The new year has started and the holidays are long behind us. The glow of time off is over and there is work to do and little time for anything else. We are all busy and as the economy grows through 2017, we won’t be slowing down soon. So, I will make this quick.
When we get busy it is hard to recognize the signs telling us to find a new job. When you are geared into work day after day, busy meeting deadlines and doing your job, you miss signs telling you it is time to move on. I want to help. In my 20+ years of recruiting I have heard hundreds of reasons for moving to a new job. Here are the top three.
This is the number one reason why people changes jobs. If the person who oversees your work does not have your career growth in mind, it is time to make a change. Now I want to be clear. You and your boss do not have to be best friends. In fact, a defined line between you and your boss is healthy. I share this because “my boss is conservative and I am liberal” or “my boss likes Denver and I am a Seahawks fan” are NOT reasons you and your boss are not a good match. Now if these differences are elevated to harassment, you have a different situation.
Ask yourself if your boss is supporting your growth. Do you learn from your boss? Is he or she truly invested in making you better, even if is not fun or is hard to do? A good boss will see your potential and push you to meet and exceed it, even if it is challenging or uncomfortable.
Your job scope
Job scope is a flexible thing. I think of a job as the intersection of the company’s needs and the employee’s skills. Both sides ebb and flow during their lifecycle. An employee will learn new skills as they grow and a job may take on more responsibilities as the company grows. This is natural. The organic growth benefits both side and must be present for the employee to be satisfied with their job.
Your job scope is not cast in concrete. Both the job duties and the employee’s skills need to be flexible. If both side are not able to give and take, neither the firm nor the employee can reach their full potential.
Are you and your job growing? Are you learning new things? Does the firm give you new task or duties that challenge you and help you grow? If so, stick with the job. If you find the firm keeps limiting your duties or opportunities to learn a new skill, it is time to look for your next job. Limited job scope leads to limited growth opportunities.
Your growth opportunities
Limited job scope is a symptom of limited growth opportunities. If your firm, or your boss, is keeping your pigeonholed in your job, denying your request to do more, see more, be more involved, etc. it is going to be impossible to advance.
But this is obvious. The reason I have listed this as a third reason to make a change is more complex. It is clear to most of us that if our job is limited, our growth will be limited. Where it gets blurry is when there is total support for your growth but there is not action towards your growth. Year after year the path is (generally) discussed. Promise after promise of “next year” or “when X happens” are made but nothing ever happens.
This is your red flag.
If you have been talking with your boss for the last two year about your next step, but that step has not happened, it is time to move on.
So, take this time during the new year to think about your situation. Your career is yours and yours, alone. Take control.
Now there is one reason NOT to move.
If, as you reflect on your current situation, all is well but you feel you are underpaid, WORK TO STAY IN YOUR JOB. I have seen it time after time. When an employee makes a move and money is the only reason, it never works out. I believe money is a symptom of issues that are difficult to dive into.
If you are promised a raise year after year but never get one, that’s one thing. But if your concerns about your salary boil down to simply wanting more money, think carefully before you act on it.
I encourage you to think about your career/job happiness holistically. I think in buckets. Your job may have several buckets: boss, company, pay, co-workers, etc. Imagine your buckets. Now fill those buckets with where you have challenges with your job, your boss, your company. If your buckets get so full they sink, it is time to move on. If only one of the buckets sink, and the other still float, you might have a great job that just needs a few tweaks.