Statistics have long suggested that working professionals will have up to seven careers in their lifetime.
However, this claim should be taken with a grain of salt — there’s not much substantial research backing that figure, and it becomes less and less relevant in our current job-hopping work climate.
The reality, according to several career experts, is not to anticipate a lifetime of seven long-term careers. It’s to plan to change your job regularly every few years, even if you like what you do and feel comfortable.
Change is difficult, but the benefits pay off in ways you might never imagined possible, both professionally and personally.
If you’re still on the fence about making a career switch, here are the experts’ best reasons why you should give it some thought. Here are seven reasons to change jobs, even if you don’t want to.
You’re coasting — and it’s becoming a problem
When we find comfort in anything, be it a job, relationship, or academia, there tends to be a period of time where individuals use that moment to coast.
Avery Roth, a career change coach, has seen many working professionals find their comfort zone and stay in it. She said the longer professionals coast, the more they have to lose.
“Coasting keeps you playing small and avoiding the fulfillment of your potential,” Roth told Business Insider. “While that may not seem immediately threatening, there will come a time when comfort with your job turns into boredom.”
Roth warns that the longer you stay put, the more energy is required to spur you into action in pursuit of self-growth. Her advice is simple: Act now by changing careers to avoid pain later.
Damian Birkel, founder of job-searching organization Professionals in Transition, echoed Roth’s sentiments about coasting leading to boredom. He also noted that your coasting may not be going unnoticed. Birkel said your boss and coworkers may already know what is happening simply by observation.
You’re actually losing money staying in the same job
Staying with a company for more than two years is detrimental to your salary and worth, Samantha Spica, a communications manager for the online careers site Fairygodboss, said.
“You start with a base salary and your annual raise is based off of a percentage of that number,” Spica told Business Insider. “There’s a limit to how high your manager can increase your salary.”
Spica said that by switching jobs, you can ask for a higher starting salary. And Birkel said that your new job should pay substantially more than your current salary.
The advantage that those in the process of changing jobs have is that they are able to negotiate from a place of strength. If the salary doesn’t work out, professionals may decline the offer and keep looking while retaining their existing role.
2019 is the best time to change jobs
If you’re looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it is already here in 2019.
Marc Cenedella, CEO of the careers site Ladders, said that 2019 has brought the strongest hiring economy in history.
“Companies are strapped for talent,” Cenedella said. “They are willing to consider people who are outside of the box. Job-seeking candidates are looking at a time when companies will consider you for roles they normally wouldn’t.”
Don’t feel an urgent need for change? Look for a new job anyway
Christian Eilers, a career expert at online resume builder Zety, believes the best time to change jobs is not when you feel an urgent need for a change.
Often when one feels pressured to find a new job, Eilers said, they will be more likely to accept mediocre offers and lower their requirements to get out of an existing position.
“Many candidates sleep through this moment,” Eilers said. “They stop advancing in their positions. Eventually, they find themselves in a place where they urgently need a new job.”
Rather than accept a role less than your worth, Eilers urges professionals to switch to roles that challenge them. This is, ultimately, an investment in your future.
“People who quickly learn new skills and gain experience from various places and situations are more easily adapted to the professions of the future,” Eilers said. “Settling down for a longer time without challenges and stimulation makes you stop learning and aiming for more.”
You may be secretly ‘gratitude shaming’ yourself
According to career coach Lisa Lewis, “gratitude shaming” is when you beat yourself up about not appreciating what you already have. It also minimizes your deep-seated desire for more. You may have an internal monologue that begs you to be happy where you are and what you have, even at the cost of wanting more.
“When you weaponize gratitude against yourself, it sends your brain the message that your ambition, hunger for growth, and desire to contribute on a bigger scale isn’t valid,” Lewis told Business Insider.
Rather than gratitude shame, Lewis advises understanding which of your four categories of core workplace needs that are not being fulfilled. This includes asking yourself:
Does this role use my portfolio of strengths?
Does it align with my areas of interest?
Does the culture of the organization match my personality?
Does this role enable the lifestyle I want?
“When one of the four needs isn’t being met, it’s a great moment to explore what other jobs are out there,” Lewis said. “Your gut will tell you if you’re in a season where you’re craving a bigger challenge and change. Don’t ignore that feeling.”
This is your chance to pivot into becoming a thought leader
Are there certain professionals you admire and want to be like one day? That day may never come if you stagnate in the same job.
Alissa Carpenter, owner of career and leadership development company Everything’s Not OK and That’s OK, believes you should start trying to seek out the thought leaders you admire.
“It will be easier to get face time with someone you admire if you’re both attending the same networking event or company function,” Carpenter said. “You may even have an opportunity for a skip-level meeting or coffee chat for a one-on-one conversation.”
It’s time to do what makes you happy
For over six years, life purpose and career coach Gracie Miller has helped people change jobs even if they weren’t sure they were ready for it. Miller finds that her clients do somewhat like their jobs, but feel like something is missing. They often find they don’t use a lot of their skills, are no longer interested in the work, and wish they could help people and find deeper fulfillment.
What these clients come to terms with is the realization that they wish they had found careers that paid for their bills and lit them up inside sooner. Miller discovers that it’s not always about wanting to change jobs for the sake of changing jobs. It’s the uncertainty that something better exists or that it does exist but you may not get it.
“It’s worth the risk to go for long-term happiness,” Miller said. “You have to act on the fact that deep down you know you could be more fulfilled.”
The trick, Miller said, is to do some self-discovery and research. Rather than look at the same terms in your current role, seek out fields of interest to find careers that might be a better fit. The happiness will ultimately go further than impacting your own sense of self.
“You will be happier for it, and your family, friends, and coworkers will be happier to be around you,” she said.