It’s never easy to say stop. It’s never easy to get out into the unknown and go for different professional challenges. Especially when you have a comfortable situation when you know most of the variables at work. But sometimes, you need to take a leap of faith.
There may not be anything seriously wrong in your day-to-day work life. And yet, you still have the feeling that something is off. The question now becomes: Do you take the risk? Do you try to find something new? Or continue at a comfortable job because it’s what you’re used to?
I have seen many smart and talented friends and colleagues who have stayed in just-OK jobs. If they decide to take the next step, they’ve been out of the job market for so long that they can’t even start to update their resume. Applying for jobs is even more difficult. Fear eats away their edge and the thought of re-entering a different job market makes them uneasy.
If you find yourself in a tough spot, and ask a question about your career and finding a new job, the following telltale signs may indicate that it’s time to take the leap.
1. You’re Living the Status Quo
You’ve been at the same company and position without any advancement for the past three years. It’s time to consider looking elsewhere. Even big corporations, where it take a bit of time to get an advancement, don’t need so much time to offer something better. If it didn’t happen, start thinking about your next steps outside of the company.
2. You’re miserable every morning. You dread going into work.
When you feel great on Friday afternoon and start to stress out on Sunday afternoon. Because you think about the work week ahead – that is the sign that you need to change something asap! Get a new job and let it excite you. Wake up and dive into a new week with high energy – not easy to achieve, but entirely possible with enough self-awareness and hard work. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you.
3. You don’t get along with the people you work.
Of course, the first step is to try to fix the issues with an open mind and heart. Open communication and feedback can solve most of work-related problems. Sometimes, it is not enough. When your personal values and the values of your boss or colleagues are divergent, there is no training that will make things better. Start looking for options.
4. Work stress is affecting your health.
Working in a company with an unhealthy culture will have a negative impact on you physically and mentally. If the stress level is constant. If stress is present both inside and outside work. You need to act quickly. You’re burnt out. Work can be taxing for everyone, and we all occasionally feel weary after a long day at the office, but if your life is a chronic state of stress and exhaustion thanks to work, you’re probably suffering from job burnout.
Exhaustion from work can manifest themselves in a number of ways, from significant weight gain or loss and inconsistent sleep patterns to getting upset by every little thing that’s happening at work. When work starts affecting your health – it’s time to get out.
5. Your skills are not being tapped.
If you get yourself in a spot where management doesn’t acknowledge that you have more to offer. If you’ve been passed over for promotion or attempts to take on more challenging assignments and failed. And didn’t get clear feedback from management on why, however, you are no longer getting the plum assignments, you are no longer asked to attend key meetings, or your proposals are met with silence or denial. These are signs that you should be looking for a new opportunity.
6. 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 may not be learning something new every day on the job, but you should be improving upon your core skills and picking up new ones. Of course, your responsibility is to do your best and be proactive. Ask to be involved in new projects. Sign up for challenging side projects or for interesting training and seminars. If these possibilities don’t exist at your current job, it’s a sign that the company is not serious about investing in career development.
If you are bored and stagnating at your job and not learning anything new, it might be time to leave.
7. There is constant Restructuring
If your company is regularly announcing a restructuring or shuffling management around. It indicates leadership issues or a shaky strategic direction. We had a candidate that told us he had 3 different bosses in the last 16 months – a clear sign of trouble. Restructuring can bring good news. It can provide opportunities to step up. But more often than not, they signal strategic trouble for the company. Your personal career development needs will not be the company’s first priority. Your progress will inevitably be impacted.
8. You do not want your boss’s job.
Do you ever imagine being in your boss’s shoes? If the answer is no, you need to think hard about what’s next. Not aiming for your boss’s role is a sign that you might not be in the right place for long term happiness. I know a few people who come to us and say that they love their job but they are afraid of getting a promotion because they would hate to be in their director’s shoes. It’s too much stress. If you can’t look up to your boss, who else are you aspiring to be?
Once you realize it might be time to leave your job, you’ll first want to set goals for yourself detailing what you are looking for in terms of responsibilities, company culture, compensation, and benefits. Create a clear plan with a timeline for yourself of finding another opportunity and making your exit. Make sure you quit with grace. You will need to have a successful transition and knowledge transfer. You owe it to yourself to be professional. Your brand is your most important asset. Remember the golden rule of never burning bridges. In today’s world, the business community is well connected and people talk with each other, seeking recommendations before hiring people. Make a point to always take the high road.
And finally, don’t let emotions get in the way. Always be rational. Look at it from a business perspective. Is there a good reason to leave? Do I have the financial, career-building or emotional return on investment for such a move? If you feel happy with the answer, go for it with all your energy.
Many of us spend over 40 hours per week at our jobs. It is more than important to regularly evaluate your career situation. Even if you’re perfectly happy at your current job. It doesn’t matter. Make it a habit to check in with yourself at least twice a year. It is a good opportunity to review your accomplishments and update your resume. You will also have a better grasp of the market conditions in your industry. Always be open to opportunities.