Workers have been voluntarily leaving their jobs in droves over the past two years. So much so, in fact, that the movement has now been dubbed “The Great Resignation.” Motivations for seeking a new career opportunity have spanned everything from a desire for professional advancement to the need for increased flexibility. 

While work won’t always be filled with rainbows and jelly beans, when the bad days begin outnumbering the good ones, it may be time to seek opportunities elsewhere. After all, being in the healthcare field should feel purposeful and fulfilling, not strenuous and taxing. When you’re genuinely dissatisfied at work, it can negatively impact your physical and mental well-being, as well as patient outcomes. 

Pursuing a career change is a big decision – one that should be approached thoughtfully. So, how do you know when the time is right to move on? Here are 5 signs that you’re ready to step into a new role. 

1. You’re Stagnant & Not Expanding Your Skills

People are intrinsically drawn to opportunities that serve as a source of personal and professional growth. When your career ceases to challenge you, it can feel like you’ve hit a rut or lost your sense of purpose. It’s one thing to excel at your job, but if you’re simply going through the motions, you won’t truly feel fulfilled.

Whether you’re a physician or a medical director, continuously expanding your knowledge and adopting new skills is integral to staying competitive in today’s ever-evolving healthcare landscape. You never want to limit your growth potential by staying in a role that doesn’t expose you to opportunities to acquire new skills or learn new technology. This is especially true if you’ve approached senior leadership about professional development initiatives and no action was taken to support your growth. 

2. Work Causes Feelings of Burnout or Dread

Burnout is a perennial issue that has been further exacerbated by the pandemic. Many specialties, like Pediatrics, Perioperative Services and Emergency Medicine, are already known for their high-pressure environments. When you add long (or inflexible) hours, mounting administrative burden, the stress of an understaffed practice, and rushed time with patients, it can adversely affect job satisfaction, psychological well-being, and the quality of care delivered. If you’re working under these conditions, and it’s causing you to feel exhausted or burnt out, it’s time to seriously consider leaving it behind.  

3. Your Ethics Are Being Compromised

When you find yourself compromising your ethics, it’s a major red flag. The healthcare space is riddled with regulations and compliance standards to facilitate ethical practices and safeguard patient confidentiality. However, if these systems are being undermined, patients are being misled, or harmful methods are being used, the long-term implications for your career could be grave – even if you aren’t directly responsible for the issue at hand. 

The bottom line: never compromise your values, speak up for what’s right, and align yourself with a healthcare organization that shares your morals and takes pride in the quality of care they deliver. 

4. You’re in an Unhealthy Environment

Every so often, we face the unfortunate reality of finding ourselves trying to navigate an unhealthy – or even toxic – workplace. An unhealthy work environment can include dishonesty among leaders, ineffective or consistently negative communication, harassment of employees, and controlling or punitive management practices.

A toxic company culture often leads to significant turnover, a reluctance to speak up due to fears of retaliation, physical and emotional distress associated with going to work, and even constant gossiping among employees. It’s an unenviable position to be in, and it can impact every facet of your well-being. If you find yourself in this scenario, it’s time to look for a new opportunity – one that’ll inspire and motivate you instead of tearing you down.

5. There Are Better Opportunities Elsewhere

Even when you are surrounded by supportive colleagues and feel comfortable in your role, if there are significantly better opportunities available in your field, you should consider pursuing them. 

Why? Because there may be opportunities for career advancement, professional fulfillment, a higher salary, or better networking and speaking engagements that align with your career goals and match the value you bring to the table. Don’t let comfort hold you back from seizing a position that recognizes your worth and satisfies all the things you’re looking for in a potential employer.  

Move Forward in Your Career

If you’re ready to move on, the next step is to ensure your candidacy stands out by effectively communicating your value and skill sets to potential employers. At Polaris, our team of healthcare recruiters can help you strengthen your resume, sharpen your interview skills, and discover career opportunities that align with your professional goals. Contact Polaris today to learn more about how we can help you make your next career move.