The time you spend at your job often exceeds the time you are with the most precious people in your life. You may feel a responsibility, an allegiance, to the company who pays your salary. But, what happens when things change at work and you lose that sense of loyalty and passion for the work you do? Do you know how to tell when to move on from a job?
One-third of your life is spent working and another third of your life is spent sleeping, which leaves the last third to do all the other things in your life that you want to do. Now that puts a lot of pressure on, doesn’t it? Should you spend that work time being happy about what you do so you can enjoy the other two-thirds of your life?
Career Transitions are not for the Faint of Heart
A career or job change can be one of the most stressful transitions we can make. So, it’s no wonder you may be putting it off, holding out for things to get better. Wishing for that boss to value your work. Hoping for the toxic co-worker to keep his negative attitude to himself.
Changes can be hard to make—and they are even harder when someone else makes the decision for you. When you are unhappy doing what you spend 40 or more hours a week doing, it will wear you down. Your personality may begin to change because of how you feel about your work environment and what you do within that space.
This is a good time to sit up and take notice before it’s too late to make a choice of your own accord.
Here are some tell-tale signs that can indicate you’re ready for a change.
You may start to sense that one or two of these are true for you. Or, you might go down this list and say, “Check—check—check—check—check!” Pay attention to how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking so you can choose your next steps.
After the learning curve flattened and you mastered the new challenges, there was nothing new to peak your interest or get the creative juices flowing again. And that was it. That was the job.
So, you show up every day and do that. You’re comfortable. You do the work and you get complacent thinking this is good enough. When you go to your manager to inquire about doing more and she tells you that’s the job, you may want to consider how you feel about continuing to do THAT every day.
2—Lowering Your Standards
You walked into this company with high expectations that you would learn and grow, move up, feel challenged, increase your skills and your salary. When this doesn’t happen, even when you are patient and wait, you may find yourself feeling like you could not care less if it happens at all.
This will become an energy drain and you will feel hard-pressed to muster what it takes to even do what you were hired to do. Your own standards are compromised.
3—Idling in Place
As you start to feel complacent and you lower your standards, you may find that you’re going nowhere fast. You’ve put your engine in neutral. You are bored, disconnected from the work you are doing, your co-workers, and the company. You feel unmotivated and as though you’re just going through the motions. If this is where you are, in neutral, it is likely someone is taking notice.
If you are typically an energetic self-starter, always looking for the next challenge, you are not a good fit for this environment. You may want to move on from the job and start looking for something that is much better suited and will enrich your life, rather than zap your energy.
4—Making Poor Decisions
Careless mistakes can happen when you’re not focused and have lost all concentration. You may feel a lack of commitment to this job because it isn’t feeding your soul. If you are expected to provide direction to others and the choices you make are haphazard, others may suffer the consequences.
Taking co-workers down with you is likely the last thing you intended, so making a change sooner, rather than later, could be the best course of action.
5—Taking it Home with You
If you struggle with one or more of these symptoms, it’s hard not to let your soul-sucking job come home with you. You may find yourself complaining about every aspect of the job, even if some are not so bad. Because this job drains every ounce of life from your body during the day, you come home irritable and cranky, taking it out on people who have nothing to do with the job that makes you miserable.
It’s really difficult to compartmentalize and not allow your bad attitude to permeate the other areas of your life. It’s better to step back and take notice of the effect your experience with the job is having on your family and friends.
6—Not Wanting to Get Up on Monday
Who hasn’t felt this every once in a while? After a long weekend, or a fabulous vacation or a late Sunday night?
It’s not the every once in a while you need to worry about. It’s when that feeling hits you every Monday morning or, even worse, every workday morning. You switch into survival mode and push yourself through another day at the office, feeling unmotivated, discontented—just plain unhappy. Another sure sign it’s time to move on to another job.
7—The Job is Harming Your Health
Working in an organization whose culture condones mistreatment, or whose employee relationships are dysfunctional, is not an environment anyone should choose to work within. The unfortunate thing is we often don’t know what the corporate culture is until we’ve already committed to working there—and it may take some time to put all the pieces together.
If you are feeling undervalued or undermined by co-workers and the management team seems onboard with that behavior, start looking elsewhere — and fast. This can become an unbearable situation, agonizing even. It can undermine your own health, causing stress and impacting your own confidence and self-worth. These are qualities that must be safeguarded at all cost, as they are part of who you are. No one has the right to rob you of yourself.
8—The Writing is on the Proverbial Wall
Probably the most evident sign for when to move on from a job is when you notice your co-workers leaving in droves. Or you may see the corporate culture is shifting due to a new management team and it no longer feels like it’s a good fit for you. Another sign may be that people have left your department and all their work gets moved to your desk, raising unrealistic expectations of your role.
None of these are within your control, for sure. What is in your control? Your response to the changing situation.
Deciding When to Move on From a Job
Whether you’ve checked off several boxes because the shoe fits or your situation is different and you are contemplating a change of job or career for some other reason, you may want to explore some of these questions.
Answering them honestly before you choose your next move may help to make this next decision one that will support and empower you to feel like it’s a good fit for sure.
- What motivates me to get up in the morning?
- What are my personal core values?
- What do I value in a work environment?
- Will this work be meaningful to me?
- What value do I bring to this work?
- Am I doing what I love? Or am I just doing what I’m good at?
- Do I wholeheartedly support the mission and values of this organization?
- Am I a good fit within the corporate culture?
Are you feeling any of these obvious signs that it’s time to move on? Maybe some of your signs are not quite so obvious, or maybe they are mired in beliefs that are holding you back from making the change. If you are in a job that is stealing your self-esteem and causing you to question your value—stop.
Perhaps it is time for you to think seriously about when to move on from a job you’re holding on to for dear life. Consider the real reasons you are holding on.
Are you willing to do one courageous thing and start the process of looking? Do it for yourself, for your health, for all the other people and aspects of your life that this job negatively affects. One step at a time.
Stepping onto Your Bridge
When life-changing moments flip the world upside down, I create a bridge for women so they can turn chaos into calm, build resilience and learn to live a life guided by their own values and vision. If you’re ready to take the first step onto your bridge and explore how change can impact you and how to move through it with more dignity and grace, get my free ebook From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.