There’s a saying among career development professionals that you’ll know it’s time to make a job or career change when you start asking yourself if it’s time to make a change.
While there is truth to that, there’s more to making your decision. That’s why we are continuing with the discussion started in our last post. “6 Questions to Ask Yourself About Changing Careers” with additional questions in this post.
What May Make You Want to Make a Change?
The first step is to assess the reason — or reasons — why you may want to make a change. Change can be difficult — it usually is — so you want to make sure that the reason you are considering a switch isn’t something temporary that will fix itself, if given enough time. For example, a “bad boss” may leave, or an onerous attendance policy could change.
Some of the reasons why you may be considering a job or career change are internal reasons. These can include:
- How you feel about going to work. Do you dread getting up and going to work on Monday? Do you start feeling anxious or depressed on Sunday afternoon as you anticipate the upcoming workweek? Do you find yourself complaining about your job to others?
- You feel physically or emotionally threatened at work. If you are in danger physically or psychologically at work, you should start developing your exit strategy.
- Your skills are becoming obsolete. Technology has had a dramatic impact on almost every industry, and if it’s affecting your job, you may find you have a gap in the skills you need to be successful in doing your work.
- You are overwhelmed by your job. If you find yourself constantly worried at work because you can’t handle the responsibilities of the role, or you didn’t get enough training to help you master critical tasks, that can make it very difficult to enjoy your work. You may not have articulated it, but you’re overwhelmed.
- You’re bored at work. Maybe you’ve been in your position for several years and you’re just not excited anymore about the work you’re doing. If you’re not growing in your job, it’s easy to start thinking about doing something else.
- There is little to no room for advancement in your current job. Maybe you’ve worked your way up to the top spot you can get in the company. This is especially true in smaller companies, or family businesses, where a limited number of management positions are available.
- How you feel about your co-workers and/or boss. Do you like the people you work with? Are you appreciated for the work you do? (This can be expressed in either a “thank you” or in your financial compensation.)
- Company politics are affecting your work. For example, you work for a family-owned business and there is animosity among the family members.
- If your job requires you to do something that you no longer enjoy doing. For example, traveling four out of five days of the week might have been fine when you were in your 20s, but it’s wearing on you now that you’re in your 30s and have a family.
- You researched competitive salaries for your type of job and discovered that your company pays less than the industry median. If you’ve previously asked for a raise and were turned down, you may be motivated to seek out better compensation elsewhere.
- There is little or no opportunity for increasing your salary significantly in your current position. Are there opportunities to increase your salary much beyond 2-5% annually?
- You realize you’re not getting any younger. If the thought of working for this company for another year — or five years — makes you feel your mortality, it may be time to make a change to a different path.
- What you’re doing now isn’t your passion. Is there an opportunity for you to turn something you’re doing as a hobby into a full-time job? Or could you start a business of your own — either doing something related to your current work, or a current hobby or interest?
- You have a different plan for yourself.
Maybe you didn’t see yourself staying at this job, or in this career, for this amount of time. If your long-term goals aren’t aligned with what you’re doing now, it may be time for a change.
External factors—events at your company—also can impact your need or desire to change jobs. For example, when you are downsized, the decision to leave has been made for you—one need only decide what to do next.
Employers sometimes take less drastic action than eliminating your role entirely. You could be asked to do the same work for less money, assigned more work with no increase in compensation, or given less earning potential, such as a smaller sales territory. Weigh these factors when you decide whether to stay or leave your current role.
Remember, you want to assess whether the internal and/or external factors that are prompting you to consider the change are temporary (short-term) or something you would be permanently affected by.
You should also assess the “temperature” of these factors and how they affect you. Some of them may be more of a minor “inconvenience,” while others may feel unbearable. For example, while you may be working in a dying industry, as long as you have a job, you may not be interested in switching jobs or changing careers. But you’re a frog in a pot of water that is slowly heating up. The question isn’t “if” you will eventually be affected by changes in the industry, but “when.” If you take charge of managing your career, you will be in a better position to handle career change, not just react to it when your boss or HR summons you into a conference room sometime down the road to let you know your services are no longer needed.
Job and career change is a major life decision and financial decision that involves risk, so no one can tell you what to do. We can only pose questions to help you. Also, we can prepare the strongest possible career marketing strategy, including a resume, job search letter, and LinkedIn profile once you’ve made the decision to move forward. Click here for a free consultation call.