Ten Signs It’s Time To Consider A Change At Work
Blaine Pardoe – Author of Business Rules: The Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords
If you’ve read my books, you know I’m a big believer that your career is a concept you largely create in your own mind. How you mentally string together your various jobs to form a story – well, that’s up to you. If you want to call that a career – knock yourself out. What you really have is a job and your personal skill set.
I’m also a big believer that what makes an outstanding employee in many organizations is your ability and willingness to reinvent yourself from time-to-time to adapt to a changing organization. Some of my best friends at work have dramatically changed their roles in the organization every few years, each time growing personally and professionally. Many of us get that feeling in our gut when it is time to take on a new job or new responsibilities to stretch ourselves. If you can do that in your current organization; awesome. If not, there are always other opportunities out there if you are patient and persistent.
The key is to not wait for “leadership” to recognize the gifts of your skills and experience. Waiting for your manager to have an epiphany about how valuable you really are is a wonderful way to waste time. You have to cowboy-up and take matters in your own hands.
So when do you do need to contemplate changing up? Here are the tips to help…
- Your role and job function hasn’t changed in years. The reality is you can only go so far in your current role. If the scope or nature of your job is not expanding, chances are pretty good you’re not ripe for advancement doing the same thing day-after-day. Organizations are always hesitant to promote people whose responsibilities simply haven’t grown. It’s not enough to be doing your job very well.
- The competition is passing you by. People hate to refer to work as competitive, but it is. Frankly, you and everyone at your rank, are potential candidates for the next tier up in the organization. Whether you like it or not, while you may get along just fine – you are competing for leadership’s attention. That’s not a bad thing – it’s reality. When you see colleagues you hired in with (or came after) winging on past you, it is time to consider a change.
- When your work no longer excites you. If the job you are doing no longer is challenging you, forcing you to think, change, or adapt – then it’s time to consider refreshing your career.
- The opportunities for change or growth are small or dwindling. Org charts are a lot like roadmaps when it comes to potential jobs. When you look upward on the org chart, are there even roles there that you can see yourself in – ones that inspire you? No? Well then, it’s time to look at a lateral change of job to better position yourself.
- Your manager is not in your corner. A good manager should be an advocate or sponsor for his/her people. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad managers out there. They are either focused on their own twisted job aspirations or zombie-like administrators that are like ticks on the corporate hide. If your manager is not out there helping you along the way, it is time to find a new manager.
- There is risk in staying where you are. Let’s face it, no one’s job is safe anywhere. Organizations are constantly reevaluating their business models, structures, and the bottom line (“I’ll take Outsourcing for $200 Alex…”) and often times employees are seen as “blood sucking overhead.” Mergers, acquisitions, reorgs, re-reorgs, and economic turmoil all can make you ponder the corporate tea leaves and wonder, “Am I about to buy the farm?” That doesn’t mean you have to leave your organization, but it may mean you should start considering what other job opportunities exist which might be safer.
- Your role is dependent on technology that is at risk of evolving or going away. Can you imagine being in the pocket pager business when mobile technology took off? I had a friend that was. It was brutal, but there were people that clung on in jobs there regardless, determined to slug it out – as if pagers were due for some sort of comeback. Don’t be that guy/gal. Sometimes it is something industry-wide, sometimes it’s just your job. Be aware, not ignorant.
- Your job can be performed by someone else (perhaps in another country) for a substantially lower cost. The era of companies viewing their employees as long-term assets/investments has come and gone. All that matters now is the bottom line. If your job can be done cheaper somewhere else, even if the quality is lower, you need to contemplate a refresh/reboot of your job.
- You are working yourself to death. Part of this is the fun of a tightened economy and the fact that organizations are willing to have you work 18 hour days if they can get away with it. Some of this is stress…like working for a four-star douche-bag who uses you as their personal human dart-board.
- When it stops being fun. Do you remember having fun at work? I do. If that seems like a long ways off, a fading memory at best, then there’s something wrong. You spend 8-15 hours a day at work – time away from your family , friends, and things that matter. If you can’t enjoy it – it’s time to change it.