How to Know When to Leave (or Stay) at a Job

January 4, 2016

[firefly productions/corbis]
[firefly productions/corbis]

This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on The Edge, PRSA’s New Professionals Section blog.

Should I leave or should I stay? When do you really know that it’s the right time to move on from a job for something new? It’s a difficult question to answer, but one that many people face in today’s working world.

Gone are the days when you were expected to — or wanted to — stay in the same job, in the same workplace, for the rest of your life.

Here are some questions that you should consider:

Is there room for improvement?

The first thing to look at is if there is room for improvement in your current role. Figure out what it is that you like and dislike about your role, and how you could potentially address the dislikes.

Oftentimes, employees are hesitant to speak up about their dislikes about the job. But, in reality, your managers may be able to provide a way to make your daily work more enjoyable.

What are your long-term goals?

Consider your long-term goals. Think about where you would like to be in the next five to 10 years, and what you are going to need to do or learn in order to get to that point.

A good employer will want you to grow with them, as opposed to leave for a different opportunity. So by expressing the things that you’d like to work on, you could end up with new opportunities that will help you reach your long-term goals. If you don’t see your employer assisting you in reaching these goals, then it may be a sign that you should look for one that will.

Can you grow in your current workplace?

Take a look to see if there is room to grow within your own organization. Is there a position that you can see yourself moving into if an opportunity presented itself? Is there a chance that you could be promoted within your organization to a role that you’d enjoy more?

In larger organizations, this is often a plus. But in smaller organizations, a higher position may not exist, which may be a sign that you’ll have to move out of the company in order to move forward in your career.

Are you happy?

Last, ask yourself if you are happy in your current workplace. Sometimes, it can be that your current role is making you unhappy but the actual workplace is somewhere that you genuinely enjoy working. Other times, you may be completely over the place that you work, and know that even if you had a different role, you still wouldn’t be satisfied.

If there isn’t a chance that you think you could work with your current workplace to improve your role — or move to a position you’d like better — then that’s a sign that it’s time to leave.

Moving on from a workplace that you’ve grown in and are comfortable at can be a tough decision, but in terms of your happiness and your employment, it’s OK to think about what’s best for you.

If you have grown out of your current role, and don’t see a chance for you to develop professionally anymore, then your employers will understand your desire to find another opportunity that is better for you and your career.

Lauren Marinigh
Lauren Marinigh is a PR and marketing professional based out of Toronto. You can learn more about Lauren at or on Twitter at @marinighPR.


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