There are not many finance professionals out there who, at one time or another, have not thought that they need to escape from a particular job, manager or company.
The feeling can emerge because of any number of reasons, including lack of career path, low pay and poor conditions, poor management or simply spending too long carrying out the same tasks.
If you have been in the same role for a while and have not been given any extra responsibility or received a promotion, you are very likely to have started to get bored. If you have already raised the issue in appraisals, but there is no clear progression path available to you, now is the time for a new challenge.
Likewise, if you are struggling with a heavy workload or need additional skills for your role but are not receiving the necessary support, you could be better off in an organisation that can provide you with extra training and adequate resources.
But before you make any decisions to leave, it is always worth carefully considering the consequences. Leaving a job or company generally has a big impact on your life and you should give the possibility plenty of time while, at the same time, try to speak to as many people whose opinions you value during the process.
As part of the process it is important to carefully re-evaluate your professional career goals. By breaking down goals into measurable, achievable action items, you will feel like you are making progress in looking for a new role while still employed in your current.
Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half, says: 'Knowing when it is time to find a new job is not always as clear as many would think – employees often become hazed by the true reality of job satisfaction, remuneration and working culture.'
Some suffer the ‘grass is always greener’ syndrome, resulting in hopping from job to job in search of a workplace panacea. Others may suffer job apathy, going through the day-to-day motions without much interest or drive.
Additional signs it may be time to move on include a noticeable change in attitude. Perhaps where you may have once been enthusiastic about new projects or initiatives, you have now become withdrawn or indifferent when your manager suggests a new task.
Likewise, you may have noticed a drop in productivity. While you may have once taken projects home or worked overtime, you find yourself punching the time clock. Also, forgetfulness about deadlines, meetings and appointments may mean you have disconnected from the job.
If you find you have lost your passion and drive, it is worth noting that you are not doing yourself or your team any favours if you have stopped being productive. It is unfair to the rest of the department if you have stopped pulling your weight and you risk getting pulled up on it by management.
You may also have started taking longer lunch breaks and have begun to be absent from work more often than usual. You may even have started to use up precious holidays just to avoid going into the office – if so, this is only a quick fix and will not cure any longer-term resentment you are feeling for the job.
Another tell-tale sign is that you no longer feel pride in your work. Job satisfaction is linked to self-esteem, so if you do not feel pride in your work, chances are it will impact other parts of your life as well.
Sheridan adds: 'If you have been in your role for a long time and are possibly frustrated, it is important to start looking for a new role about six months before you reach your breaking point. Doing so will allow you to weigh your options and pick the best opportunity versus jumping ship at the first job that comes your way because you’re fed up in your current situation.'
So what should you do when the time has come to find a new job?
Update your CV
Consider starting off by scheduling time every week to revise your CV, extend your LinkedIn profile, research new job opportunities and set up meetings with business contacts, including recruiters who specialise in your field. Reassess these goals monthly, and reward yourself when you meet key milestones.
A good percentage of trainees are let down during their job hunt by poor communication skills. Make sure you tailor your CV for each role and proof read each one before sending. Spelling or grammar mistakes appear sloppy and are easily spotted. Ask someone to proofread your CV and cover letter, preferably someone in the industry who will be able to help with tailoring it for specific roles.
Also try to keep your CV simple, truthful and as professional as possible. It is always advisable to tailor your covering letter and CV to fit the most important criteria in the job description you are applying for – and don’t misrepresent yourself and claim to have skills that you don’t have. Use white paper and a legible font.