Your employer's current success and future plans are crucial to your career progression. Although poor trading and business crises can provide interesting and challenging experiences, such problems may - and usually do - markedly reduce career opportunities. In the medium to long-term, employers in difficulties are unable to offer the scope and future advancement necessary for ambitious individuals. There is also naturally a question mark over job security. Remember, if you feel insecure, it is best to jump before you are pushed.

If your employer merges, or is acquired by a larger group, it is probable there will be duplication in many functions. If this happens, it is wise to find out as soon as possible who are the likely candidates for redundancy.

Personal Relationships
Another fundamental influence on your working life is your relationship with your manager and your peers. Your manager has a significant influence on your career path and it is important you feel valued and respected as a member of the team.

If relationships are poor and unrewarding, examine your situation and try to rectify things before it is too late. If you do not, your career progression can be stalled, as it is unlikely you will be given more demanding and progressive projects.

Another common complaint is that management has failed to deliver promises. Where your manager is a believer in the 'carrot and stick' approach but has failed to deliver the carrot, trust is often betrayed and it can be a good time to say goodbye. For example, if you are sure your salary and benefits package does not match the current market rate, and your manager does not appreciate this, this reason alone can be a major factor in deciding to move.

Self Development
Developing skills and new techniques is essntial to enhance your career prospects. If, after some time, you feel you have reached the top of your learning curve and there is little possibility of further developing your skills, it is time to consider moving on.

However, when you reach this point, it is wise to first ask your employer about possible internal promotion, which would enable you to expand your role and responsibilities. A definite 'no' or a fudged answer will determine your course of action.

Another reason often cited for changing jobs is that skills and experience have reached the same level as the manager's. Quite often in such cases the manager is comfortable in his/her position and unlikely to leave for several years automatically ruling out scope for promotion.

If you realise you are beginning to be lax, are regularly late, leaving early and find it is becoming a real effort to motivate yourself, it is definitely time for a change.

Boredom in a dead-end job is the best reason for moving on. A new employer can provide you with a refreshing change to your routine, together with new opportunities and responsibilities and, hopefully an increased salary package.

Aside from work-related problems, other events can influence and determine your need to move on. For instance, a few too many at the office party, making a pass at the boss' wife or behaving in an anti-social way will require swift explanation and contrition. Depending on the degreee of embarrassment, you may consider the option of changing employers as an easier escape route!