Do you see the signs its time for a new career? (Photo via chilliwacktoday)
Sometimes it’s tough to figure out when to start looking for a fresh new career direction or job. How do you tell?
Most of you may wait until there’s no choice except to find another job. That can leave you rushing at the last minute, which can increase stress and leave you screaming inside. The best way is to spot the warning signs that a job search is coming so you’re ready.
Here are 9 possible signs that can help you kick start your job search before things turn ugly at your current job.
1. Less Hours and Less Duties
If your duties and hours are being cut down then it’s time to have a chat with the manager. A lot of people depend on extra hours or overtime to help them survive from month to month.
If other employees are keeping their hours or duties or getting more it looks like your job may be on the chopping block. You’ll want to talk to your manager to see how you can either improve what you do or whether alternatives (like a new job) are in order.
2. Totally Unchallenging
This is one of the biggest reasons that my clients have or will leave their jobs for. If you’ve been doing the same thing for five, eight or more years you start to get very bored. It can be bad if you’re the kind of person who wants to grow your skills and experience (see #4).
Again you’ll want to talk with managers and bosses about new ways to “freshen” things up. Could the company pay for or support you taking courses or going to conferences or doing additional at home training? What about an overrated MBA?
3. Total Loss of Enthusiasm
Being passionate about a job is useful however it isn’t always a requirement. It helps if you actually have great people to work with where it’s not thankless and where you’re not taken for granted. If you find yourself completely hating your job you know there’s a problem.
Are you killing time surfing the Web all day? Do you feel like nothing at the company matters? Are you finding it hard to wake up the next day or are asking, “Why?”
Are you being worked so hard that you’re burning out? I’ve had one client and one high school friend in analyst and management situations respectively who reached that point. The friend went on to develop chronic fatigue syndrome (constantly being tired).
If you’re asking yourself those questions and find the answers to be troubling then it’s time to start looking for a new direction in life.
4. Trapped in a Small Role
If you’re really good at certain actions or have a special skill set no one else has you can be stuck doing only those tasks. You probably don’t want to be a “one trick pony” (someone who is only good at doing one or a few things and nothing else). Being the specialist can be a double edged sword.
If there’s a demand for what you do that’s great. If you want to be someone who can take on anything then it’s a problem.
In the past I was working in agriculture and food communications and it was giving people a very narrow image of what I could do. So I decided enough was enough and I worked on broadening the marketing of my skills and the skills themselves by doing more career coaching work.
You’ll want to talk with your managers, bosses and co-workers about the possibilities. I had one client who went job searching because he was stuck doing a small number of things and was not allowed to do more or be more creative (which actually would have helped his employer, the city government). He started his secret job search after having a talk with his supervisor.
5. Losing Faith in Your Company
At a nonprofit I once worked for, I found out that fellow team members were talking behind my back when they could have been talking directly to me. They had decided to sideline me for various reasons instead of trying to solve the real problems.
Trust and sharing knowledge are among the key things for a highly successful company. If something happens that causes you to mistrust your company then you should question why you’re still there.
There are a ton of reasons why this could happen:
- pay checks bouncing – if you’re not being paid for the hard work you do they’re exploiting you.
- gossip – people are talking behind your back instead of working with you to improve the situation and solve the real problems
- micromanaging – team mates or managers keep checking on you as if they don’t trust you to do things their way (the problem is that it’s a bad use of their time and it makes you mistrust them of course)
- promises broken – if spoken promises or commitments fall through then you’re less likely to believe the next time around
- you catch people lying
- you’re asked to do things you think are wrong
6. Taking Temporary Too Far
For new graduates out of school, the job market is the toughest that it has ever been. Many have to take retail or customer service jobs to get by. Job hunts take on average anywhere from 19 to 33 or more weeks depending on what you’re looking for.
It’s easy to stay at temporary jobs to the point you just give up looking for anything else. You stop growing. In some ways it almost feels like you’re not alive (see #2).
A relative of mine stays at his part time job longer than expected because of the hours no other job offered. He’s still trying to figure out how to develop a better skill set. He knows he doesn’t want to stay at the job forever.
7. You Never Get a Raise or Promotion
A friend of mine was in a closely related situation. He was the most well trained and skilled DHL office worker in the department who could work the system (he was the only one) with the airlines. Yet he’d never received a raise in over eight years of working there.
If everyone else is getting raises and promotions then it could be a sign. You may be passed over because the boss or management is playing favourites and is not awarding experience or real accomplishments. Unfortunately it seems to happen a lot.
This can lead to resentment and mistrust (#5). If you’re in this kind of situation there may be little you can do without feeling like you’re selling your soul. It may be time to look elsewhere for work – somewhere where meaningful hard work is appreciated.
8. The Company is Changing
If a company is going through serious changes like cutting departments, changing management, getting sold or being joined to another company then you should be on alert.
You should start early with a job search and be networking months in advance (if possible). Massive shake ups in a company usually mean lost jobs. Again avoid the last minute stress or uncertainty.
9. Victim of Company Politics
A major project in your department has went wrong. Your immediate boss or manager is getting the heat. And there’s the chance people could lose their jobs including you.
Sound like a situation you’ve been in?
The same relative from #6 works in a company that’s losing money because of politics. A previous store manager had been running the store to the ground and was possibly involved in criminal activity. After he was fired, people found out that two upper management people were friends with him.
What happens? They decide to draw attention away from themselves by doing everything they can to direct blame on the new store manager and his staff – even though they had little to do with the previous store manager’s situation. Misguided? Yes.
Money and jobs of innocent people at stake? Yes.
If this kind of situation is happening in your workplace you should be looking for a job as a back up immediately.
So those are 9 possible signs its time to look for a new job. Many of us have probably seen these signs before in past jobs and failed to act – so act this time around. The key is to use your keen observations to plan ahead especially if you have a family to look after.
Are you seeing any of these signs at your workplace? What are your next three action steps to either fix the problem or find a new job? Let us know in the comments below or share this post on Facebook or Twitter to discuss it there.