Looking for a new job can seem like a major hassle. After all, sending out resumes, going on interviews, and negotiating a salary aren't anyone's idea of a fun way to spend time.
But if you're sticking with the status quo despite problems with your current position, you probably aren't doing yourself any favors. In fact, by continuing to work at a job that's no longer right for you, you may be stalling your career development and preventing yourself from maximizing your earning potential.
So how can you tell if you should start exploring the possibility of getting out? Here are three signs it may be worth trying to move on to new opportunities.
1. Your work is causing you stress
Most of us spend the bulk of our weekdays at work, coming home for just a few short hours before going to sleep. If you're unhappy at the place you spend so much time, it's definitely time to begin looking for a better situation.
Work stress can affect not just your happiness, but your health as well. So if the very thought of doing your job makes your pulse start to race or if you dread Mondays because it means you'll be thrown right back in with the wolves, it's definitely time to start sending out your resume.
2. There's no opportunities for advancement
Promotions and raises are important. If you don't boost your salary over time, you'll not only lose buying power thanks to inflation, but you'll also receive a smaller Social Security check since benefits are based on average wages over your career.
Some jobs provide many more opportunities to move up the ladder than others. If your job is a dead-end one and you're unlikely to be able to learn new skills or move into a more senior position, you may want to start looking for a different place where you can grow.
3. You're being paid less than you're worth
Being paid less than you should be is a major red flag. Not only does this suggest your employer doesn't value you, but it also means you won't have as much money to save for retirement or for other key financial goals.
The good news is, there's lots of information available that you can use to see if you're being paid the market rate given your skills and experience. In fact, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and PayScale all have helpful tools where you can find out if your employer is underpaying you.
If you discover you're being paid a lower wage than you should be, you can try to bring the information to your employer to negotiate a raise. But if your company simply refuses to offer a salary commensurate with your abilities, looking for a new job may be your best and only option.
Don't get stuck at a job that's wrong for you
If you find yourself in a situation where any of these three red flags apply to you, it's time to start doing the hard work of looking for a better position.
The sooner you act, the sooner you can find work you enjoy that pays you the wages you deserve -- so begin the process today.