Most of us start working in our late teens and keep on doing that until some point in our sixties, if not later. That said, the days of someone staying at the same company for 30 or 40 years are long gone.
One reason for that is job instability is so much higher than it used to be.
There are more contractors and freelancers now, and that means more hopping around from gig to gig.
Another reason is that companies don’t heavily reward people for sticking around for decades. In fact, some companies will actively work to throw out older employees and replace them with younger, cheaper ones.
And then there’s age discrimination. Age discrimination is illegal, but that doesn’t stop corporations from trying to get away with it.
All the uncertainty can make the idea of leaving one job scary, but there are still good reasons to consider moving on.
Toxic work environment?
Look, office work can often mean a clash of personalities.
You and Joey in Accounting may have an ongoing conflict about whether or not he should cook fish in the microwave at lunch every single day, but stuff like that is part and parcel of working with other people. It’s impossible to get along with all people all of the time. But watch out for signs of bad morale and abusive bosses. A boss who yells at and demeans his or her employees is not the kind of person you want to be working for long-term. A boss who keeps promising you a pay raise and then never comes through is also a problem. Similarly, a competitive work environment can be useful, but an environment where everyone is expected to work twelve hours a day without overtime is going to lead to burnout and resentment. It’s more common at, for example, tech start-ups and high-powered law firms, but it’s not the norm. If you’re depressed and worn out all the time, you’re simply not going to be able to do good work.
A few bad days is one thing, but every single day shouldn’t be bad. If you’re throwing up every Monday morning because you can’t stand the thought of getting in the car and driving to the office, that’s a glaring sign that it’s time to get the heck out of there.
You want a new challenge
It’s a cliché by now for workers to turn in their two weeks’ notice and say they’re “pursuing other opportunities,” but there’s also some truth to that cliché. Sometimes people outgrow their jobs, and that’s OK. You’re allowed to change. You’re allowed to decide you want to leave your desk job for a career as an automotive and diesel technician.
Before you go, make sure you’ve thought carefully about all the pros and cons. Resigning on the spur-of-the-moment isn’t a great idea unless you’re in one of those toxic work environments mentioned above.
If you’re bored but your job reimburses you for tuition costs while you’re working towards an online management degree at Linfield College, for instance, then it’s probably worth waiting until you’ve completed all your credits.
Some workplaces will require you to sign agreements stating that they’ll pay for your education, but you can’t leave the job for a certain amount of time afterwards. Make sure you’re not working under such a contract before you end up having to pay back all that tuition money.
Most jobs are at-will, which means you can quit anytime (or be fired for almost any reason), but there are some exceptions.