Deciding When It Is Time to Change Jobs

Every job has a lifecycle. There is an exciting or interesting starting point and then a natural progression that occurs over time. After a period of growth there will be a point when the job will peak. At this maturity point there may be a change made that allows the cycle to restart, or the job enters the decline and the employee loses interest, becomes complacent, works to just get by, and/or begins the search for a new job. Regardless of the final outcome, most every job goes through this cycle. It can occur over a short period of time if the employee was overqualified or they learned the job duties quickly and now find the work to be too easy or mundane.

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A job that is at its peak, when maturity has begun, may also extend for a long period of time – if the employee enjoys this job, decided this is their ideal career match, or they need the income and are content with it for now mes jobs. A job that is in a state of decline is generally experienced as a feeling – perhaps there is a desire to do more, perform something different altogether, or there could be a sense of boredom. Whatever the reason may be for a job in decline, it is an important reminder that you need to be in control of your career at all times.

Career Self-Assessment

Taking charge of your career begins with a clear sense of self and an established purpose. This is one of the first aspects I address what I am working with clients as a career coach. Someone will tell me that they are unhappy with their job and yet they do not really have a sense of where they want to be because they haven’t established career goals. They let the job be the deciding factor and when they are no longer interested in that job for whatever reason, they know it is time to find a new one. And if they don’t have a specific plan it generally shows up in their resume or description of their background during an interview.

An employer wants to know you have a plan and act from that perspective instead of waiting until a job peaks and goes into mental decline. In other words, there is a purpose for changing jobs. What you can begin with is a self-assessment and see if you can determine what your ideal job may be. You can also consider what indicators you may be looking for as you evaluate your job and determine if it is time for a change. As part of your self-assessment you should also determine if you have goals or checkpoints to examine your progress along the way.

Obtaining Maximum Value

It may be likely that your current job has already peaked some time ago and now before it enters into a decline phase you can re-examine your career plan. For some people financial obligations will dictate the choices they make about their job. However, if you have reassessed your career at the established checkpoints you already know that you can plan ahead. You always have a choice with your career and if the income received from your job is the only perceived value then you may need to establish new goals.

Every job has value, even if the purpose is to help you decide that this is not of long-term benefit for you or your career. But there are skills required for this job that you are using and improving along the way. This job can also help you make a better assessment of your desired or preferred job. In other words, no job is without value of some kind – even if you have mentally peaked with the required job duties. To obtain maximum value, decide if this position is no longer a perfect fit and if not you can prepare for the next one, which may involve acquiring new skills or knowledge, cleaning up your resume, or preparing a dialogue for an interview.

Indicators of Needed Transition

One of the first indicators you will find that is signaling a needed change are your emotions. If you have begun to feel bored or that you need something different to do, consider your career plan. What can be gained by staying in this position both short-term and long-term? Will there be any possibility of a future promotion or transfer? In other words, can you manage your feelings if it is of benefit in the long run? Of course negative feelings can produce emotional reactions and that is much more difficult to work with. I’ve addressed this is a career coach and know that negative feelings can become toxic – whether or not they are justifiable reactions.

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