Greetings Sonya,

What an interesting question: “How do you know when it’s time to switch jobs?” There are certainly a lot of different perspectives on this topic. I’ll give you my take, with the caveat that if you ask someone else, they might have different but equally valuable advice.

Most of us are working a job primarily because it (A) provides us a financial return for our time and effort, and (B) secondarily, we look for a job that we like doing or that we find meaningful and fulfilling.

If we ignore B for a moment, and just think about A, then it might be time to switch jobs if:

  1. The new job will pay better.
  2. The new job has a higher likelihood of paying better in the future.
  3. The new job is more secure (meaning you have a higher likelihood of maintaining your income).
  4. The new job has less physical risk or toll (meaning you can do the job longer).

Now let’s talk about B, fulfillment in one’s work. Some people need fulfillment from their work to be happy. Others are fine obtaining fulfillment elsewhere—from family, friends, or extracurriculars. For example, one person might say “It doesn’t bother me at all to do a job I hate if it pays well,” while another might say, “I don’t care what a job pays, I could never work a job I wasn’t passionate about.” Again, neither perspective is right or wrong.

So, back to your question: How do you know when it’s time to switch jobs? Certainly, it’s time when the new job opportunity has a high likelihood of providing you better and more reliable income and will be more unfulfilling and enjoyable. However, when the scales aren’t tipped entirely in one direction it can be difficult to know for sure when it’s time.

One last note. Here’s an article on a related topic, written by a team member at Thriveworks.

I hope this answer helps, Sonya!