In a tight labor market, especially when news of large and small-scale layoffs continues to proliferate, it might seem inadvisable to look for a new job if you’re employed. But if you’re not engaged in your work, that will eventually show, which could put your career at risk. Once you realize you’re spending 40 hours weekly feeling unfulfilled, it’s always better to control your destiny than wait for others to decide your fate for you. Consider what steps you can take to reengage or whether a new job will make you feel more fulfilled. The author presents five signs that it’s worth looking for a new job elsewhere.
When you’re not completely happy in your job, it’s hard to know when enough is enough. Will your dissatisfaction pass? Is it worth it to put the time and effort into searching for another job and risk going somewhere new that may not be better?
As layoffs continue to pile up in the U.S. and companies brace for yet more economic uncertainty, you might be conflicted about whether to stay or go if you feel the pull to look for something new. Here are five surefire signs that it’s not worth staying at your current organization, even if we’re entering a tight job market.
The environment is toxic.
When you go to work, do you feel good about yourself and what you do? Is your work hampering your mental health, disrupting your sleep, or making you impatient with loved ones? If you’re talked down to or degraded in a way that isn’t considered normal feedback or find yourself complaining to family and friends about your job, you may not be able to fix your boss or company culture.
Before you start hunting for something new, look at your words and actions to determine whether you’re contributing to the toxicity. If you’re gossiping or complaining, seeing negative intent behind every decision, exhibiting a bad attitude, or putting up roadblocks that prevent others from accomplishing their goals, then consider how you can change your own behavior first to see if personal changes impact the behavior of others around you.
If you’re not doing any of those things, then try to figure out what’s making the culture feel toxic and determine if it’s fixable. If you feel like the issues are deep rooted and unlikely to change, extricating yourself from the situation will be the best option.
Your values are being violated.
If you’re frustrated with elements of your job, it’s likely that at least one of your values is being violated. For example, if having family dinner every night is important to you, and your boss constantly interrupts your evenings with non-urgent needs, then that’s a violation of that value.
The best way to understand if your values are being violated is to identify and define them. Maybe it’s important to you to be able to solve complex problems, or to manage a team. Once you have each value defined, then classify them. Assign each a number from one to five — one being you don’t live that value at all in your job, five being that value is fulfilled every day. Review the ones that are classified as three or below. Is there anything you can do to fix infringements of those values? Regarding family dinner, perhaps tell your boss you’re going to be unavailable during dinnertime when you’re with your family and can be available afterward for urgent needs only. If they can’t respect that time, then the job may no longer be congruent with your values.
Your skills aren’t being used and developed.
Most people want to feel like they’re using their skills and making an impact. Think about the skills you have and the ones you’ll need to develop to advance your career. For example, if you want to use your skills for problem solving but don’t have the opportunity to work on increasingly complex problems, can you ask your manager for more complex work or to be part of the meetings where these issues are discussed? Or if you want to manage a team, is there a possibility of moving into a leadership role at some point? If you’re answering no to these types of questions, you may remain stagnant in your career if you stick around.
You’re not given opportunities to be visible.
Accomplishing the work is only part of the equation that adds up to long-term success and advancement in your career. If your boss provides you with opportunities for visibility through working on high-profile or cross-functional projects, others will be able to see your skills and capabilities.
When people know who you are and what you’re capable of accomplishing, you’re creating awareness of your brand. As your brand grows, you’ll be recognized as a thought leader and successful contributor to business goals. That visibility combined with stellar results could lead to new opportunities or a promotion. If your boss is keeping you hidden away, never letting you present to your managers or peers or participate in higher-level meetings, then it’s impossible to build brand awareness of who you are and what you can do, which will make growth in the organization more difficult.
You’re feeling low energy.
When you wake up Monday morning, do you dread going to work? Most people would like the weekends to last longer, but if you’re usually a person who goes above and beyond and now you’re doing the bare minimum, you’re most likely feeling unfulfilled. If the work feels routine or uninteresting or you’re frustrated with other aspects of the role most days, then the job may not be the right fit for you anymore. If there’s nothing you can do to reenergize yourself, such as raising your hand for an interesting new project or finding a way to connect to the work you’re already doing, a new job may be the best way to reenergize your interest in the work.
. . .
All of the above signs point to one thing: a lack of engagement in your job. That will eventually show, which could put your career at risk. Once you realize you’re spending 40 hours weekly feeling unfulfilled, it’s always better to control your destiny than wait for others to decide your fate for you. Consider what steps you can take to reengage or whether a new job will make you feel more fulfilled.
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