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Five Signs It's Time to Find a New Job
By Suze Orman

Building a satisfying career requires a commitment to playing offense rather than defense. Take control of your job destiny and make the moves that will put you in a position to actually enjoy your work. Simply waiting for things to work out, or sticking with a bad situation -- playing defense -- is a breach of self-respect.

You deserve to enjoy your job, to feel appreciated and challenged by it, and to be fairly compensated for your work. If that's not how things are playing out at the moment, it's time to take responsibility for your future.

Now I'm well aware of how daunting it can be to contemplate changing your job, let alone changing careers. And it can take time. But you can't afford to just suck it up and stay in a job or industry that bores or frustrates you. Professional dissatisfaction is bound to seep into your personal life: You -- and your loved ones -- shouldn't be resigned to having you spend the majority of your time unhappy.

Deep inside, you probably already know if you need a new job. But let me provide the final nudge: If any of the following scenarios ring true, it's time to make a change.

1. Friday Is Your Favorite Day: If all you can think of Monday morning is how many hours until Friday, quitting time, you've got a problem. You don't have to love every minute of every working day, nor every colleague all the time, but if your overriding approach to the work week is dread, don't stay where you are.

2. You're Bored: If you still have another 10, 20, or 30 years of work ahead of you, coasting is not an option. What seems "easy" now is actually very dangerous. Rather than growing in your career, you will stagnate. You won't get the promotions -- and raises -- you want, and you won't acquire the skills to keep professionally growing.

3. Stress Is Your Middle Name: Yes, every job comes with stress, but it's up to you to measure the magnitude of what your work takes out of you. If you feel incredible pressure throughout your time at the office, take your work home with you, and then can't sleep because you're wound up so tightly, you need to rethink what you're doing to yourself.

4. You're Underappreciated (and Overworked): You deserve respect. It's that simple. If you have a boss that doesn't value your work, or your company doesn't treat its employees well, it's probably time to move on. Of course, it always makes sense to try and turn around a bad situation. Talk to your boss about how you can better work together, or look for other opportunities in the company. But please don't play martyr and suffer through a work atmosphere that makes you feel "less than."

5. You Keep Saying, "If I Could Do It All Over, I Would Be a ....": Don't sell out your dreams so fast. If you're constantly thinking about doing something else with your work life, you owe it to yourself to see if you can make a go of it.
However, switching careers can take years of planning, both in terms of scoping out the new work and preparing for the financial changes the switch can entail. The career you start with is not necessarily the one you must end with.

While I'm all for chasing dreams, you're not to use the going-back-to-school excuse to get out of a job you dislike. Going back to school is not a career plan. Scoping out a job or industry that truly interests you, and then researching what it will take to both start and succeed in that field is a career plan. If, after all that research, it's clear that you need to go back to school, then go for it.

Don't Wait Till You Hit Breaking Point

Recognizing you need a new job is the easy part. What's hard -- and often paralyzing for so many -- is how to move forward. Being stuck seems to have become a career stage. Let's get you moving forward in your career.

The most important step is to take responsibility for your future. The idea here is to strategize and plan. Think about where you want to be one year or three years from now. Let your boss know your career goals -- don't assume he or she can read your mind. If your boss isn't interested in your career progress but you like the company, scope out other opportunities at the organization.

Looking before you really need to is even more important if you'll be searching among new companies that have no idea who you are. It's going to take time. So please start looking for a job now if you want to make a move within the next six months.

It's your job to make your career work for you.

Suze Orman is the author of five consecutive New York Times bestsellers and has written, co-produced, and hosted five PBS specials based on those books. She is also the most successful single fundraiser in the history of public television. She hosts the award-winning "Suze Orman Show," which airs Saturday nights on CNBC in America, Asia, and India. She is contributing finance editor to "O: The Oprah Magazine," "O at Home," and the "Costco Connection Magazine."


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