Wondering how you know if you should stick with your job or get a new one? It's easier than you think. All you have to do is complete a couple of short exercises that will help you determine if staying put makes sense - or if the time is right to start looking.

Wondering how you know if you should stick with your job or get a new one? It's easier than you think. All you have to do is complete a couple of short exercises that will help you determine if staying put makes sense - or if the time is right to start looking.

First, ask yourself: If the economy was rockin' and you were sure you could get a job somewhere else, would you?

If you answered "Yes," then you have your answer. But don't run to Staples to buy resume paper just yet. There's more to be done before you start crafting your resignation letter.

If you're not sure of the answer, you'll have to do a little more work. Please don't send me e-mails complaining about this step - I realize it's annoying - but nothing can quite take the place of the good old "pros and cons" list.

So sit down with a blank piece of paper and get busy. Try to be objective and list all the pros and cons of your job. Once you've finished this exercise, the answer should be clear.

If you've decided you'd really like to leave, you'll have to do an effective assessment of the job market for your field. Take a week or two and get reacquainted with classified ads, job websites, employer sites and the other resources relevant to your industry.

Professional associations often offer job postings on their websites, so be sure to check those. And if you really want an accurate picture of what's happening in your industry, pick up the phone and call some carefully chosen recruiters.

If it appears that there aren't many openings, then it's time to make peace with where you are and start working on your professional reputation. We'll cover that next time.

Molly Luffy, MBA helps people create more career satisfaction and success through her coaching programs and articles. E-mail your questions to molly@jobpromotionsecrets.com.

New Year, New Career?

This is the first of four columns covering a question on many people's minds right now: What am I doing with my career? Many would-be job-seekers feel they can't make a move right now, but despite the state of the economy, companies are still hiring.

The four-part series will cover these common concerns:

Jan. 22: If I stay, how can I enhance my reputation and get promoted?

Feb. 5: If I leave, what's the best way to find a new job?

Feb. 19: If I want to change careers completely, how can I find something that makes me happy?