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You’ve known for some time that you should leave your job. You’re being underpaid, your boss is a douchebag, or maybe you’ve been wanting to make a career change for some time.

But time and again, Singaporeans find themselves remaining, sometimes for years on end, in jobs that are not right for them.

Instead of complaining incessantly to your friends about your job at every happy hour session or talking your spouse’s ear off every night about your boss’s latest gaffe, why have you not found another job and jumped ship? Here are five reasons you’re still stuck.


1. You’re too comfortable at your current workplace



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You don’t have to actually like your job to be too comfortable. Sometimes, staying in a boring job we mildly dislike is all too easy, especially when there are no strong push factors making it unbearable.

It’s true that job hunting, going for interviews, and then being the new guy/girl at the office all over again are all things that push us out of our comfort zone and aren’t always pleasant.

But avoid clinging so desperately to your comfort zone that you allow yourself to spend years in a state of indifference.


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2. You’re scared you can’t find the same benefits elsewhere



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Many horror stories abound of jobs with such terrible work-life balance that employees end up sleeping at the office, and bosses who are so inflexible they expect workers to account for time spent in toilet breaks.

That’s why it’s understandable that you might be scared to leave a job that offers good benefits like work-life balance and flexi work arrangements. Changing jobs might be a smart career move, but it’s easy to fear the cost at which that fat paycheck will come at.

Don’t think of this fear as a bad thing. You know what’s important to you. Your next step will be to actively look for jobs that offer the benefits that are important to you, or to negotiate for them if they’re not the norm.


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3. You don’t think you are good enough



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So you’re being underpaid, or you’re doing a job you’re overqualified for. It’s possible that the reason you haven’t jumped ship is that you think you’re not good enough to take on something better.

You think employers will trash your CV on sight, on you think that when you start at a new, better job, your inadequacy will be unmasked.

What you need to understand is that in order to grow in our careers and pick up new skills, some amount of discomfort is inevitable. Anyone in a new job is bound to feel lost, and will have to spend the first few months picking up new skills. That’s actually a good sign you’re learning and growing.


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4. You don’t know what your next career move should be



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When you want to make a career change or adjust the trajectory your career is on, you can end up feeling a little lost. Not knowing what your next career move should be can throw you into a state of stasis, where you stay stuck because you don’t know how to change course.

For instance, I have a lawyer friend who’s stayed in a job he despises for many years despite being qualified enough to easily get a job at another firm. He’s been thinking of quitting law, but as he doesn’t know what else he wants to do, he’s stayed stuck, and has been holding off on both getting a job at another law firm and making a real career change.


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5. You’re not looking actively enough



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Every time I get together with a bunch of friends, someone (or everyone, even) in the group will inevitably announce that they’ve decided to start looking for a new job. One year later, many of these same people will still be stuck in the same jobs.

The truth is, looking for a new job is hard work, and can feel like a job in itself.

If you’re not one of the lucky few to have job offers banging on your door, you’ll have to go through the rigmarole of searching for job postings, customising your cover letters to various companies, sending out CVs on a frequent basis, following up on your applications and then attending interviews without your boss figuring out what’s going on. And if you’re serious about it, be prepared to maintain a spreadsheet of all your applications.

I once had a colleague who managed to find a new job within three months, after sending out 78 resumes. That’s the kind of dedication you should be showing if you really, really want a new job.


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