Changing jobs is scary, we see and hear it from people every single day. That feeling is often magnified when you have been at the same company for a number of years and have grown comfortable. So how do you know when it’s the right time to make a change? How do you know that it’s the right time to quiet those nerves and take the leap?

There is never a “perfect” time. It will always be slightly risky, and there will always be a small fear of the unknown, but that should never hold you back from going after what you want. And while there may not be a perfect time, there are a handful of times that are better than others when it comes to saying goodbye to your current company. Here are the times we suggest you start looking at your options.

1.       You’ve been at your company for over a decade

You’ve put in good work, and maybe you’ve even climbed a few rungs on the corporate ladder. You should feel proud that you’ve been able to chalk up so many years to the same company, but doing the same thing in the same office year after year will eventually cause you to get complacent. Starting at a new company can help you find that inner spark, and you will be able to bring that decade worth of knowledge to a new crew.

2.       You just finished a big project, and it was a huge success

Ride that wave all the way to your new offices. Whatever the project you recently finished was, it will give you fuel and talking points in your upcoming interviews. The challenges and achievements will be fresh in your mind, and you’ll have that little extra boost of confidence. Plus, finishing a big project often leaves you with a little extra time throughout your day, which makes it that much easier to slip out to an interview.

3.       After your bonus

If you have a bonus sitting on the table, stay put. There is no reason to walk away from a big check that you’ve already been promised (unless your new company is willing to match that as a signing bonus). Additionally, if you end up having a few weeks between positions you have a nice padding to keep the stress from building up and allowing you to truly enjoy that short time off.

4.       After a vacation

You’re relaxed, you’re in a good state of mind, and you just used up your vacation time. This allows you to go into your new job with no vacations planned, which means you won’t have to have that awkward talk telling your future boss you need a week off on your third week there. Plus, your batteries will be fully charged and ready after a little R&R, allowing you to go into your new place of work ready to make things happen.

5.       You’re being underpaid

You recently did some market research and realize you’re making far less than you’re worth. Start looking immediately, even if you absolutely love your job, chances are you’re there to make money. Go where they are going to pay you what you deserve.

6.       You and your company don’t see eye-to-eye

Maybe you want to be with a company that is innovative and always looking to the future, but you’re stuck in a company that has the “it’s always been done this way” mentality. This can be like a cancer for the creative types. Lucky for you, there are plenty of companies out there who want to grow and evolve with the times. Align yourself with one of these companies and your work day will be that much better.

7.       Your skills aren’t being utilized

This can go with number 6 to an extent. Maybe you have skills that aren’t being used because they are newer technologies that the company hasn’t implemented yet (or never will). Getting your manager to see where you’re coming from can be like pulling teeth and you might be better off looking for a company that can see your skills and potential and are ready to put them to use day one.

8.       You aren’t being challenged

No one wants to do mind-numbing work, and if you’re finding yourself in this situation it’s time to move on to bigger and better. Look for a company that is working on projects that excite you, and keep interviewing until you’re a part of one of them.

9.       You and your boss are butting heads

This shouldn’t cause you to run for the hills immediately, but if you’ve taken steps to solve the problem and it continues to be unbearable then it’s time to seek new employment. If you’re being yelled at on a daily basis, and not being heard simply because of your title and not based on the competency of your ideas then it’s time to give that two weeks’ notice.

10.   The career path has come to an end

Keep getting looked over when it’s promotion time? Continually getting denied the raise you know you deserve? See ya! Sometimes the easiest way to get a promotion is to get it elsewhere, so get it.

11.   Opportunity is knocking

The biggest mistake you can make in your professional career is not seizing an opportunity when it arises. Maybe a friend tells you about an amazing opening at their company, maybe you get a call from a recruiter, whatever it is, take a moment and strongly consider it. Don’t turn down new opportunities simply because you weren’t looking for them. You never know, the next role you take could be the role of a lifetime. 

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