It’s the start of a new decade, when many people’s thoughts turn to fresh horizons and different challenges.

Our interests and goals naturally change over time, but how do you know if this is the correct stage to switch jobs, or even careers? The two are not one in the same, but there are some common signs when it’s right to be looking at the options.

Perhaps you’ve outgrown your current role, and no longer feel challenged. Or maybe the skills you are using are not really what you’re interested in – after all, just because a person is good at something doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy doing it.

And there are the more obvious signals: feeling stressed, tired, overlooked, or maybe just not believing in the company the way you used to. Money, of course, is always a major consideration.

Whatever is driving your restlessness, there are some important points to consider before you take the leap:

What’s Driving You Away?

As often as not, people want to leave their boss, not the company. Is there scope to move into another part of the business – perhaps one where your interests are more aligned with your job? Is there anything you can do to improve soured relations with an immediate supervisor who is making your life a misery? Is there the possibility of advancement to a more challenging and better-paid position? If the answer to all of these questions is “no”, then it’s probably time to get out.

Money Can’t Buy Everything.

There’s a helluva lot to be said for professional satisfaction. We spend about a third of our working lives at our jobs, and if you don’t like what you’re doing, it’s difficult to enjoy the remaining hours of the day. If you suspect a culture clash, feel as if you might be professionally compromised, or sense that stress levels may skyrocket, then be wary. Not all lucrative job offers demand unreasonable sacrifices, but try to ensure you don’t get stuck in an intractable position.

Where Does This Path Lead?

Think even further ahead – for career development, it’s not about this next move, but the one that comes after that. This is an important consideration for anyone who is switching jobs, but especially those wanting to shift into a whole new career. Will this new post add valuable skills or experience to your CV? Will is bring a wider professional network, or access to new opportunities? It might be a sideways move for now, but what about in the future?

Is There Any Substance Behind the Shine?

Big-name brands and “industry leaders” spend a lot of time and money continuously polishing their public image. This is particularly true of consumer brands, whose marketing ammo is trained on presenting a progressive, fun, personal and engaging persona to the world at large. But the external hype may bear little resemblance to the actual internal workings. Peel away the promotional façade and look at what’s actually on offer – do the tasks, terms and benefits meet your needs?

Do Your Research.

Take time to properly investigate the organisation you’re thinking about joining. Websites like Glassdoor might be helpful, but I personally am wary of the fact that all those who contribute remain anonymous. Instead, ask around among your personal contacts on networks such as LinkedIn, or even better, speak face-to-face to those with direct experience of working for your proposed company – you can tell a lot by their facial and physical reactions when you mention the employer’s name.

Eddie Finnigan is the founder of Glasgow-based Two Rivers Recruitment, which specialises in the fields of Aerospace, Engineering & Business Support.