6 questions to help you decide if it’s time to switch jobs in 2016
A little self-reflection can help you determine whether you need a change.
Phil Mackie was working at a family-owned, custom athletic apparel and athletic equipment company. It was “booming” and he was expected to take over someday. Nevertheless, he found he was asking himself questions about his future: “Even if all this was mine, do I see myself enjoying my time here?” and “If I continue, will I be happy with the path my career has taken if I look back in five years?”
“The answer was a resounding ‘no,’” Mackie says. “While I love my family, I don’t care for sports and am passionate about talking technology, computers and the Internet.” Mackie isn’t alone in this feeling. According to the The Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey, only 48.3% of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs.
Looking for a long-lasting career that would allow him to explore his true interests, Mackie kicked off his job search and is now working as a digital analyst at hotelmarketingWorks in McAllen, Texas.
Do you feel like Mackie and nearly half of U.S. employees about your job? And if so, what’s your next move? These questions will help you make the call about whether it’s time to move on.
Am I drained, or uninspired?
Do you look forward to Monday mornings? Kris Duggan, CEO of goal-setting software developer BetterWorks in Palo Alto, California, says if your work constantly drains you, you should dig into what’s making it so hard. “I’ve seen employees give up prematurely on what could have been an amazing job, simply because they’re not approaching their job from the right direction or working in the type of work environment that inspires them the most,” he says.
Duggan suggests changing your schedule so you’re addressing tasks in a different order, or taking longer or more frequent breaks to recharge when the going gets tough. If that doesn’t help, it’s possible you’re not a good fit for the position and should consider something else.
For inspiration, think about the things outside of work that give you energy. What aspects of that could you seek out as you look for a new job or even career?
Have I done anything new?
If you want to grow in your career, that simply won’t happen if you do the same thing every day, Duggan says. Look over your resume—or update it if it’s been awhile—and see how many achievements have come in the past year. If there aren’t any, you may be starting to stagnate in your position.
“If trying things a new way, or taking on new types of projects simply wouldn’t be tolerated at your current job, I’d suggest either talking to your manager about it or start looking,” he says.
Have I gotten a raise lately?
Your pay can be a good barometer to determine whether you should stay at your job. Consider whether it’s enough to make the job worth it after factoring in your cost of living, says business trainer and career coach Karen Southall Watts. Typically, salary upticks are granted once a year, writes Fast Company, so if you haven’t had a raise or a promotion in that time or aren’t getting opportunities to earn one, it may be time to move on.
Can I make a change?
If you can change what you don't like about your job and you’re being realistic about what you want in the immediate future, talk to your manager to see if there’s something that can be done, Sweet says. But if there’s no room for flexibility, it may be time to move on.
Is the grass really greener?
Consider whether your dissatisfaction is internal. Even if you do make a change, will your unhappiness follow you? In addition, consider whether the things you don’t like about your job are unique to that job or workplace.
“Many times people think the grass will be greener, but it's not,” says Jessica Sweet, a career transition coach in the Boston area. To make sure you’re really moving to a better place, you first have to know for sure why you want to leave, she says. If you can pinpoint something specific, such as the company's lack of regard for work/life balance, you can research prospective companies by talking to current or past employees and checking business social media and ranking sites.
Do I have a future here?
If you can’t picture yourself at your current organization in a year or two, or if the track you’re on doesn’t lead to where you want to be, it’s time to seriously look at whether it’s the right place for you, Sweet says. Ask yourself whether the job aligns with your overall career goals. If it’s not a step on the path to your career dreams, it may be time to make a change.
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