Do I Need a New Job or Just a Break? A Career Specialist Weighs in

Bored or burnt out? Underwhelmed or underpaid? If you’ve been working through the pandemic, you might be feeling like you’re professionally languishing, failing to make career progress, or just struggling to find joy at work.

With widespread labour shortages across the country, job seekers now have a wealth of new roles to choose from. As a result, more of us are questioning what we do for work, why we do it, and who we do it for.

In fact, new research by Indeed revealed that one in four employed Australians is actively or passively looking for a new job. Interestingly, though, of those who recently resigned from a role, 15% ‘boomeranged’ back to their former employer, and another 40% were seriously considering a return.

This shows us that if you’re looking to re-energise your career, starting a new position in a different company may not be the best way forward. If you’re feeling flat or lacking motivation, taking a well-earned break could in fact be the right choice, especially during or after times of intense stress. Or, if you are still craving a change, you might consider an internal role or promotion that’ll keep you in the same company, but is better fits your ambitions and skills.

Unsure if you’re ready to tackle the demands of a new job or if what you really need to boost motivation is some well-earned, restorative time off? Here are three scenarios to help you identify what exactly you’re feeling and what to do.

It’s Time for a Break When…

There are several tell-tale signs that indicate you’re in need of some time off. If you regularly arrive at your desk feeling unmotivated, if you dread your morning team meeting, or if small, inconsequential things ruin your day, you could be suffering from burnout.

If you’re feeling apathetic, having trouble staying organised when you’re normally on top of deadlines, or have become disconnected from your colleagues, it’s worth speaking with your employer about what’s impacting your performance and if an extended break could make a difference.

Taking time away and potentially seeking expert help will enable you to return to work rested and reinvigorated.

Get Ready to Negotiate If…

Do you love your job, but hate the hours or your morning commute? Maybe you’re not being offered a competitive salary and feel undervalued. Factors like these make us question our role within an organisation and while seeking out a new position in a new company is often our first port of call, it’s worth reviewing if a few simple adjustments are all you need to make.

Have the confidence to sit down with your manager and negotiate the changes you think will give you more fulfilment. This might include asking to work remotely, for flexible hours, or for a pay rise.

These small changes can benefit your lifestyle and job satisfaction, without having to go through the upheaval of leaving an employer and starting with a new one.

Chase That New Job When…

If there are fundamental differences between yourself and the organisation you work for, it’s time to consider a job change. It may be that you’re no longer aligned with the organisation’s values, goals, and beliefs, making it hard to fully commit to the work you’re asked to do.

If you’re constantly being overlooked for promotions you’re worthy of, not being offered pay rises, or feel unable to bring your true self to work, it’s time to broaden your horizons and search for a better career fit.

If working through the last 18 months has left you feeling unmotivated and quitting your job seems like the only route to take, pause for a moment and ask yourself whether you need a break, a renegotiation, or an entirely new role.

Sometimes taking some time off or renegotiating your position is all it takes to reignite your passion for your work. However, in some situations where an organisation’s values no longer reflect your own, or you no longer feel safe and comfortable, a new job will be the step forward you’re looking for.

Kate Furey is a Career Insights Specialist at Indeed.

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