The Clash may have been referring to relationship issues when this cult classic hit was written, but the illustrious question still applies on-the-job. Whether you’ve only invested a few years into the company or you’re a seasoned asset on the team, we all reach that unavoidable fork in the road in which we ask ourselves if it’s time for a change. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that people change jobs an average of 11 times during their career.
Several factors, external and internal, can contribute to your overall career happiness. Only you can decide what the right path will be, but below are a few questions to consider before jumping ship to find fulfillment elsewhere:
Am I excited to go to work?
Think back to your first day at your current job – how much time you took to look your best that morning, the knots in your stomach about meeting new co-workers, the delight of arriving at your desk, your own space, for the first time, the foreign challenges and satisfaction you felt in completing a new project. Do you find joy in these small things today? The thrilling combination of fear of the unknown and enthusiasm about what you do and learn should be a constant motivator every day. A spirit of passion should be embraced in whatever you do, especially your career. If you feel worn-down by the everyday, a lack of opportunities, or are simply under a spell of job discontent you can’t seem to snap out of, it might be time to consider something new or find a way to continue growing in your current role.
Do I see myself here in the future?
After years of positive job reviews with no advancement, do you find yourself stagnant? Large or small companies alike typically grant some type of career growth to hard working and dedicated employees within a window of three years. If this has yet to come, it’s possibly your company is not willing to make an investment in you. Reversely, you must address if you have a desire to move up – do you want your Boss’ job? Do you feel comfortable with the responsibilities, and sacrifices, his or her role encompasses? It’s natural to feel the urge to climb the corporate ladder, but there are other options to advance your career without staying with a company that is a wrong fit.
Am I being properly compensated?
A low ceiling affects financial and personal growth. If your job duties have changed or increased recently without any sign of future recognition in advancement or pay, something is off. Unfortunately, some employers might take advantage of the naiveté of employees early in their career by tasking them with an unfair workload and too little pay. Dues must still be paid and you must earn your wage, however if you feel improperly salaried with years dedication to the firm, relevant experience and growth potential, then you probably are. At the end of the day, no one likes to be taken advantage of. Speak up and inquire politely for any upcoming news regarding your status, and if your manager avoids the issue or is unresponsive, look for a company that will appreciate your efforts.
Are the company’s benefits offering still acceptable?
As we progress in our careers, life happens. Some of us find a life partner, start a family, others gain an insatiable urge to see the world and check-off our bucket lists. While you might have paid little attention to your company’s reward packages early in your career, an important part when considering a career move is to ensure benefits are still on par with your life goals. You may bee loking for a solid 401K plan, more PTO, family medical benefits. Whatever it is, in order to fulfill our personal goals.
Am I being heard?
A regular touch-base meeting with your manager is no longer a “nice-to-have” when considering a job. Consistent and constructive feedback and the security of knowing your ideas are not only encouraged, but seriously considered are important components of feeling appreciated at work. In addition, a good manager should be playing the roles of mentor, cheerleader and confidant to the ins-and-outs of what is happening at the top. He or she should be tuned into your successes and concerns, and open to address any doubts you may have. This may sound extreme for the average manager/employee rapport, but people relationships are the backbone of any company and the reason people stay with a company.
Do I feel secure?
This is a basic red flag that could spark any initial job search, but it might not be as easy to spot as you think. A noticeably high job-turnaround and/or constant restructure is one thing, but don’t ignore more personal warning signs. Are you being excluded from more meetings? Do you find yourself with less work? Are there more closed-door conversations than usual? While this is certainly not reflective of job performance, these are clear signals of changes to come – good or bad. Alarming indeed, but take this time to reflect on what your purpose is in the company and if the time comes, whether or not you want to consider other options before being left without many.
A career change is a big decision, and is not one that is to be decided alone if you have a family to support. If, after considering the above factors (and thoroughly discussing your options with friends and family), you find yourself ready to take the next adventure in your career, be ready for the job search by utilizing your network, updating your resume, and preparing yourself to start the next career chapter.