Some days at work are better than others. However, when you can’t remember the last time you had a ‘better’ day, it may be time to look for a new job or a new company.
We all want the same things from our jobs as other key relationships including mutual respect, a feeling of belonging, appreciation and being challenged to be our best. Like any other relationship there are obvious signs that you need to get out NOW like being physically, emotionally, or verbally abused, bullied, or sexually harassed.
Outside of the obvious, here are five important signs it’s time for a change.
- Values disconnect. We make decisions based on the values which are most important to us such as integrity, security, authenticity, or autonomy. When something associated with our job goes against one of those values, the situation becomes intolerable. I had a client who came to me after receiving a bad performance review and written warning for termination. She felt a senior manager was gunning for her because she refused to sign off on something that was not in compliance with governing regulations. She became engaged in an escalating battle that had reached the president. I asked how she felt about working for a company who would continue to consider or consider not changing something once compliance issues were identified. That was an eye-opener for her. I don’t know whether she was correct about the regulatory issue, but it doesn’t matter. It ran against one of her core values which made it a no-win situation.
- Not feeling the love. We all want to be recognized and appreciated; we all want to be challenged and know there are opportunities for advancement. It’s important to work for managers who support your career goals. A friend’s daughter is a junior staffer in marketing at a large corporation who wants to get promoted. Her manager says she doesn’t have time to work with her to plot a path to the next level, so she keeps trying to show her dedication, taking on extra work, thinking of new ideas, training new employees. Instead of getting her considered for promotion, it appears she’s being taken advantage of. I asked why she doesn’t look for a different job in that company with a manager who would support her ambition. She doesn’t want to look for something else; she wants her current manager to recognize her. Until she moves her ego out of the equation, she’ll continue to feel like a kicked puppy.
- No role models. During a session with a client who was feeling stuck, I asked her to find a role model amongst the women senior managers at her company. Her response was immediate. She didn’t aspire to be like any of the women senior managers because they were bullies. It was clear to her that to be a successful woman executive in that company required a pattern of behavior that wasn’t the type of person she wanted to be. That doesn’t make it a bad company, just not the right company for her. She’s now happily employed elsewhere.
- End of the road. Sometimes you look around and just don’t see any other job in your company that you want to do. That happened to me when I worked for a mid-size software company. After being with them for seven years there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do there. If you’ve topped out or reached the end of the road, it’s time to put sentiment aside and take your experience to a bigger playground.
- Toxic overload. For years people told me I would be great in sales. So I leveraged my experience and got a job selling localization services to software companies. What a disaster! It entailed hours cold calling trying to book appointments, putting together proposals and then arguing about pennies per word. After a few months I was just beaten down, depressed and despondent. A friend said, “this job is toxic for you.” How right she was! There are people who thrive in sales, but it wasn’t the right job for me.
I’m sure there are lots more signs, but if any of these five pop onto your radar, think seriously about making a change. Refresh your resume, strengthen ties with key people in your network, and start looking.