How long have you been sitting on the fence about leaving your job? Are you hesitating because you feel a sense of loyalty to your current employer or is it because you are afraid of starting out again in a new job? This situation is all too familiar to career coach and founder of career coaching practice CareerTree Sarah Archer. In this article, she outlines six scenarios which signal that it’s time to leave your job. Permission granted.
You’ve outgrown your job
Scenario: When you first started in your current job you probably felt that there were lots of new things to learn and it was exciting to step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
Perhaps you got lots of positive feedback about how well you were doing and you progressed quickly. However, things have changed and you seem to be plateauing: the challenge isn’t there and you know your job inside out.
In this situation, you may feel like you are trapped in a golden cage in which you are successful, well paid and don’t actively hate what you do, but there’s no stretch. The danger of staying is that you could start to lose your edge because you’re just not excited by your job anymore.
Solution: It’s time to work out what challenge and excitement look like now. You need to reconnect with the buzz of learning something new and what that means for your next role.
You’re really unhappy at work
Scenario: You dread going into work, you feel stressed, overwhelmed, maybe even close to burnout.
You don’t enjoy what you do, and you’re worried it’s you rather than the job.
It’s hard to make effective changes when your frame of mind is less than positive. This means that you have to be more systematic and take time to consider all of your options before leaving your job.
You could stay in your job until you become clearer about the best job or career change for you. Alternatively, you could leave now and focus your energy on finding a new job.
Solution: Make a pros and cons list and make a decision. Just taking that step can give you energy and start moving you closer to something new.
You can’t see any opportunities for advancement in your job
Scenario: You can see that your profession or industry lacks opportunities for growth or progression. This may be due to advances in technology or a change in the economy affecting your role.
While you could stay and see what happens, being proactive and taking control now means you can plan your move at your pace rather than having it forced on you by redundancy.
Solution: Do some research, consider your transferable skills and look at where people in your profession have moved to – LinkedIn is great for finding this out. Think about what training or qualifications you might need to make a career change and how you can upskill while still in your existing role.
Do some due diligence on any new industry you’re interested in to make sure it has longevity.
Scenario: If you’re checking the clock on a regular basis and you find yourself yawning away in meetings, you may well be bored with your job.
Maybe you enjoyed it at some point, but if you now find yourself thinking “what is the point of this?” or “who cares?” then something’s missing.
Solution: Boredom is a sign that you’re ready for a new challenge or something more stimulating, so do a bit of self-reflection to work out whether it’s the actual job you do that’s boring or the subject matter you work with. Then make a plan to find a role that ticks all your boxes.
You have a toxic boss
Scenario: You just don’t get on with your boss. For whatever reason, the two of you just don’t click and can’t work well together – it happens. The outcome, particularly if they’re insecure or inexperienced, is that you don’t get the support you need, you may be undermined or bullied, and your chances of recognition or promotion are slim.
Unless your boss leaves the company, there is little chance of this conflict being resolved. This means you probably need to leave your job.
Solution: Make sure it’s the right move though rather than a knee-jerk reaction to the situation. Yes, you need to move to a job situation that will make you happier, but don’t take any role you can find, make sure you take a great role.
Your core values aren’t aligned with your current career
Scenario: Your core values guide the way you live your life. If your current career or industry isn’t well aligned with your values, this can result in internal conflict.
Your values may include wanting to make a difference, being creative, developing expertise, having influence or autonomy and being independent. You will feel fulfilled if you are able to express your values and develop them in your job.
Solution: Be clear about your own core values and review whether they are being met in your current job and whether there is an opportunity to express them more. If the answer is no (on both counts), then start researching what job would allow you to express your top three values.
The longer you stay somewhere you know isn’t right for you, the harder it can become to leave. Take action, make a plan and start looking for your next new role now.
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