Updated: Jul 27, 2021
“Is it time to move on?” Whether you are in position two or twelve in your career, at some point you may be asking yourself this question. Before sending out your resume, here are some reflection points to get clear on what is different for you now so you know what type of change needs to occur.
Reminisce for a minute. Think back to when you applied for your current job. Something about it was brimming with opportunity for you.
1. What made you apply?
2. What do you remember as standing out about the position, the organization, what they do and the people they do it for that made you say, "I want this job!"
Now fast forward through the offer, your acceptance of the position, the work attached to it, the work you have since done and the relationships formed on the job up until now. And now, you’re considering leaving.
1. What has changed?
2. What specifically has changed about the job?
I sometimes discover that the job hasn't changed as much as the individual’s thoughts and feelings around the job they were hired to do. For example: aspects like workplace dynamics and office politics may impact our attitudes, changing how we approach our work. Sometimes circumstances in our personal lives changes the priority we place on our careers and as a result, we may see our work serving a different purpose. Then there's the struggle to stay motivated because we feel bored or unchallenged so our enthusiasm for the work we do comes down to 'well, at least it's a paycheck'. Or maybe, you have achieved goals that you set when taking the job: if so, congratulations!
In other cases, it’s clear the job has changed. Sometimes we get assigned or reassigned to a position or tasks we weren't hired to do. This can happen when a new supervisor or leadership comes in and changes the direction of our work aligned to new strategies. Sometimes new responsibilities have been absorbed by our position as a result of other open positions that are currently unfilled or indefinitely ‘frozen’. If left unaddressed, these new or inherited responsibilities may lead to us to feel disempowered and reluctant to engage, affecting our productivity and ultimately, affecting how we feel about ourselves on the job.
Regardless of the circumstance, take the time to be clear about what is different for you on the job to determine whether the prospect of greener pastures will resolve your current dilemmas.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
On a scale of 1 – 10, (1- I feel completely disengaged, to 10 - I feel fully engaged), what is my engagement level around the work that I am currently doing?
What does my ideal workday look like? How possible is it to have that at this company?
What would need to be different in order to feel the way I want to feel at work?
What might be happening in other areas of my life right now that could be affecting how engaged and productive I am at work?
Have I felt this way before in previous jobs? If so, what was happening on the job or in my life at that time?
Is how I'm feeling coming from an external place (ex: money) or an internal place (ex: feeling accomplished)?
How might my relationships with my manager and peers impact how I'm feeling?
Where do I see myself in 3, 5 or 10 years and how is this position helping me or keeping me from achieving that vision?
Once you have had a chance to reflect on why you feel the way you do, you will be better poised to determine how much of a change you need and how much of this change can be done right where you are. It is more important to understand what you are working towards rather than running from.
It is natural to have moments of blah or sometimes feel unmotivated at work. Stopping to notice and reflect can help you determine if you are responding appropriately to the current situation. Start what what’s inside and important to you or else you might feel like a victim to an external situation. Sometimes we have to accept a less than ideal circumstance in the short term in order to bring us closer to what we are really looking for in the long run. But being curious, asking questions, and understanding the big picture of what's available for you right where you are might actually lead to greener pastures than what you assume is available for you somewhere else.
Lastly: consider talking it out. Try the steps above with a friend or consider talking to a career or transition coach. A coach can help you work through career-related challenges that may have you feeling paralyzed and reframe what really matters to you so that you come out feeling confident and ready to move on now, or when the time is right. Andrea Raggambi, ACC