When Is It Time To Leave Your Job?
Jobs are like relationships.
Some days are amazing. Others totally suck.
But when is enough enough? When do you extricate yourself from an unhealthy situation?
Is it simply a matter of math? A tipping point when the bad days outnumber the good?
Is it when you realize your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/significant other comes home from work constantly cheery and in a good mood, and you can’t help but resent them, just a little, for it?
I’m struggling with the answer myself, but there are a few things that I’ve learned over my short career.
There is nothing like feeling stuck in a loveless job. When you’ve crossed that threshold from feeling great about the work you are doing and actively creating new projects to take on, to just feeling apathetic. You no longer strive to go above and beyond as you normally do in every aspect of your life. You simply want to punch in and punch out.
And even that is difficult at times.
You might even think that quitting altogether would be worth it. But then you slap yourself out of it. Literally, if necessary. And stick with it. At least until you’ve found something else.
But this is dangerous territory to be in. Dangerous because it might make you reckless in your job seeking journey. You might apply to a hundred ‘OK’ jobs, but none that would really excite you. You might be tempted to take whatever offer is on the table just to get out.
After my last job, I vowed never to get in this precarious position again. I promised myself that even a good job could turn awful in a flash, and to never feel completely comfortable where I am at. That amazing boss that hired you could leave unexpectedly, completely upending the office atmosphere. You can be promised that promotion and not get it because then who would do your job as well as you do?
What I want to share with readers is that promise to myself that went one step further: to make sure I always had my ear to the ground and was perpetually on the lookout for that next gig. This has served me well.
It has given me the motivation to apply to jobs that I would love to get, even during times where I’d rate my current job as satisfying. I NEVER want to miss out on an opportunity for my next dream job, even if it might seem like a stretch.
Constantly being on the prowl can come in many forms and can ebb and flow in intensity. When I am busy and things are well at work, I’m not as active in looking at job sites and keeping my options open.
That’s perfectly normal. But the trick is to never fully stop looking. Even if it is just browsing the LinkedIn or your favorite job search engine site every day and spending a minute or two skimming it to see if something catches your eye.
Because the truth of the matter is that once you have hit your absolute breaking point and want to get out of your job, often times that is not when there is a vacancy available for your dream job. Or whatever your dream job is at the moment.
By always knowing what’s out there career-wise, you can make sure you aren’t missing out on opportunities that might serve you well.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. But it is definitely worth incorporating into your daily routine.
So if you are happy in your current job, great! Find one or two sites to skim once a week, or at whatever frequency you feel comfortable with, and make this a habit, build it into your everyday life.
And if you aren’t happy and you are already looking for that next job, keep going! You can do it! It won’t end here, I promise! Just make sure once you get that next job that you build the habit I prescribed above.
I know how difficult this time can be, so if you feel like you are just coasting in your current position and actively looking for that next career move, here are some helpful tips to get you through this often challenging time:
- Take solace in the fact you are actively looking for a new job: Your resume is spruced up and you have a couple of great cover letters to pull from to tailor as needed. You just need to keep up your enthusiasm for job hunting and remind yourself that you will find something better out there.
- Tell your trusted colleagues and work acquaintance circles that you are looking for a job: I’m 99 percent sure there are stats out there that confirm you are more likely to get a job by knowing someone who is not a close friend. People who know your work product and know you professionally are your best bets in making the connections needed to get the scoop on new jobs openings or an introduction to someone who works where you want to work.
- Update your LinkedIn profile: Post your resume and figure out how you can meet contacts at your ideal company.
- Do REALLY good work at your current position: Give yourself an ample amount of content to pull from when you are in an interview and someone asks about a recent project, achievement or success.
- Date around: Talk to people that are hiring for something close-to your dream job. They might be looking for someone to fill that dream job position but haven’t posted it yet.
- Be aware of where you are and who you are talking to: You never know who is thinking they want to steal you away.