Is it time to make a change in your work situation? Could be. Not so long ago, work was a clear-cut proposition: get your foot in the door, put your nose to the grindstone, then call it a career once 30 years pass and all the life force has drained from your body. No longer! That approach is as atavistic as marriage dowries and medicinal bloodletting.
Today, U.S. workers hold an average 57 jobs* during the course of their career. That’s a ton of new employee training courses, but how do you know whether you’re job hopping on a whim or because of rock-solid rationale?
4 signs that it’s time to make a change
Fortunately, you needn’t consult tea leaves or chicken entrails. Instead, keep an eye peeled for the following signs that it’s time to mosey on down the new job trail.
Your skills are eroding.
Work lunches provide only one form of sustenance.
Your manager mistakes meeting time for story time.
You can’t deny the urge to be the captain of your own fate.
Sign No. 1: Your skills are eroding faster than a sand sculpture at high tide
I know a guy who worked for an in-the-know tech company where things moved quicker than an agitated mongoose. He left to work for a big-name, old-timey financial services company that’s woefully behind in their technology and methodology. He’s now the smartest guy in the room, but with each passing month he’s growing dumber relative to others in his field. (Sorry, Harold.)
The longer you stay at a place where your skills aren’t keeping pace, the higher a hurdle you’ll face the next time you hit the hypercompetitive job market.
If your company can’t (or won’t) offer you the chance to grow in skill and responsibility, it’s high time you found one that will.
Sign No. 2: Work lunches provide only one form of sustenance
I have strong feelings around lunch, not unlike those of a farmer toward her soil, an artist toward his brushes. Yep, grabbing a mid-day meal away from the office with coworkers is indispensable for me. Why? Because most days the ensuing lunch conversation leaves me refreshed and inspired and convinced I’m among kindred spirits who see the world through a similar lens. It’s a good feeling.
Back when I was a software developer, we only talked software development at lunch. My conversational forays into books and movies and jazz were gently, yet consistently, rebuffed, and it dawned on me that I was in the wrong tribe.
I implore you to find the right one and surround yourself with good folks. It’s worth it.
Sign No. 3: Your manager mistakes meeting time for story time
The adage is people don’t quit companies, they quit managers. Sound right to me. After all, the person above you on the org chart significantly impacts your job happiness. And there’s no better way to gauge how she’s affecting said happiness than by whether you love or loathe your one-on-one meetings with her.
I had a dark employment period during which my manager used our weekly hour of meeting time to regale me with tales both irrelevant and inane, from his son’s custom-made ping pong paddle business progress to the history of women’s high heels(!). I’m a tolerant man, but not without my limits. Fortunately, a reorg swept him into a new area of the company — one in which he was exposed as a charlatan — before I was forced to act. If you find yourself hoping your manager gets swept out to sea (and there’s no reorg on the horizon), you have my permission to skedaddle, pronto.
Sign No. 4: The urge to be the captain of your own fate can’t be sublimated any longer
Just as comic book fans can be divided into DC or Marvel camps, so can people be categorized as 9-to-5 folks or entrepreneurs. There’s nothing wrong with being either type, but things get sticky when one attempts to masquerade as the other. If you don’t believe me, try forcing a Superman fan into an Incredible Hulk suit.
If you’re the type who won’t be happy until you’re at the helm of your own venture, then stop being miserable by doing something else in the interim.
Yes, launching something new and bold comes with its share of discomfort and uncertainty. No, success isn’t a certainty. Far from it. But being true to your personality trumps all, and I contend there’s never been a better time in the history of humankind for new ventures to blossom.
At this point in the proceedings, I’d be remiss to not mention that GoDaddy offers an array of fine products to help you take your vision from idea to reality with style and panache. (How’s that for some persuasive sales copy?) Use them to start up something good, people!
Bringing it all together
This has been fun. What have we learned? I think it’s that no matter how loyal an employee you are, some work circumstances are so egregious that they warrant packing your bags and moving on. Your destination could be a different job in the same company, a new employer, or your own thing entirely. All are valid escape routes when it’s time to make a change. Choose one and don’t look back until those ping pong paddles are a fuzzy, foggy memory.
* Actually, it’s 12 to 15 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.