Is it time for a change?

As a career coach, I get asked by people a lot if they should change jobs. I usually have a few questions for them to determine where they are at in their career. Some of us still work for one company our whole career, but this is becoming rarer. Perhaps you have had a long run at a company that may involve different positions and a few promotions. Let’s review some warning signs that you may need to move on.

Feel underutilized

When you first start out at a job it can be a little overwhelming. There is a lot to learn about what to do and how to do it. We also need to learn your new teammates, what their strengths and weaknesses are. As you gain some experience and confidence you feel on top of things. Perhaps as you get a promotion you will go back to learning new skills and challenges.
Sometimes though as you grow and learn new things your employer can only challenge you so much. Beth was working for a major employer in her city. She had gotten a few promotions and had become quite good at what they had her do. She felt underutilized and I spoke to her about discussing this with her manager. After a few conversations they added some small things but, she was not pleased. We began to prepare her to look for something new and possibly leaving her employer.

Don’t like your co-workers

When a team gets along you can really get a lot accomplished. A few years ago I worked with a team that we really gelled and could crank through the work. Many people commented how productive we were in the light of frequent changes. There was a group of five or six of us that had fun together and enjoyed coming in every day. We would occasionally get a beer after work.
After a while, people started to go different directions and the team changed. Eventually, we got a new manager and the company made some big changes. I was switched to another team and one of the original team members was not enjoying himself. He grew frustrated and needed a change and went somewhere new. I remember talking to him after he made the change he wished he would have left earlier. Don’t wait around until it gets too bad for you. A change can be a good thing for you.

You’re not appreciated

We all want to be appreciated for our work we do every day. There are a few cynical ones amongst us who think we only want to be paid. I won’t cite the numerous studies that say this is not the case. A few mercenaries out there solely look at the pay. Recognition and appreciation are key factors for most people, though.
“Appreciate everything your associates do. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.” This was shared by Walmart founder Sam Walton. He understood how important showing appreciation is, but honestly many managers and companies seem to miss this. If your extra hard work goes unnoticed it may be time for you to look a new opportunity.

You don’t get feedback

Most companies give yearly reviews that share information with their employees on things they can improve and things they do well. We want to give feedback to our teammates to help them to learn from their performance gaps. As a new employee early in my career, these were a good time to find things to work on for the year ahead. Later in my career, I became a manager and I had to give employees reviews.
As you learn more the feedback can be sparse depending on your manager’s experience. Linda is a good friend of mine. She recently shared with me after her annual review how her manager shared no feedback. She even pressed her manager for what she could work on and no information was shared. Linda is starting to look for a new position. If you are not getting the feedback you are not learning and developing. If you want to keep progressing then this is a major red flag and it may be time to move on.

You don’t care

If you get to the point where you don’t care about your work or the quality then this is usually a big sign. When you don’t care you become careless and are not putting in the effort. Don’t think you are fooling anyone. The people you are working with can tell. At this point, you have a terrible attitude and most likely your manager may be getting ready to put you on warning or letting you go. Even if they keep you around it is not good for you to continue on in this role. Consider looking for something else that you could do.

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