According to a recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), American workers are quitting at the highest rate today since 2001, due to a tight labor market. Employees are currently in an excellent position to ask for better pay and benefits — or choose to move on.
"We're seeing high worker confidence in their ability to strike out and find a better job opportunity elsewhere," Glassdoor's chief economist Andrew Chamberlain told CNBC Make It in September. "For many, it's a smart move, as there's a clear advantage to increasing your earning potential by switching jobs."
Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch says there are several clear indications that it's time to make a change:
If you're constantly contemplating whether or not you should quit your job, then chances are, you should.
According to Welch, spending considerable time thinking about life somewhere other than your current company is proof that you're no longer engaged with your work. "If you're thinking about quitting all the time," says Welch, "you already know what you need to know. It's time for you to go find a better fit, face exciting challenges and grow in new ways."
The surprising thing, she says, is "about six weeks after you quit, if not sooner, you're going to realize that you waited about six months too long to walk out the door."
"That next job you thought might not happen? It does," she says. "Your former coworkers hating you? They don't. The company collapsing without you? It won't."
Yes, excessive job-hopping can damage your resume. But, according to Welch, staying at a company for too long can also hold you back.
"The longer you stay at one company," she says, "the more hiring managers start to ask, 'Can this candidate adjust to a different culture, a different pace, a different way of doing things?'"
She advises employees to stay at a company for three to five years. The only exception, she warns, is "if you've got a passion for what you do, and see an achievable path to the top." In this situation, Welch says, it's perfectly fine to stay longer.
Before putting in your two-weeks' notice, Welch says you should ask yourself, "When was the last time I did something at work for the first time?" If you realize the answer is "recently," then she says you may want to think twice before leaving.
But, if it's been a while since you've learned something new, now may be the perfect time to leave. "You're stuck in the kind of job I call a 'velvet coffin' — comfortable, but deadly to your brain and spirit, not to mention your career," she explains.
Welch says that once you get over the fear of leaving your comfortable role, "you'll look back and wonder why you waited so long."
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. If you have questions about your own career, email her at email@example.com.
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