6 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your IT Job
Sometimes it's obvious: Your company is bankrupt, your role has been redefined in a way that doesn't work for you, a recruiter makes you an offer you can't refuse.
Most of the time, though, you don't have quite such obvious signs that it's time to leave your job. How do you know you're not just restless? Is it really time to jump into job hunting?
The IT industry has a particularly high turnover rate. Sometimes, being part of that turnover is justified. Here are some good reasons to consider leaving your job.
1. You're in a Hostile Work Environment
A "hostile work environment" can mean different things to different people, but if that phrase fits your workplace, it's the number one reason to leave your job. Maybe your boss berates you publicly when you make a simple mistake. Maybe your fellow sysadmins are constantly complaining and undercutting each other's work in order to get ahead. Whatever the circumstances may be, a negative work environment is not one you want to stay in.
2. You Dread Your Time at Work
All of us get the Sunday night blues from time to time, but if you find yourself truly dreading Monday morning, or fantasizing about quitting in some epic way, consider what your emotions are telling you. What is it about your job that makes you unhappy? If the reason can be found on this list, or there's another difficult situation making you unhappy, it may be time to cut ties and start your IT job search.
3. Your Health is Suffering
Even if you don't consciously dread going to work, your body may be telling you something else. Stress can impact your body in ways you may not notice, so take some time to be mindful of what's going on physically. Are you taking a lot of sick days? Sleeping poorly? Gaining or losing weight without meaning to? Drinking too much in an effort to unwind? Be honest with yourself about how your work may be affecting your body. No job is worth your health.
4. You're Overqualified and/or There's no Opportunity to Advance
In some circumstances, you'll have to take a job for which you're overqualified. But if a year or two goes by and you're still answering password reset tickets while your cybersecurity certifications are gathering dust, consider looking for a role that's a better fit. Conversely, even if your current position was a match for your skills at the start, but you haven't been given any opportunity to increase your skills and advance your career, or perhaps you've been passed up for a promotion you worked for — those are signs that it's time to polish up your IT resume and get ready to move on.
5. You Lack Work-Life Balance
If you don't see your kids during your work week because of your late hours, your relationships are suffering, you don't have time to work out, or you can't remember the last time you were able to make it out to the ballpark due to your job stress, it's time to start thinking about looking elsewhere. To be fair, work-life balance can be tricky to achieve, sometimes even in a job you love. But if your current role makes it impossible, consider the options of moving organizations for a new 9-5 role, or even branching out on your own to freelance or consult for a more flexible gig.
6. Your Company is Going Downhill
While the IT industry may have a high turnover rate for some understandable reasons, is the turnover level in your own company shockingly high? Are there constant re-organizations and restructurings? Does the strategic direction seem murky at best? These may be signs that your company is going downhill. And that is a sign that it may be time to leave your IT job. If you see signs that the company is failing or you don't trust the senior leadership, it's time to look elsewhere. You don't have to go down with the sinking ship.
Deciding to leave your current role can be scary. Even if you recognize and accept the signs that it's time to leave your IT job, that still means stepping outside of your comfort zone. Job searching, interviewing, and starting a new gig all bring challenges, but also rewards.
If these six signs speak to you, you know what it's time to do. Happy hunting!
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