We all wonder from time to time whether frustrations at work are symptoms of bigger issues or simply a matter of getting our job done. How can we tell when its time to start seriously considering our next opportunity? We know that a job for life is not part of the employment equation in this era of job mobility, so what should we look for as indicators that it may be time to consider moving on?
Stress – Do you dread starting your work day? Does your stomach churn or body tense up as you head to the office? Do your boss or colleagues regularly make your life miserable?
Stuck – Do you feel boxed into a corner? Does your role lack growth potential? Is your company strategy shifting away from your skill set or knowledge base? Are there political realities that you can’t easily get around? Are your career discussions with your boss going anywhere?
Unchallenged – Do you feel underutilized? Is your work so comfortable that your are on auto-pilot? Have you stopped learning? Do you feel hungry for more ‘substance’ to your work?
Culture – Is the culture positive, negative or neutral? Do you feel in alignment with those around you (not that you agree necessarily, but that you have a similar value in your approach toward work)?
Wrong fit – Has your role shifted to things you can do but don’t enjoy doing? Do you miss working in your sweet spot? Are you a global big picture thinker in a detail oriented role? Are you an introvert in an extrovert capacity (or vice versa)?
Company crisis – Are finances squeezed so you don’t have access to the same tools to get your job done? Is your industry being impacted by competition or new technologies? Does it appear that down-sizing is inevitable?
Any one of these things show up in our day to day world so keep things in perspective. Don’t start to jump ship with the first recognition of dissatisfaction. Give it some time, see where the challenges can shift. Are there things in your control that you can change? Talk it through with a friend, family member or mentor. Engage a career coach if you think you’d like some help navigating this situation. Pay attention to what is happening around you and within you, that’s where you’ll begin to see what those next steps might be.