Elite Executive’s Eva Grabner describes the tell tale signs when you should leave your job and provides practical tips for employees unhappy in their workplace.
Are you excited to go to work each day? Do you jump out of bed ready to meet a new exciting challenge? Do you have passion for what you do?
I hope so, but if not, maybe your job isn’t what you want to do for the rest of your life but if you keep convincing yourself, “This is fine, it’ll do for now, there’s nothing better out there”, you will stay in a role that doesn’t quite give you that rush to jump out of bed in the morning. If you find you are dreaded each Monday and living for each Friday, maybe it’s time to consider a new role?
I find that many people are just ‘content’ in their role. Unfortunately, this leads to complacency and that’s the danger zone. Complacency tends to generate excuses (“I’ll put up with this for just another few months”; “I just don’t have the time to do a job search right now”) and this leads us to settle. The danger here is that this leads to fear and fear holds us back.
I have seen too many smart and talented people who have stayed in ‘just ok’ jobs for too long. Then when they decide to move on, they’ve been out of the job market for so long that they can’t even take the first step to update their resume let alone apply for jobs. They’re gripped by fear of re-entering a new and very different market place from what they know. They have forgotten what it’s like to go on an interview. They feel inadequate compared to their peers and think that it’s too late for them to change.
These feelings of fear can be overwhelming and the easy way out is to postpone the search, ignore the matter at hand and to stay in your less-than-perfect job.
My advice to anyone who wants to advance professionally is to do this – Do NOT get complacent. In fact, be sure to check in regularly with yourself about your career happiness and your goals and if your job is giving you the satisfaction that it used to.
So, what are the tell-tale signs? Do you relate to any of these? If so, remember that a good recruiter can guide you through this time, calm the fear and assist you through the process. Find a good one and ask for their help. If they’re not willing to spend a little bit of time with you, then find someone who will.
1. You’re Living the Status Quo
You have been in the same company and position without any advancement for the past three years. If you want to move your career forward, and you have asked to be considered for positions over the years, but have been overlooked, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
2. You’re Not Learning
This is a big one for me. If you’re not continually improving and challenging yourself this is a signal you need to move on. You should be learning something new each day and improving on your core skills. If you find you are having to constantly ask to be involved in a new project or to attend conferences in your discipline or training which you are interested in and being rejected, then this is a sign your company is not invested in your career development.
If you’re not being given the feedback required to do so then it’s very hard to move up and grow as a professional. The best manager will spend the time with you to offer advice and guidance and if yours doesn’t then you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere.
4. There is a Constant Exodus
The revolving door situation where you find you are attending going-away drinks every Friday? Does everyone around you seem to be looking for a new role? If you notice a pattern of disgruntled employees (especially the good ones) this usually indicates there are better jobs out there. Now, I’m not saying to follow the herd but take heed and ask your colleagues why they are departing.
5. Regular Restructuring
If your company is constantly announcing a re-org or shuffling management around this may indicate leadership issues. Sometimes re-orgs are a good thing and offer employees a chance to stand up and shine but more often than not, they signal turbulence. A recent candidate told me that she had four managers in the space of 12 months! Now, that can’t be good.
6. Head-hunters Want You
Those annoying In-Mails, LinkedIn requests and Emails from recruiters may not result in a new job but don’t ignore them completely. If you are receiving a number of contact requests from recruiters then your skills may be in demand. Do some market research and call these recruiters back as they are the best source of information as to what’s happening in the market place.
7. It Just Doesn’t Feel Right Anymore
Beyond all of the above, I always say to people to ‘follow their gut instincts’. If you feel you may be better off somewhere else, then go exploring, see what’s out there and at least find out what your worth in the current market place.
Before you all go handing in your resignations, I always encourage people to speak with their Managers, see what internal opportunities there are for you but if you are meeting a brick wall then it may be time to move on. Considering we spend the majority of our lives in work, you owe it to yourself to at least evaluate your job situation. Even if you are perfectly happy in your current job you should make it a habit to check in with yourself or with a trusted recruiter at least every six months. Not only is it a good opportunity to review your accomplishments and regularly update your resume, but you’ll also keep on top of the current market conditions in your industry.
Best case scenario you will find more satisfaction out of your current job, or you’ll discover new, exciting opportunities!