Is there a right time to look for a new job

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“The stars will never align perfectly in your job search and if you wait for them to do so, a great opportunity could be missed,” says Andy Teach, author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time (Forbes).

Applying for jobs can be disheartening and discouraging, especially when the process is lengthy – which appears to be the norm. 75% of Australians who are currently searching for a new job have been looking for up to six months (Seek).

With that, abruptly quitting your current job before looking for new options may be the wrong choice.

“Some people wait until they hate their current job before they start looking for a new one. The problem is that they become stressed out and unhappy, and this comes across in subsequent job interviews” - Jacquelyn Smith

Knowing when to start looking can often be difficult to gauge (unless you’re unemployed, then there is no time like the present). Here are the warning signs within your current role that it may be time to look for your next opportunity:

  • You dream about retirement. Even if you’re Young“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” - Annie Dillard. Given that one third of your life is spent at work, envisioning an early retirement is neither realistic nor productive. The desire to retire early may mean that your current role is unfulfilling.

  • You’re dreading Mondays– 250 days out of a year are spent at work. If you’re spending five out of the seven days of the week waiting for the remaining two, it may be time to start searching for something else (Balanced Careers).
  • Lack of Progression – If you don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, in terms of progression or promotion opportunities, it can be hard to stay motivated and engaged. Often, career growth is more important than salary. Take the time to consider where your career will grow and steer your search in that direction.
  • Complaining about work has become Second Nature – If your conversations have shifted from the weather to constant complaints of your bosses, co-workers or work situation, it may be time to move on. There are times when certain projects can bring upon an increase in complaints and workplace disagreements, but it is when this becomes the norm that it becomes a problem. Experts also believe that there are certain times in life that are worse than others for launching a new job search. Here are a few situations that you should consider holding off your applications for:
  1. Wait until after that Vacation – Got a trip booked to Paris? Rather than risk being considered for a position and then having to leave after your initial hiring date, or delaying the start date, consider postponing your search until after you’ve completed your holiday. If the job is an amazing opportunity, the option is always there to consider changing your personal plans.
  2. After a life change – While we all would like to leave our emotional baggage at home, sometimes life gets the better of us. If you’re going through a divorce, pregnancy, renovating the house, or anything that would lead to increased stress, the job search should wait until your personal life has calmed.
  3. The Season – There are often budget and staffing issues when it comes to applying towards the end of year. Many businesses close for the Christmas break and postpone their hiring process until after the silly season.
  4. You’re in the middle of an exciting project – Finishing your latest project before moving on often makes sense. It’s personally satisfying to do this as well as looking good on your CV (Seek).
  5. It’s bonus or pay rise time – Holding on for a pay rise will give you a greater bargaining position in the marketplace. It may also be financially unwise to quit just before you’re due a bonus. Living paycheck to paycheck in a dead-end job is never anybody’s idea of enjoyment. But comfort often breeds complacency, leaving us stuck doubting ourselves and dreading any future job search. While there are other factors to consider, if your job is leaving you unhappy more often than not, update your CV, reinvigorate your LinkedIn and start applying.