It was only a few years ago that the idea of voluntarily leaving a current job was a pretty risky thing to do given that the unemployment rate within the U.S. was very high. So many people were terminated and cast into a very rocky and even scary situation in that there were so many looking for work and so few jobs to be had. That was then.
Today, with the lowest unemployment rate in 16 years, the threat of being unable to find your next position is greatly diminished. As such, it may be the time to take a long and hard look at what you’re doing now and where you’re doing it. This, as a means of determining that your job is still right for you and moving you in the direction that you want your career to take.
In coaching I encounter two groups of individuals within organizations that are potential candidates for moving to another company and job. One group includes those who easily express frustration, unhappiness and even boredom with their job. As such, it greatly affects their approach to the job, their enthusiasm for it and otherwise zaps any positive energy they are inclined to put into it. This group appears to be the more obvious candidates for a job change.
The second group includes those who have expressed how content they are at work and, as indicated in an article by Camilla Cho’s article “7 Signs You Should Leave Your Job”, they can find themselves at a point of complacency. “Complacency tends to generate excuses (“I’ll put up with this just for a few more months,” or “I just don’t have time to do a job search right now”) and leads us to settle (This job will do for now,” or “Maybe I don’t need to be a VP [or fill in your blank dream job here]). Worst of all, complacency will eventually lead to fear. And fear holds us back.”
Regardless of the group in which you might find yourself, you come to realize that you are not contributing or receiving the value or satisfaction that could otherwise be present. Often, the best resolution for you AND the organization is when you can identify the issues and address them with current management. Yet sometimes, the solution is realizing that you need to move on in the form of finding another position in another company that allows you to rekindle the enthusiasm and related energy for what you are doing and where you want to go.
Here are some of the signs that changing ones’ job might very well be the best solution for the individual and the company as indicated in Cho’s article ~
- You’re Living the Status Quo
– being in the same company and position without any advancement or promotion for the past 3 years.
- You Don’t Get Feedback
– if your direct manager doesn’t provide feedback on your performance. The best managers are engaged with your career development and regularly offer advice and guidance—and if yours doesn’t, you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere.
- You’re Not Learning
– if your learning curve has flattened out or you’re really not feeling challenged, this may signal a need to move on. You often have to take this into your own hands, of course—asking to be involved in a new project, signing up for courses you’re interested in, or attending a relevant conference or seminar, for example. But if these possibilities don’t exist at your current job, it’s a sign that the company is not serious about investing in your career development.
- Headhunters Want You
– those annoying emails and calls from recruiters may not result in a new job—but don’t ignore them completely. They may indicate your industry is “hot” and companies are hiring (read: a great opportunity to move up in position and salary level). I usually consider these conversations as market research to see who’s hiring, what roles and functions are in need, and the average salary range for comparable jobs.
- It Feels Like Time to Go
– beyond these warning signs, don’t ignore what your gut is telling you. No one knows your work environment better than you do. And if you get the sense that you might be better off somewhere else, heed that inner voice and go exploring.
I am in no way advocating that everyone feeling some kind of frustration at work should immediately be conducting a serious job search. I am suggesting that recognizing one’s frustration should be the catalyst for working to deal with it where you are as a first step. Don’t presume that the boss knows what you are experiencing or even needing.
However, if you have tried this (presuming you like where you are working of course) and have been unable to resolve things as you need them to be in order to advance your career and sense of fulfillment, then today just may be the best time to move on that we’ve seen for a long time. It sure beats complacency in more ways than one!