Career is an integral part of our life, and changes in your job or career can be intimidating. However, if you are unsatisfied with your job, staying too long can have even more detrimental consequences. If you’re still on the fence about making changes in your job, read about what could be good reasons that you should give it some thought.
Do you feel underappreciated, overlooked, underpaid, under constant pressure, bored, undervalued at your work? If you feel like you’re just walking through your workday, you’re likely among the 70% of people who feel emotionally disconnected at the office. Across most of the world, the percentage of adults with great jobs rarely tops 10%.
Some people have several jobs over the course of their career, and some have several careers over the course of their lives. For example, a survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that baby boomers held 11.9 jobs from ages 18 to 50. Gallup research has indicated that about 21 percent of Millennials report switching jobs within the last year, and 60 percent are open to a different opportunity.
What is the right period to stay in one job? There are different answers to the exact number of years. Still, on average, it is recommended to make a change within your job every 3 – 4 years to sustain an effective and efficient professional and personal development.
With my clients, I’ve met both cases regarding a job change – hesitators and job hoppers.
Hesitators, despite many miserable days, don’t do anything significant enough in order to change their situation. This is usually because of fear or because of not knowing what they want.
And then are job hoppers, the ones who too quickly jump from one job to another as they search for greener grass elsewhere. Changing too many jobs is not good for your resume and your professional development. By hopping around, you deplete yourself for a more in-depth and significant learning and experiences.
When it’s the right time to make a pivot in your job or career?
The quick answer could be that if after you have already tried everything to make your situation better “now and then of bad days” become “most of the time” in your job. You can feel how a lot of your energy is wasted on keeping yourself engaged; and if your engagement is at stake, then definitely most of your fundamental needs are not met within your organization.
I dare to claim that there is no one who would love his or her career 100% of the time and stayed all the time highly motivated. It is inevitable that we all experience ups and downs, good days, and bad days.
But how can you distinguish when you just need some time to unwind your job situation and when it’s time to make major changes in your job or career?
I invite you to check out if any of the following reasons are your case. If you say yes to more than 2 of them and if you experience them the most of your time for more than a year than it’s definitely the right time to start thinking about your next moves.
➡ Poor leadership style
There are many different practices of a bad leadership style, such as micromanaging, a bad communication style, lack of constructive feedback, recognition and one-on-one time, not having any regard for staff opinions, lack of clear expectations for employees, lack of vision, bullying, being too vague…
Considering that employees of the twenty-first century want transparency, such as contact with senior leadership, be important part of creating a company’s vision and mission, be kept in the loop about future development and goals, bad leadership practices can have significant detrimental effect on your morale, will, and motivation and consequently overall performance and productivity.
➡ Bad relationships at the workplace
If you struggle to get along with your colleagues or boss, or you even feel rejected, not seen, and not valued from your colleagues and managers, then your motivation and productivity are definitely at stake. Interpersonal trust, mutual respect, and consideration of others’ needs and wants are fundamental for creating a psychological safety and workplace engagement, which is essential for productive and satisfying work – environment.
➡ You’re chronically under-compensated.
You are not satisfied with your salary. This could be already from the start, but at that time, you were forced to accept it because of past circumstances. Other scenario is when your employment started with a decent salary but now after so many years and increased job requirements your paycheck has stayed the same – and there is no possibility to get a rise.
This gives you the impression that you are not appreciated and valued enough, which leads to feelings of frustration and anger.
➡ Lack of career growth
You feel “stuck” in your job. There is no right support from the management for your career advancement, or you don’t even see any appealing opportunity/position for your next step within your organization.
➡ You feel invisible
No matter how hard you try, you have been overlooked for a promotion, an important assignment, or a project. Your contributions, suggestions, ideas, opinions often stay unchecked, or you are even finding others get the credit for things you suggested months ago.
When you don’t feel your input is valued, then your work can become less fulfilling. One of the fundamental and essential components of a healthy working environment is being appreciated. Feelings of being useful, valuable, recognized at work is vital for sustaining the drive to stick with your duties day after day.
➡ You can’t live the lifestyle you would like to live
Your work demands take your presence more than you would like it to be. Your late-night work, constant travel, or heavy partying can severely impact your mental or physical health. This could be because the demands are simply higher than you are able to take over or you’ve experienced a major life change such as you got kids, you have to take care of your disabled parents and/or your prioritization has simply changed.
➡ You feel bored at work
You used to wake up in the morning, excited about what you might achieve during the day ahead. It was not a problem to take on extra projects and work late in the night because it was so important for you to do a great job. But now, you are a frequent visitor of social media (Facebook or Twitter or Instagram), always find yourself on YouTube, and surfing on the Internet.
You might feel bored because you have already grown out of your current role, and you don’t feel challenged by assignments anymore, or there is not enough work for you. Or it could be because your job is not aligned with your areas of interests and/or you can’t see any right meaning of your work.
Because of boredom, your motivation decreases, and you experience this as a lack of will, energy, enthusiasm, and lower self-esteem.
