5 Signs It's Time To Leave Your Job (Even If You Love It)

How does the old saying go? "Choose a job you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life." A dream job is ever-elusive, with only a reported 7% of Americans claiming that they have their dream career. While the concept of a dream job is subjective, it typically pertains to a role that you find fulfillment in, one that rarely gives you the Sunday Scaries. For some, their dream role centers around a cushy paycheck, a corner office, and excellent health insurance. For others, it could mean having autonomy and flexibility to take charge of their schedule and work whenever they want, wherever they want.


Whatever the case, only a lucky few can really say that they're in a job they love and care about, and if you're one of those people, it can feel almost taboo to even consider letting go of that. But moving on to better opportunities is part of career growth, even if it means having to leave a healthy work environment, pleasant coworkers, and supportive management behind. Switching jobs is the only way to move on to greener pastures, but since you're leaving a role you're comfortable in, making a decision is exponentially tougher than when you're quitting a job you're not too passionate about.

Before crafting that resignation letter, it's worth doing a thorough self-evaluation of whether leaving the job you love is the right move. Here are some signs that you can take into account when making that decision.


It no longer contributes to your professional development

If you feel like you're stuck in a rut or perhaps have gotten too comfortable in a role where you're no longer learning or feeling challenged, it's high time to look for opportunities elsewhere. Stagnancy can put a giant damper on your career, and if you let it persist, you risk making yourself obsolete in a job market that's constantly evolving. "In a knowledge economy, which is the economy that we live in, if you're not continually pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you're going to become obsolete or irrelevant because the world moves very fast," Jodi Glickman, a career coach, told Monster.


Before leaving, it may be worth double-checking if your current role offers a ladder for you to climb. If you find that there's little room for further growth and development, you can't expect to make significant strides in that role in the future. And unless you're not interested in achieving bigger things, take your lack of career progression as a sign to look for opportunities that enable you to expand your skillset, take on more challenges, and grow as a professional.

It doesn't match your long-term goals

Goals change all the time, and your list of goals when you first landed your job may be in stark contrast with the goals you have now. If your current role can no longer accommodate the goals you've set for yourself, there's no point in locking yourself in at a company that can't sustain you. You're essentially only holding yourself back if you choose to stay.


For instance, if you've found a new focus and you know your current job doesn't offer the flexibility to let you explore your newfound passion, you're better off looking for opportunities that let you do what you truly want. It may be scary to leave your comfort zone, especially since it provides you with job security, but if your role keeps you from pursuing your lofty goals, you can't expect to achieve the milestones you want.

Your long-term goals may also coincide with your personal life. For example, if you're planning on growing your family and think your current job can't support that when it happens, consider moving elsewhere.

There's nothing left to accomplish

When starting a new job, most of us are eager to show that we have something to prove and that we have the skills to back up our swanky resumes. In the beginning, you may find that you were keen to take on one challenge after the other until you've reached the point where you're rendered indispensable by your company. Knowing that you're needed and valued is great, but there may come a time when you feel there's nothing left to prove. When you think you've reached the ceiling, you can take that as a catalyst to assess how to move forward.


If you feel that you've outgrown your job, your skills may benefit an organization that needs it more. You would know that you've plateaued if you find yourself getting bored with your tasks and you start feeling like you're only going through the motions. Intellectual stimulation is important in just about any role, and if you can no longer chase that, it's time to start searching for job opportunities that present you with a new set of challenges.

It no longer makes sense financially

Unless you have generational wealth and are set up for life, a job is a job at the end of the day. Its primary function is to put food on the table, regardless of whether you're happy with what you're doing or not. But even if you love your job, another organization may be a better fit for you if you're not compensated well.


Sometimes, people accept pay cuts if they believe a role can catapult them into lucrative opportunities in the foreseeable future, but if this isn't the case for you, then take it as a green light to start thinking twice. What's more, being underpaid may also mean that you're undervalued. If your company is not paying you what you're worth, or worse, denies your efforts in asking for a raise or a promotion, kickstart your search in finding a role that fits your salary requirement. Just be sure to do due diligence and determine how much you are really worth in the current job market. If you're confident that you can get a significant pay bump in other roles, leaving your current position is well justified.


It's important to love your job, sure, but if that means not being well-compensated, then it's not a job worth keeping.

The company's future is in jeopardy

No matter how much you love your job and your organization, how it fares is unfortunately not up to you. If you're uncertain about how the company will do in the future due to factors like the economy, save yourself the headache and try getting out while it's still early. Instead of drowning with the rest of the ship when the company reaches its potential demise, you may want to get ahead of everyone else and find a safety net while you still can. The last thing you want is to deal with the fallout of a company that's on the verge of collapsing.


Telltale signs of instability within a company include rounds of layoffs, the loss of anchor clients, major internal restructuring, and an acquisition or a merger. If you find yourself getting anxious about the future of the organization you're in, don't wait until you're forced to leave. The wise thing to do is to seek new opportunities, ideally in a company with a stronger foothold — a company where you can see yourself spending many of your working years.