When is the Right Time to Move on From your Job?
So, you have been into your job for a while and lately you have been wondering if this is the time to move on.
But - you are not entirely certain now is the time! Well, almost everyone has been there or may be stuck there as we speak. Nobody realises this is “THE” moment one needs to move on out of the blue. It’s a process which takes time.
One important lesson I learnt in the process was, moving on is not quitting!
I am no quitter as I was raised not to be a quitter. When I did not get a promotion I was highly anticipated for (about a couple of years ago), I did not move on immediately (I spent another year at the same employer spending my time on soul searching instead) as I was afraid I will be a quitter! Because I did not understand, moving on and quitting are very different things. If you quit the job without a plan or not taking any steps to establish you in a better job, that is quitting. They say, “winners never quit, quitters never win”. But moving on is a major part of winning!
Sometimes it’s not just one factor drives one to decide to move on, it may be combination of factors. What matters is to pay careful attention to certain red flags and make the courageous decision to move on!
No sense of career advancement or opportunities
If you are like me, who enjoys and appreciates your job and considers it as something beyond which provides you a pay cheque, Career advancement is important to you. You just do not show up to work for the monthly (or weekly) pay cheque. Your work is your pride and joy (among other things in your life), you are hungry for learning and experiencing new things on the job, you are ready to go an extra mile or two to improve yourself (the list goes on).
Career advancement opportunities is something that keeps you in your job as it gives you a boost to be better at it. When you see no career advancement opportunities at your workplace, that’s a sign you will be stagnated at the same position for a long time. This hinders your motivation to work and it’s a definite red flag!
In my last job I enjoyed my day-to-day duties, I was keen to learn new things however I did not see any career advancement (i.e. where would this takes me in two years’ time?). It wasn’t in my line of business and there were no programmes to cross train employees in different business, making career mobility an issue. I struggled to see where I would desire to be in a few years’ time. Seeing myself in the next level is one important thing which keeps me in any job. So I decided to move on within just three months into the job. One may argue it’s too early. Time frame really does not matter when it comes to no career advancement opportunities in the horizon!
You are no longer passionate about what you do
Are you the person who is so passionate about whatever you do?
What motivates you to show up to your job is your passion nothing else!
It may be the impact of your job makes in others’ lives or in the environment, coaching your team mates, taking the lead in a project, ideas you bring to innovate the product or service your employer offers (list goes on).That’s where your passion lies and it drives you to succeed in your job.
When you no longer feel the excitement of passion, every aspect of your job becomes a routine. There is nothing wrong with the routine however, routine is boring. When your job becomes routine, you lose the passion for it. When you feel that you’re not passionate about it anymore, this is time for you to draw up an exit strategy.
You have no work-life balance
Let me tell you, this is a killer! Work-life balance means different things to different individuals.
For some it’s just sticking to their reportable hours (i.e. 9-5), for some it’s having the flexibility of attending to their personal commitments during the workday and managing daily workload at their discretion etc.
However, we all agree about one thing, finding suitable balance between work and daily living is a challenge. OECD research suggests 11% employees in OECD countries work over 50 hrs per week! If you are overloaded at work and there is no way you can finish your workload during your normal work hours, 50-60hr work weeks are the new standard at your work place, well it’s time for you to think about whether do you really want to continue like this. Do not get it mixed up with working extra hours once in a while to meet special project deadlines and over working every single day. Sometimes you may not consider working long hours is a red flag when there is another factor or two available to compensate your long hours. Over 50hr work weeks never bothered me for several years as I was extremely passionate about what I used to do and there were so many advancement opportunities at my workplace. However, when it becomes just long hours, I knew it was the right time to move on!
You are stressed almost always
Are you feeling like you can no longer cope with your work load due to many reasons such as; you have little control over the tasks in hand, mountain of unexpected responsibilities and pressures land on you that would not align with your skill set, capabilities and knowledge topped up with having insufficient support from your manager etc.?
You are most likely suffering from work-related stress. Stress is a ‘state of mind’ thus not permanent (unless it’s chronic stress which is a medical condition). When we are stressed, we are less likely to behave in a rational way as we do when we are calm. Hence, our ability to cope while we are under the influence of stress is very minimal.
Many professionals I come across have been there at least once, examples - i) you’re working on highly demanding projects with no or less management support, ii) relationships at workplace are not at their best, iii) you are assigned with conflicting roles and iv) little to no control over the work process. The danger of being stressed is, if you do not address the matter as soon as possible, it would develop into mental, physical, behavioural and cognitive issues. I have been there couple of times myself so I can assure you being stressed almost always is a red flag to watch out for. If it’s going to be continued, it’s time for you to draw up your exit strategy.
Lack of support from your manager
Would you agree with me if I say, your manager navigates your career while you drive it? It is true. Your manger is the single most influential factor in your career after you. Basically your manager should be your cheerleader!
Good managers empower their subordinates in many ways:
- Giving you living examples to set your career goals
- Providing a challenging environment to sharpen your talents
- Encouraging you to take responsibilities outside your day-to-day responsibilities to sharpen your leadership skills
- Pushing you hard when you take your eyes off the ball
-Providing honest and constructive feedback regularly
- Tracking your progress and
- Never stop believing in you.
Fostering a healthy relationship with your manager is imperative to career success (Stay tuned for my full article on this subject).
However, not all managers you come across in your career become your biggest advocate or your cheerleader. In my opinion, being a good manger is a talent. If your manager does not believe in spending time in your development and investing in your career, you need to consider leaving because staying under their wing would not help you to unleash your full potential.
We all come across different type of managers. I have had great managers who have helped immensely to shape me as a professional. On the other hand I have had some managers who spent limited time on me in order to just survive on the job, so it made it harder for me to realise I need to move on for my own good. Remember, you drive your career not your manager. If the navigator isn’t helping you to get to your destination, you move on from the navigator rather than abandoning your journey!
In my experience, some of those red flags on its own could pose a major impact on your decision to move on. Combination of more than one requires your undivided attention immediately. Deciding to move on requires courage.
Muster your courage, ambitious professionals!