Ever wondered when it’s time to switch roles or move companies? If you’re um-ing and ah-ing about moving on, here are some signs it’s usually time to pull the plug.
You’ve been in the same role for three years and haven’t taken on greater responsibility
Unless you’re happy as a clam to keep doing the same thing year after year (in which case – who are you and why are you on my website!?), I think on average, three years is about right to make the jump. It’s a perfectly respectable amount of time to spend in a role or at a company before moving (versus someone looking to move within a year for example), and it’s not so long that you’re kind of getting stale and showing signs that your career has flat-lined.
There’s no career path
Sometimes, there’s no just no plausible next step for you to take within a company. For example, maybe you’re one of a two person legal team, and your boss doesn’t look to be quitting any time soon. Unless you want to transition out of your department to something new, it’s just a matter of time before you need to start thinking about moving externally. It sounds obvious, but I have seen so many people unhappily stick it out where they are when there is no foreseeable next role.
You hate your boss and colleagues
Unless you have the world’s most amazing job and are swimming in cash, my view is that we all spend too much time at work to hate our colleagues and/or boss. I had one role where let’s just say I wasn’t enthralled with my boss’ style. She was a big ball of stress and said every day that she was “going to die”. Friday couldn’t come soon enough when I was doing this job. I stuck it out for a while and then moved as soon as it was perceived to be long enough.
You’re bad at your job
OK, I guess I could say ‘you’re not the right fit’ but let’s call a spade a spade. If you’re not doing great work, you’re not going to be appreciated, you won’t get recognized, you’re not going to get paid well, and you’re definitely not going to get promoted. There’s just no upside to staying in a position where you’re not doing a good job. Move to something else ASAP and just try to help everyone forget this blip even happened. I’ve seen a lot of people, senior managers even, really fail in new, different jobs they took on. It’s so much more respectable to see people move back to what they were good at in the first place rather than hang around and try to prove they can do something new, when we all know they can’t.
Your boss starts suggesting careers that don’t exist at your company
Sound weird? I did this once with one of my team members. She was super nice, really enthusiastic, and well intentioned, but she wasn’t great in the role – and I didn’t really think that she was ever going to be. I knew her passion was to do something else and so I was super ‘supportive’ ;) of her career, even if that meant looking outside of the company. Truth be told, had she stuck around much longer, I would have had to give her that push myself. I don’t feel badly about this at all as I was always confident it was the right thing for her and for the company.
You work long hours, weekends, and the $ or opportunities don’t make up for it
Did you know that there’s a word for death by overwork in both Korean and Japanese? After some of the horrible situations lately in the press, I wouldn’t be too surprised if this got added to the English language (I mean, if ‘selfie’ and ‘twerk’ can get added…). I have a lot of friends who work hours that are just crazypants. Saturday night? Yep, they’re at work. Now if this isn’t a regular occurrence, if you’re trying to prove yourself for an upcoming promotion, or if you get paid like a hedge fund manager, then it’s probably okay at least for the short-medium term.
You’re amazing and yet under-valued
This is a tough one because there are a whole lot more people who think they’re amazing than actually exist in reality ;) Anyway, let me take your word for it and we’ll assume you’re truly awesome (with great performance reviews to back it up). Sometimes, companies/departments/bosses totally get it wrong. One of my good friends (you know who you are!) was a top performer and one of the best in the company, yet was getting a smaller job than what she used to have – no direct reports, a smaller portfolio, less budget, and so on. This kind of thing can happen at work and it sucks. But if you’re a superstar (and she is), you can’t settle. She left her company for a much bigger and better job soon after.
What other signs have you seen that suggest it’s time to kick your job to the curb? Let me know in the comments below!