Taking the decision to quit your job is a big deal.
So how do you know if you are making the right decision?
I don’t like the word ‘quit’. It implies that you have given up. And giving up on something has a negative aura around it.
I prefer ‘moving on’.
Here’s a question:
How many hours per day do you spend at work?
Now, compare that to the number of hours you spend at home.
So, being happy at work is pretty damn important.
I used to be a secondary school teacher. It was a job that I loved but, I didn’t enjoy the mountains of paperwork and stress. It led me to an unhealthy lifestyle. I was working day and night. Every day, even on weekends and holidays. Christmas Day was no exception.
Eventually, it took my health to say ‘no’ for me to wake up. My body made me stop.
It didn’t matter how rewarding I found it. It was no longer good for me. For that reason, I had to quit.
I don’t want you to get to that point. That’s why I would like to share some thoughts with you about how to decide whether it is time for you to move on to a new job.
The points I have listed in this blog post may not answer or ask all of the right questions. But hopefully, it will help you get your thinking cap on.
1. ARE YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO BE?
Where are you in your career? Where do you want to be?
Now here’s the important question: does your current workplace offer you an opportunity to get to where you want to be?
Job hunting isn’t fun. It’s time-consuming. And in some cases, it can be soul destroying.
Because of this, you might be tempted to stay where you are. Or perhaps you have been in your job for a long time and find the thought of moving on, daunting. Regardless of the why ask yourself this:
Are you happy? Will you be happy in a year or two?
If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’, then it might be time to move on.
Staying in a job that doesn’t offer you the career progression you want, can be frustrating. And guess what frustration leads to? Demotivation. And unhappiness.
Also, if you don’t have opportunities to acquire the skills and experience needed for your career progression, it could be damaging. More on that later.
2. DO YOU FIT IN?
We all have a moral compass. Maybe you feel passionate about helping vulnerable people? Or perhaps you feel strongly about reducing the plastic that lands in our oceans?
Nowadays many companies have schemes that extend beyond the bottom line. I recently visited a company whose employees volunteered in a soup kitchen once a month. The company had an ethos of giving something back to the community.
You might have a great job but do you agree with your company’s values?
Feeling proud of where you work can massively contribute to your happiness. After all, as we have established, we tend to spend more time at work than at home.
Ask yourself whether you believe in the company you work for. If the answer is no maybe it is time to start exploring where other companies stand on issues that matter to you.
Another thing that is important is whether you feel comfortable in the company culture. For instance, I once worked for an organisation where people stared at you disapprovingly if you left work on time. It didn’t matter if you had finished everything you needed to do.
To me, that is quite bullying. I prefer to be trusted. How do you feel about the general culture of where you work?
3. Does a job for life even exist?
Long gone are the days where people settled into one job for life. Nowadays, even employers like hiring candidates that have varied experience.
Why? Because it shows that you are adaptable. Also, you learn different skills from working for different companies. Even if you have the same job title.
So how long is too long in a job?
Or more to the point, how do you demonstrate that you have staying power? After all, if a potential employer sees that you like job hopping, they may be reluctant to hire you.
Getting the balance right can be tricky – there really is no hard and fast rule. A good rule of thumb is to stay in roles for a minimum of two years.
On my CV, I always include why I left my past positions. I find this is a good way to reassure employers.
I only have one job where I stayed for less than a year. When asked about it, I have never had a negative reaction to my answer – the company wasn’t right for me. Probably because it is embedded in other roles where I stayed for a while or had fixed-term contracts.
4. Work-Life Balance
Having a healthy work-life balance is so important. When I was a teacher, I had to take marking with me on my honeymoon. That should have raised a red flag. But I accepted it as the norm.
Here are a few factors that can make moving onto a new job, a practical decision:
- Your commute – if you are travelling for a long time to and from work, it may be time to see whether there are any interesting jobs closer to home.
- Family life – are you spending as much time with your family as you would like? I know that the answer is almost always no but, is it something you can change? Could you move into a new position that offers flexible working hours?
- Hours spent at work – are you working too much overtime? Perhaps your workload gives you no choice. Can the company hire someone to help? If you are obliged to spend too much time outside of your contractual hours at work, maybe you need to move on.
An important thing to consider is whether the company that you work for value you.
I’m not talking about things like bonuses. I am talking about you. Have they got a pension scheme? Do they contribute to travel expenses? Is progress rewarded or does the company only recognise achievements?
I mentioned that company earlier whose employees volunteered in a soup kitchen once a month. Remember? Well, they also offer in-house manicures and massages. They also have a ‘university’ that run various professional and personal training courses. Employees can sign up for whatever they want, whenever they want and as often as they want.
Feeling looked after by your employer can go a long way. If you feel like you are being cared for, perhaps you can put up with some of the other challenges. Just a thought.
5. Is staying put going to be detrimental to your future career?
Your CV is your story. Does yours tell a good one?
Think beyond your job. Think about your career. When you go for that eventual promotion, will you have acquired the necessary experience? If you think you might side-step into something else, are you developing the skills to help you do that?
The best CV’s are the ones that reflect you as an achiever instead of a doer. You can tweak the language and content to optimise it. But, you can only work with what you have.
Maybe you are thinking of a career change. If so, this blog post on getting a job with no experience may help.
Therefore, moving on can be an investment in your career.
You may be happy where you are. But staying there might lead to future frustration.
Your personal brand is something not to be ignored. How you market yourself depends on what information you have at hand. So think about that from now. And ask yourself whether you are setting yourself up to create a strong personal brand.
what’s the verdict?
I hope that these ideas have given you food for thought. Even better, if I have been able to help you find some answers that you have been searching for. Even even better, if you have been able to make an important decision about your career.
Our careers are important. Whether you are a stay at home parent hoping to one day go back into full-time employment, an entrepreneur, or in a permanent job, being happy and fulfilled is crucial.
Sometimes staying in one place feels comfortable. But remember that being comfortable is not the same as being happy.
What are your thoughts?
I’d love to hear about your experiences and ideas. Have you recently quit your job? Are you thinking about quitting your job? Maybe you are a career specialist who can share some useful insights.
Please share them by commenting below.