One of the hardest things to determine throughout your career is when to leave a job. So many factors keep us in place. It could be comfort or complacency or friendships or money, the list goes on and on.
However, life is filled with chapters, and you should always be on the lookout for foreshadowing clues that tell you it is time to write the next one.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you should be on the lookout to determine whether you should move on from a job.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in life is not recognizing the fact that they have evolved. That’s why you have so many people staying in stale relationships and settling for moderately adequate jobs. Your needs and wants are likely different than they were 10 years ago. Heck, if you put in the work to learn and read and grow, you might be different than you were even a year ago!
This is a good thing, embrace it.
You will want to work with your employer to see if your newly identified wants and needs can be met. But if all the signs point to the fact that you have changed and they can’t change with you, it might be time to move on.
Your money situation has changed
This advice is a bit contrary and, but hey, that’s how we roll. Perhaps, if you can’t find a job that pays more, you can swing a job that pays less. Maybe you have gotten married and now have a two-income household. Or have come into some inheritance money. Whatever the reason, you might not need to make as much money as you did previously. Since you can’t put a price on career happiness, evaluate your finances and make sure you are not a prisoner to the money. Don’t forget: when assessing compensation, be sure to look at the entire package, that includes health benefits, for 401K match, etc.
Your boss has changed
Pretty much every work survey ever taken always correlates work happiness to your direct supervisor. Since organizations are fluid beasts and are continually morphing, odds are your boss will change during your tenure. You will want to do whatever you can to work in concert with this person, meeting your needs and their needs. However, now and then, you get an unbearable boss. And only you can define what intolerable means for you. When that happens, you have two choices: work harder to get the relationship to a good place, or move on.
Are values aligned?
Again, as you go through life’s journey, the things that are important to you will change, or at the very least, ebb and flow. Perhaps the organization you are working for is not giving back to the community in the way your would like. Maybe their diversity and inclusion strategy is absent. Or perhaps, your company is hawking a product that is made in a foreign country and you just don’t feel good about it. If your personal belief system does not align with your employer’s, you will not feel supremely engaged, meaning a change is needed.
You probably hate the phrase work-life balance as much as we do, but there is nothing more vital for you to maintain a healthy level throughout your career. Perhaps when you were in your twenties, long work hours were OK because they were offset with fun happy hours. But now in your thirties, when caring for young children, you desperately need that time back. Since the clock can never be rewound, make sure that your job demands align with what you and your family need.
If you move or your company moves, you will want to evaluate if the new commuting circumstances work for you. A change of 15 minutes in each direction, or a transfer of the mode of transportation, can make a big difference in work happiness.
You give more than you get
Like any relationship, you will need to evaluate that the money you are receiving and the benefits you are enjoying are worth the work you are putting in. If the pendulum swings too much in one direction, make a change! Unlike the family you were born into, you always have choices when it comes to employers.
In summary, you should always be scanning the pros and cons of staying with your current employer. No matter what the employment numbers are, or the world situation we all find ourselves in, there are always alternatives. Do not feel the pressure that you are painted into a corner and that your current job is the only one you will ever have.
Whether or not you decide to leave a job and move on from an employer, job or career is a difficult decision. But sometimes the hard way is the right way.