Six Signs it is Time to Look for a New Job

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You may be one of the lucky administrative assistants in this economic downturn to have a job. A steady paycheck with a few benefits thrown in helps pay the bills and guard against a future health crisis. It would make sense to tough it out at your present job, even if it’s not everything you want, just to keep the cash flowing in. There are some signs, however, that signal it may be time to start dusting off the resume and begin networking. Being too comfortable in any job can be disastrous in today’s tumultuous workplace. Here are six signs that it may be time for you to start looking for a new job.

1. Your boss starts interviewing. Figure she is making probably twice what you are making, has more perks and benefits. Barring a major family crisis or a spouse’s relocation, when upper management staff starts finding other jobs, it can mean they know something about the company’s instability, financial situation or impending merger. The executive team gets sensitive information well before it filters down to the rest of the staff. If they start jumping ship, you may want to look around for your own lifeboat.
2. The company starts implementing cutbacks. Training gets cancelled because of lack of funds. The holiday party is moved from the Ritz Carlton to the cafeteria. The axe starts to fall for other admin assistants. Whole departments or functions are suddenly outsourced. Even though you are a long-term employee, you may be on a future reduction list.
3. Your boss or mentor moves on. Companies can become very political. When I was an executive assistant years ago, it was the practice for executive level managers to bring their assistants with them to a new position. Many times, the assistant got a promotion and salary increase as well. You could find yourself out of a job through no fault of your own, replaced by the new manager’s assistant.
4. Your boss reduces your level of responsibility or shifts assignments to other staff members. If you’ve had a mixed performance review, your boss may be giving you a “no confidence” vote by slowly reducing your responsibility and influence in the company. Before your reputation and working relationship deteriorates, it may be best for your career to move on.
5. You’ve reached the top salary range for your pay grade or position. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to always keep track of where your salary falls within the range for your position. When you reach mid-range, it’s time to start looking for your next position. If you stay and reach the top pay rate, you may find that you are too highly paid to move into another lateral position or may already be above the mid salary range for the next level up.
6. A Company merger doesn’t mesh with your values and goals. If your eco-friendly, community-minded Company was taken over by a profit-driven, process intense conglomerate that puts the bottom line before the environment, it may be difficult to support their mission. There is no point in just going through the motions at a job that causes inner conflict. The stress of finding another job will be less than working every day for a company that you don’t believe in.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a workplace consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing Alto II with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and creating original gift items available on You can read more of her blogs at and view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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