Have you been thinking about a new job or career? For most people, the idea of launching a job search is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking. Looking for a job can be a daunting task requiring time, effort, and preparation-not to mention the emotional and financial investment. Adding to the stress is the reality that if you’re successful, you’ll face change, which isn’t always synonymous with improvement. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side but not always.
Jobs are like marriage; they have peaks and valleys. Most adults accept-even expect-some job dissatisfaction, and maturity often helps us deal with minor job grievances and frustrations. After all, work is work, and expecting to love every aspect of your job every day is as unrealistic as expecting every day of your marriage to be pure bliss. That said, you’re not married to your job, and there are legitimate reasons to find a new one.
Here are 14 factors to consider when deciding if it’s time to brush off your resume and start looking at your other options:
1. Industry/Type of Business: Are you motivated and engaged at work or do you regularly feel bored? Do you find the type of business you’re in interesting and personally rewarding? Do you dread Monday mornings or look forward to them?
2. Company/Organization: Do you feel that you work for a good company or that it falls short of acceptable? Do you agree with its policies? Does it treat employees fairly?
3. Company Culture: How comfortably do you mesh with the company’s culture? How well do you get along with your coworkers? How in sync are the company’s atmosphere, size, and mission with your personality and style?
4. Company Location: How do you feel about your commute to and from work? If the idea appeals to you, would your employer allow you the option of telecommuting?
5. Hours/Schedule: What is your level of satisfaction with regard to the amount of hours you work and your schedule? Do you have any control over your hours/schedule?
6. Department/Team: Do you think you’re working in the part of the company where you’ll feel most satisfied and valued? If not, is there opportunity to move to another department/team?
7. Manager/Supervisor: How well do you work with your boss? Do you feel treated fairly, valued, and appreciated? Are there political/personality conflicts that are causing undue stress? Have you tried to resolve them? If not, what options are available to try to resolve them?
8. Facilities/Support: How closely does your work environment match your ideal version of where you’d like to work? Does your employer provide you with the equipment and support necessary to perform your job effectively?
9. Advancement: If you’re interested in advancement, does your current position offer room for additional training, responsibility, and promotion?
10. Compensation: Do your salary and benefits fairly reflect of the value you bring to the company? How does your compensation plan compare to colleagues internally (in the same company) and externally (at other companies) doing the same job?
11. Personal/Family: How well does your job complement your personal/family life? Is your work in line with your values and the things that are important to you? Is your job a good fit for your personality and a natural extension of how you perceive yourself and want others to perceive you?
12. Knowledge/Skills/Abilities: Are you using the knowledge, skills, and abilities you want to use in your job and in a way that effectively meets your employer’s needs and allows you to feel successful and happy most of the time?
13. Life Purpose/Goals: Is your job in alignment with your life’s purpose? How well does your job position you for achieving your long-range personal and professional goals?
14. Security: How secure do you feel in your current position? Are there factors in your company, such as serious financial instability or the threat of a corporate merger, that suggest layoffs might be imminent or your job might be in jeopardy?
Over the course of your career, changing jobs can be a positive strategy for achieving career goals, making more money, and finding greater personal and professional satisfaction. Change jobs too often, though, without a clear strategy, and with the wrong motivation, and you risk being labeled a job hopper and can wind up hurting your career.
At the end of the day and regardless of your employer, you work for yourself. Keep your eyes on the big picture. Manage your career effectively by dreaming big, working hard, and making decisions (like whether or not to change jobs) strategically and within the broad context of your long-range goals.
Ultimately, when it comes to navigating the turns of your career, you’re in the driver’s seat. To make sure your career winds up where you want it, you’ll need to steer it carefully and intentionally, and the only person who can tell you with any certainty if it’s time for a new direction and a new job is you. Is it time for a new job? What do you think?
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