Never Outstay Your Welcome: Knowing When It’s Time to Leave, It’s Time to Leave

Because it can be so difficult to get a job, it is even more difficult to make the decision to leave one. Even a tremendous offer from a new company may pale in the wake of long years of camaraderie, stable employment, and pure comfort.

When it’s time to leave, though, it’s time to leave. The signs are probably out there – whether on your side or your employer’s. It’s up to you to recognize them.

I had a job once in which I was a manager, and a recognized performer. Despite my success in my position, I began to be very unhappy in my work. I had achieved about as much at that company as was possible for me.

In order to be promoted in any meaningful way, I would have had to move to the company’s home office – and I didn’t want to. I also had an immediate supervisor who was very territorial, and while there were opportunities that came my way, I had to fight to win them at every turn.

After a while, I began to approach every day with massive feelings of resentment and self-righteousness. I was officious with employees and condescending to my superiors. And when I finally got off my butt and got a new position with a new company, I was so happy that had my new employer required me to donate blood on a daily basis, I would have done it.

There are people who thrive in a secure environment. Completing a series of daily tasks gives them a thrill. However, unless you are in top management and have a definite role in shaping the company’s continued success, you may run out of new challenges. If you are a person who craves new tests, you can’t turn back the clock. When that time comes, it’s time to leave.

Your signs that it’s exit time:
• You hate going to work
• You have no prospect for promotion
• There are long-term, adversarial bosses who give no indication of moving on
• Your salary has remained virtually the same for a marked length of time
• Your company’s financial position takes a dive
• Your company’s reputation is on the skids
• The company’s benefit packages are becoming increasingly weaker
• You are turning down positive opportunities in favor of wallowing in your comfort place

There can also be indications that your company has not remained the positive environment it once was – and things could get worse.
• Promotions that could – and should – have come your way, don’t
• Benefits are becoming scanty
• Word on the street is that your company is having “issues”
• Your job description has changed drastically without your input
• Your most recent evaluation has conspicuous areas of “concern”

Being able to recognize when your time is up is one of the most important parts of being a professional. This isn’t your dad’s corporate world, and most of us don’t go from college to retirement with just one company. There may be no gold watch in your future, so don’t wait to make a positive change in your own life.

Being happy is much better than being comfortable – and far better than finding yourself unemployed.

Dave Saunders helps people stand out and “Be the Brand” as a personal branding and marketing specialist. Manage your career online: Create, Enhance and Share a better resume, free at

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