You used to love your job when you first started. It offered you the right balance of motivation and challenge, but somewhere along the line you found yourself lacking the drive you once had. When do you know it’s time to move on to another job, company or industry altogether? Career and executive coaches agree that there are clear signs that may signal it’s time for a transition.
There was a time when you were excited to go into the office. You felt contentment at the end of a project, and a sense of pride every time you found a solution to a complicated issue. These days, your job duties have become mundane and routine, offering little room for creativity or challenge. If you’ve experienced any of the following signs, it may be time to change jobs, and broaden your search to other positions in your department that may provide greater job satisfaction:
- You feel stagnant and unchallenged – Every job has it’s routine tasks, but you’ve started to feel that the majority of your job is routine, boring, and lacks the challenge you feel you need in your career. This is a clear sign that you’ve outgrown your job, and need to put your skills to something more challenging and productive. You should have a discussion with your supervisor to determine whether you’re ready for greater responsibility. This may include working on additional projects that you may find interesting or have a more rewarding impact on the organization.
- You’re looking for other ways to express your creativity or find meaningfulness elsewhere – Dr Susan Berstein, career and executive coach and alumna of the University of Arizona, explains that an overwhelming drive to express your creativity and find meaning clearly means that you’re out grown your job. Your skills may have reached their peak. Changing jobs in your immediate department may mean you need additional technical skills or training, but it may be the best choice to keep you motivated and unlock your true potential. It may also help you establish a career path with more versatility. It’s important to evaluate what you enjoy, as well as what you don’t enjoy about your present job first in order to find the right fit.
- Your job is causing you stress and health problems – You start to experience symptoms of stress, including overeating, depression, aggression, and difficulty in relationships because of the excessive stress in your job. These issues not only affect your quality of life, but your overall health, as well. According to a study conducted by The Official Journal of American Academy of Neurology, high strain jobs were associated with higher risk of stroke compared to low strain jobs, especially in women. If these symptoms apply to you, it’s time to move on to another job that makes the best use of your skills without the added stress. This may mean working a different shift or applying for a job in your department that involves less responsibility.
A change may sometimes involve changing departments in your organization. Cross-lateral moves may gives you a new perspective on other business facets of your organization, and introduce you to a brand new career possibility. The signs below may point to this type of change:
- You’ve lost your passion for your work – You no longer value the work you do. It may be because your interests have changed or you’ve discovered a passion for a different area of your organization’s business. It’s best to speak to your supervisor to see if there’s another department in the organization that may be better suited to your skills and career goals.
- There’s no room for professional growth – You’ve capped your skills in the department. You’ve taken courses and seminars that have helped you grow in your field, but your department doesn’t offer opportunities for promotions or more challenging roles. A department change may offer more career development opportunities, as well as leadership roles, if that’s something of interest.
- You can’t envision making a career in your department – You thought the job, team, and manager were a great fit for you when you first started, but now you no longer see yourself dedicating your career to that one department. There may have been changes in management style or the department’s strategic role in the organization may have changed. Human Resources might be able to give you more insight on other job openings in various departments, what skills and qualifications those departments may be looking for, and their strategic role in the organization.
Sometimes it’s not the job that’s a bad fit, but the actual organization. If you still enjoy your work, but don’t feel respected or appreciated by your manager or colleagues, it may be time to find a new organization whose culture is a better fit. Here are some crucial signs that this may be a valid solution:
- Your work environment is toxic, hostile or with questionable integrity – A toxic work environment is the exact reason to take your career aspirations to a different organization. You’ve made an effort to express your concerns to your supervisor about your hostile environment, but he or she hasn’t taken those concerns seriously or worse, made you feel like you overreacted. This is a clear sign that this organization does not respect its employees and may lack integrity. It’s best to leave before it affects your health and well being, and gets worse.
- You don’t believe in the values or culture of the organization – To fully love your job you need to believe in your company’s mission and culture. If you can’t stand by your organization, you will never truly be as successful and productive as possible. When your organization’s culture goes against your works style you will not reach your true capacity or achieve job satisfaction.
- You feel your skills and knowledge are not respected – You like the work you do, but you don’t feel that either management or your colleagues respect your skills and expertise. Unfortunately, in this type of environment your ideas will not be recognized, and as a result you may be passed over for any type of promotion. The only solution is to find a better employer fast.
Although it isn’t always easy, an industry change may sometimes be the best option for some employees. It may be extreme, but the signs below are clear indicators that this change needs to happen:
- You don’t like people in your industry – You’ve gained the skills necessary in your job, but you don’t feel a connection with people in your industry. You have little in common with them as far as interest and drive for your field is concerned. You may need additional skills, but the time and money involved may be worth diving into a new field that would give you greater meaning and career satisfaction.
- You don’t value the advancement and changes in your industry – You’ve attended conferences and taken classes to enhance your skills, but the changes and advancements in your industry seem meaningless or overwhelming to you. This is a time to reevaluate your current lifestyle, and to see if you’re able to maintain the certifications that are required in your line of work. If you’re unable to do so, you may be better suited for work in an industry that doesn’t involve rapid change.
- Your skills are better suited to a different industry – You may have several skills under your belt, and different interests without a solid career plan. It may be a good idea to research what career options you may have based on the skills and experience you do have. Many fields like Sales and Marketing, for example, have several skills and opportunities that overlap, and provide a great deal of career opportunities.
Making a change is always difficult, especially when it comes to our careers. At first it may seem difficult to determine what kind of change we need to make. Is it best to just make a job change or department change or something larger, like and company or industry change? Although we’re the only ones that can ultimately decide the best route, most experts agree that changes in motivation, passion, and interest signal a transition that must be confronted in order for us to ultimately achieve our lifetime career goals.