Research shows that high achievers are rarely satisfied. That’s probably why my good friend and mentor, Vance Caesar, wrote The High Achiever’s Guide to Happiness. Being happy in your job can be a struggle, but that does not mean it’s time to quit. It’s important to stick it out and build some stability in your career. To understand more about this, check out an article I wrote last year about Job Hopping. However, there are times when you really need to go and find a new job. In this article, let’s explore five signs that mean you should be ready to make a job change.
Sign number 1 – You have become part of the furniture
I like this saying, but you likely have no idea what it means. My old boss, Bill Jose, one of the original Headhunters at MRI from back in the 70’s told me this once and it stuck. What becoming part of the furniture means is that you have merged into the company landscape, you are not appreciated, and not on the fast track. Others get the big pay increases and the prime projects. They say things like, “Mike will never leave, he has it too good here.” You’re not a commodity and appreciated. You have stayed too long and become part of the furniture.
Sign number 2 – Your boss sucks
The number one reason people leave jobs is to get way from a bad boss. Some things to look out for are bosses that take credit for their employee’s work, people who do nothing and expect you to do it all, and people who are parked in place and will never leave the company. A good boss empowers, educates, and propels you. If you’re not getting that level of support… well, you know what this article is about.
Sign number 3 – Mailing it in, you’re no longer doing your best work
Okay, now it’s time for some self-reflecting. I could title this one, YOU are starting to suck… but that isn’t very nice. The first two are about other people. This one is about you. Have you become like the boss in number 2? Are you stuck there and never going to leave? Have you become a lifer and “given up?” If you feel like you’re starting to do the minimum, it’s time to take a look in the mirror and decide if you’re a top performer or an average player. Top performers don’t settle; they improve their situation.
Sign number 4 – Down a rabbit hole
Ask yourself this simple question: is the work I am doing making me more marketable? I know your boss says it is, but that may not be true. Ask colleagues, recruiters, and mentors so you know if what you’re doing is actually helping you to build a career. Don’t get caught working on things for years that are great for your employer if it’s not great for your career. The only exception here is if you’re going to become rich and never have to work again for it, and then well, go down the rabbit hole.
Sign number 5 – Captain’s may go down with the ship, but smart executives don’t
So we all know that a rising tide lifts all ships, meaning a great company helps everyone succeed. But did you ever stop to consider the opposite; a sinking company drowns everyone. It’s important to be objective here and understand if you’re in this situation. It probably sounds like this. No matter how hard you work and what you achieve, the company limits you because of its performance. If the company has hit an iceberg, it’s time to find the life raft quickly.
The Bottom Line
There is a fine balance between job hopping and making a strategic decision to advance your career. For some folks, this can be challenging. For others who tend to stay too long, this can be a problem of equal magnitude. It helps to have some objective criteria and good advice to architect a career you can be proud of and earn the income you want. If you’re looking for more, take a look at my book.