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Maybe you already know or are seeing signs that things are going well…or not so well. As you look at your current job, you should take some time on a periodic basis to honestly consider if it’s still a good fit. Courageously (yes, this takes some guts) answering these questions will unveil if there are clear signs you really need a new job.
Start with you
You have to start with you.
- Are you happy with your work? There are many ways to answer this question. In my mind, it’s super basic: your current job should be helping you to discover and use your wonderfully unique gifts and talents. If they have been identified, your work should be helping you achieve your personal goals which should lead to your success and happiness.
- Are you learning and growing? Your world, both professional and personal, is constantly changing. You need to be learning and growing.
A “No” to either of these questions is something you’ll need to seriously consider.
Look at your job and your company
Now that we know about you, it’s time to look at your current job. Here are three basic signs to look for. A “No” answer to any of these questions is a big red flag:
- Do you trust and respect the manager and team that you work with?
- Are you confident in the leadership of the company and your industry?
- Can you see a path and feel you have a good chance to take the “next step” to achieve your goals?
Summarize your assessment and decide what’s next
Honestly and courageously asking the questions above will help identify signs you really need a new job (or not). When the bigger picture emerges from looking at the answers to these questions, you’ll have the key pieces to decide if it’s time for a change.
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Where to start if you’re wondering whether you need a new job
Ok, you’re wondering if you should be looking for a new job.
Let’s start with the basics. If you’re working 40 hours a week, you will spend approximately 35% of your waking hours per week at your job. Throw in your commute time and more working hours and it’s easy to get to 50% or more. The bottom line…it’s a ton of time and anything you spend that much time on should be giving you some sort of satisfaction and, yes, maybe even happiness. The consequences to your health, both physical and mental, finances, and relationships can be dramatic if not.
So how do you look for and see the signs that it may be time for a new job, either within your current company or at a new company?
Start with you
While there may be signs at work that it’s time to change, I would encourage you to start with you. Step back and ask yourself these two basic questions:
- Are you happy with your work? There are many ways to answer this question. In my mind, it’s super basic: is your current job helping you to discover and use your gifts and talents? Is it helping to achieve your personal and professional goals? If you’re not sure of these then you need to put more thought into it. Your 20s lay the groundwork for many years to come. See the article Solving the Quarter Life Crisis if you need some coaching in this area.
- Are you learning and growing in your current role? Your world, both professional and personal, is constantly changing so you’ll need to continue to develop new skills. More importantly, personal and professional growth is essential to becoming the true you, which will lead to success and happiness. Your job should have clear signs that you are growing, such as increasing responsibilities, new assignments, new technology, new projects, and good feedback from your manager and/or teammates that you are growing.
A “No” to either of these questions is a clear sign that it may be time for a change.
Look at your job and company
Now that you know about you, it’s time to look at your current job. Three basic signs to look for.
- Do you trust and respect the manager and team that you work with? Your manager and the people you spend time, both internal and external, should be people that you trust and respect. It’s good if you like them but it’s more important that you trust and respect them. As yourself: Are you learning and growing when you’re watching them? Does your manager share knowledge? Do they tell the truth? Are they transparent? Are they supportive of you/have your back in both good times and bad? Do they challenge you to discover and grow your true gifts and talents? Am I being fairly compensated for my work?
- Are you confident in your industry and the leadership of the company? Change is coming so quickly for every industry which brings opportunity and challenges. You need to take ownership for understanding your industry. Then you need to assess the leadership of your company. Their job is to understand how the company fits into your industry and articulate a clear and compelling vision for the future of the company. They are also responsible for the culture (how people behave and interact with each other) of the company.
- Can you see a path and feel you have a good chance to take the “next step” to achieve your goals? It’s important that you see a path to what you feel is the best next step for you, whatever it may be. Please don’t wait for your manager to come to you to talk about this. You need to give some thought as to what your best career next step is. You then need to share it at the appropriate time with your manager and work with them to determine the best way to move forward.
Summarize your assessment
Honestly and courageously (yes, it takes some guts) answering these key questions will help identify signs you really need a new job – or not. In an ideal world, you should be able to work with your manager and teammates. If not, find some trustworthy professional colleagues and friends to help you with the true, heartfelt research needed to answer them.
Decide what’s next
The process above may unveil signs that you’re in a GOOD spot and should stay where you are. If so, continue to take proactive steps to grow your contribution and manage your next steps.
The process above may unveil signs that either more research is needed or that it’s clearly time for a change. If it’s time for a change and if appropriate, be sure to take a look at what may be available in your current company as I’ve heard more than once “that person was valued contributor with a bright future, wish we had known they were making plans to leave.”
If it’s truly time for a change these are waters that need to be carefully navigated. Be sure to check out this article for some advice on how to best do this. This is important work…be sure to invest in yourself and put some time into doing it right.
About the Author
Senior Program Manager
Tim is a Senior Program Manager at the Christ Hospital Health Network, where he recently led their team to open a Joint & Spine Center. From start-ups to mature businesses, local to global, Cincinnati to Hong Kong, he’s seen it all. As a business driver, community leader, and personal coach, he specializes in helping people and organizations find and maximize their talents and opportunities.
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