiety that can be incredibly stressful and demoralising to work in. You may worry about the long-term viability of your role.

  8. Your values no longer align
    That mission, vision and set of values you once fully bought into and were inspired by, you’ve realised was mostly hollow rhetoric or PR spin. Or perhaps new leadership has come in and is taking the company in an entirely different direction that you fundamentally disagree with or can no longer get behind. Whatever the reason, your moral compass no longer aligns.

  9. There are better opportunities
    Through networking, research, career fairs or simply being recruited, you’ve realised there are plenty of other roles, companies and opportunities out there that could potentially be a much better fit and long-term path for your talents, interests and professional goals. Rather than feeling trapped, you’re motivated and reenergised by the prospect of finding a better role.

  10. You simply aren’t happy
    At the end of the day, this may be the biggest sign of all – you simply aren’t happy. If you wake up with a feeling of dread and heaviness about going into the office, suffer through each week in misery and find little to no joy, satisfaction or sense of fulfilment in your day-to-day work, that’s a clear indication that it’s time to start planning your next move. Life is too short to stay in an unfulfilling role indefinitely.

If many of these signs resonate and ring true for your current situation, don’t resign yourself to being stuck in a rut. A great next step is to consult with experienced recruitment professionals like those at Cogent Staffing. We specialise in connecting industrial, engineering and commercial talent with enriching career opportunities. Our recruiting experts take the time to thoroughly understand your unique background, skillsets, values and professional goals through in-depth consultations.

We then leverage our vast employer networks and best-in-class matching technologies to identify a curated list of roles that are a perfect fit based on your defined criteria – whether it’s related to workplace culture, compensation, work-life balance, growth potential or other priorities. With unmatched regional expertise and a laser focus on making great matches, our team has the resources and insights to help you find a role that you’re genuinely excited about again.

Ditch the drudgery and take control of your professional future – starting today!