➡ You are developing your weaknesses instead of strengths and talents
Your company might be aware of the importance of employees’ development. But the question here is either is more inclined to improve employees’ weaknesses either strengths?
Merely focusing on our weaknesses stresses our brains. Because of the toxic environment in our brain, we feel mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained. If we allow us to be in that state of mind for prolonged periods of time, the results can be dire. Focusing on improving your weaknesses will only bring mediocracy, and the path to get there is full of resistance, procrastination, and frustration.
Various studies have shown that when we focus on our strengths and intentionally developing them, we grow faster than when (merely) trying to improve our weaknesses. Researchers found that people who practiced their strengths in this way were happier and less depressed six months later.
➡ Your values are not aligned with the company’s values
Your values are the lenses through which you view yourself and your world. They help you to determine what is important to you, and they guide or motivate your attitudes and actions.
They are subtle and implicit; you may not be consciously aware of them until they are questioned or threatened. Let’s say that you genuinely value connectedness. You may not have been consciously aware of this value until you realized that the leadership style in your organization is very much based on promoting competitiveness among employees.
Once you acknowledge that your values are tested in your organization, it’s difficult to hide from your inner feelings and emotions, which are coming from this dissonance. You may experience a lot of tension, frustrations, and anger, and this can only lead to serious stress.
➡ You are questioning the meaning of your work
Three men were laying bricks. The first was asked: “What are you doing?” He answered: “Laying some brick.” The second man was asked: “What are you working for?” He answered: “Five dollars a day.” The third man was asked: “What are you doing?” He answered: “I am helping to build a great cathedral.” Which man are you?
Every job has intrinsic meaning, no matter what kind of work you do, but based on your perception of your work depends on how highly important and motivating your work is for you.
I have worked with many clients who work in a pretty good and pleasant working condition – they had a good salary, good relationships at work, a good reputation, but still, they felt unfulfilled, and their energy level decreased significantly. The reason behind this dissatisfaction is that they were not sure what the meaning of their work is – what is its purpose and what kind of impact they actually want to make with their work.
Therefore, it’s important to understand WHY you work – what is your perception of work and what are your reasons for working. Money is definitely a driving force, but there are other reasons as well that keep you motivated, and they sustain your energy level high. Work becomes more meaningful when it makes a contribution to our own lives and to the lives of others.
If you want to find your meaning and fulfillment in your work, you have to become clear about your needs, values, passion, and purpose because they will help you find happiness and fulfillment in your job. Ask yourself what your definition of success is.
The consequences if you ignore these reasons
All these are important reasons for starting to consider making some changes in your current job situation. If you ignore them for too long or don’t do any right action, they can have a detrimental impact on you and even on other important people around you.
Because of your emotional discontent, you might show different behaviors, which are undermining your inner serenity and happiness.
You may find yourself to keep yourself busy with lots of work, as this gives you the meaning of being important, valued, and needed. You might work too many hours because of a mix of inner drivers like fear, guilt, emptiness or a need to be noticed as a ‘hard worker’.
You may dread Mondays and hoping to get through the day and week as quickly as possible.
You may feel embarrassed to talk about what you do for a living.
You may spend a lot of time venting about your work. A little griping about work it’s not harmless and can sometimes feel even liberating. Still, if you find yourself at work and at home most often focused on what’s wrong, complaining a lot, and feeling negative, then a lot of your vital energy is simply lost.
You may not be enjoying the present; instead, you live for the future. Most of your time, you spend in countdown mode – you count down days or months to your next vacation or state holidays, or you even find yourself frequently dreaming about retirement.
Ignoring all these signs can lead to even more severe consequences, such as collapsing of your well-being.
You may often feel stressed and tired. You may have difficulty getting to sleep, or you wake up during the night with worries about your job. Or you may have developed allergies, headaches, frequent colds, muscular tension, gastrointestinal upsets, or other physical symptoms. You may lack the right energy to do things that you used to enjoy doing them, or you may become more pessimistic, quicker angry, annoyed, and stressed.
Any of these could be symptoms of your emotional discomfort and rising stress levels. Your mental health has a significant influence on your physical health. Don’t ignore these signs as they are your early warning signs that things are not as they should be. Consider what the source of your emotional discomfort is, and if it’s your job, then it’s definitely not worth to stick to it any longer as even more serious health issues can develop too.
Make your move, but let it be the right one
No job is perfect for all the time, but that doesn’t mean that you should settle for less. I would like to encourage you to turn your current job into more of your dream job. With some exploration and reflection, you can get to the bottom of what’s sapping your energy and dig yourself out of it.
Don’t wait too long and put yourself in a place where you urgently need a new job. Then you will be more likely to accept mediocre offers and lower your requirements to get out of an existing position. Either don’t just hop from one job to another….
The transition will take some of your time and effort, but with the right commitment, with the right help and with the right steps and tools, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Therefore, take ownership of your career trajectory and make thoughtful steps in development of your future career path.