Have you been feeling restless or that you’ve been overstaying your welcome at your current workplace? Or maybe you’re just feeling like it’s time for a change in workplace culture.
Are you working in a bit of a groundhog day situation where your day-to-day is always the same or is your manager giving you a bit of lip service and those challenges that were going to be remedied continue to happen, over and over and over again?
I heard a co-worker once share, ‘the grass isn’t greener, there are just different yellow patches to water’. I couldn’t agree more in reflecting upon my own corporate career journey; every organization has had its fair share of nuances.
And even in knowing this truth, it doesn’t always make it easier to live through those nuances day-in and day-out. In the past when I’ve felt like quitting I’ve asked myself, am I running away because it’s ‘hard’ and annoying. Am I just plain over it? OR do I have legit reasons as to why it makes sense to make a move?
Oftentimes I was in the dip of the roller coaster and it was just a temporary feeling. With a little time and focusing on what was important to me, I stayed the course and it would pay off; a promotion, elevated role responsibilities and even a salary increase.
- Maybe you’re feeling frustrated right now.
- Maybe the promotion you’ve been waiting for feels like it’s taking forever.
- Maybe you’re bored with the day-to-day work.
So how do you know it’s time to start exploring other career options?
I recommend starting with this little exercise.
Step 1: Make a list of what’s important to you at work (regardless of what organization you’re at).
Step 2: In reflecting on your current organization, check-off where your expectations are being met.
Step 3: If there are left-over items on your list, ask yourself:
- Have I made these expectations known?
- Have I made requests around these items in the past?
- Is there anything I can do to improve the situation?
ACTION: If you haven’t asked for what you need or made these requests, schedule time with your manager to have a conversation. If you’ve made requests and nothing has changed, have you followed up?
If you’re thinking, no Jenna, it’s not about the requests, or needing anything from my leader.
Here are four additional questions to ask yourself to assess your current working environment and support you in identifying whether or not it makes sense to make a move.
#1. Are you still learning?
I’m a firm believer that there’s something to learn in every moment. However, for this question I want you to think specifically about the technical skills and abilities of your role.
- Have you been given or taking on projects/tasks that are allowing you to learn new skills?
- Are you given opportunities to apply what you’ve learned to the business?
- Does the organization encourage learning and have a growth mind
This leads to point #2.
#2. Does this role support your future career goals?
Do everything with intention. A former leader of mine used to always encourage me to think about how this job will support the role I want in 2-3 years from now.
Is the experience you’re gaining from this position supportive of where you want to be in the future?
Not sure? Take time to look at some job postings and save the ones you’d like to be doing one day. Are you building your resume for those positions in the current role you’re in?
#3. Is this role supporting making your WHOLE life work right now?
A previous employer of mine had the philosophy that when life works, work works.
- Does this role have flexibility and allow you to take on a virtual MBA or drop your kids off at school?
- Does this role give you more time and space for your hobbies and extracurricular activities?
We will all work an average of 90,000 hours over the course of our careers, so what’s it time for now?
#4. Are you happy?
I’ve been in work circumstances that I can’t quite explain why I feel unhappy. I constantly feel like something is off and can’t articulate exactly what it is.
In these moments I’ve asked myself, do I think this is temporary or is it my body and mind subconsciously telling me it’s time to move on.
Examples of what this has felt like:
- Dreading going into work
- Resignation and minimal contribution in meetings
- Stressed or bothered with decision making
- A lack of fulfillment from my work
If you’re having a hard time shaking these feelings, what action can you take tomorrow to support shifting your mindset? As mentioned earlier, what requests can you make of your managers, colleagues or family at home to support in creating a happier and healthier environment?
At the end of the day, there will always be nuances at every organization and as an employee you either need to embrace them or not. Deciding what you’re willing to work through each day is the choice you’ve got to make. Taking the time to reflect on the bigger picture will hopefully help you to better understand if you’re ready to switch organizations.
If you’re looking for additional career tips or interview prep resources, check out the OTI instagram at @owntheinterview
And if you’ve decided, I’m ready to make a move! and you’re beginning to look for another job, here are two additional resources that will support along the way: