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Knowing when it is time to find a new job is no easy task. A lot of us would agree that no job is worth your happiness, and I have been guilty on many occasions of imploring friends to “just leave” when they seem especially down after a hard week. However, in reality, every job has bad days as well as good days.

I had a friend who at one stage disliked her degree so much that she was overwhelmed with stress and wanted to quit, her parents urged her to complete it, she did and is now in a job she loves. A job she wouldn’t have got if she hadn’t completed her degree. Equally I have had jobs that have put me terrifyingly out of my comfort zone (one making sandwiches weirdly), but as a result of the challenges I found myself becoming more adaptable and confident – hence I certainly do not regret undertaking any of those jobs.

Going through a rough patch or facing adversity in your career is not a bad thing – it teaches you what you like and don’t like. That being said, being able to decipher what is a rough patch and what is a dead end isn’t an easy task.

Here’s 5 key things to consider:

#1 How do you work? Does this fit in with your current job?

Most of us remember being at school and doing all kind of assessments with the aim of realizing what kind of learner we are and what learning style works best for us. This doesn’t magically change when we reach adulthood, and should certainly be considered when we are deciding how good a fit our current job is. If you are fiercely independent, then a work environment with a lot of micro-managing going on will probably have you going mad. Equally if you like the security of guidance and a good training program, then consider if this is something your employer does/could offer you.

#2 Do you fit in with the company’s culture?

People come in all shapes and sizes, and you certainly shouldn’t be passing up the opportunity to work with someone different to yourself. It is perfectly normal to not gel with someone in your workplace. That being said, if you find the majority of people in your company have completely different views and outlooks to yourself then it may be worth considering whether you will be happy there. When I was at school I worked briefly in a shop where the attitude of the staff was largely negative, misery really is contagious, so naturally I quit as soon as I could find something else.

#3 Does it align with what you wanted to do when you were little?

When we were younger we all had a dream job. Unfortunately, not all of us can be rock stars, models, presidents and artists. However, what you wanted to do as a kid, before you had to worry about the practicalities of life, can reveal a lot about your core interests.

If you loved to sing when you were little, you obviously enjoyed performance and being sociable – a job that involved a lot of time by yourself with little social interaction may not be a good fit.

#4 Is the situation likely to change (if you are unhappy)?

As I mentioned above, every job has good and bad days; one bad day shouldn’t have you running for the hills, especially if you have enjoyed the job up to this point.

You should keep a mood journal and decipher how frequent it is that you feel unhappy in your role. At the end of a set time period (e.g a month) – look back. If the bad mood coincides with a certain person or situation, consider how likely it is that this situation will continue. Do you feel able to cope with it if it looks likely to continue for a prolonged amount of time.

#5 Are you still growing in your current position?

Learning should not stop as soon as you finish formal education, at an early stage in your career (and beyond) you should be soaking up skills like a sponge. These don’t have to be hard skills at all, they can be as simple as learning how to ensure you get to meetings on time, or learning how to get people on side when you are arguing a difficult point. Whatever these skills may be, they are all important.

If you are finding yourself completing the same tasks day in day out, even if you are perfectly content, then it is definitely worth considering changing your role. This doesn’t have to mean it’s time to find a new job, it might be as simple as asking for new responsibility, either way make sure you are constantly growing

Sofia Geraghty

Sofia Geraghty

Sofia is a blogger living in London. She is Head of digital at parliament street ( a political think tank) and is particulalry passionate about social inequality and personal well-being.

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