You’ve been in your position for a while and you’ve become fairly comfortable in it, perhaps too comfortable. Maybe you’re feeling that you’re becoming stagnant and not being challenged enough. Maybe you’re frustrated by the slow pace—or stressed out by the fast pace. Whatever the situation, you’re wondering whether it’s time for a career transition. But making these types of transitions can be stressful—and risky. Still, where’s there’s potential risk, there’s also potential reward. What signs might indicate it’s time for a career transition—or not?
What Signals Indicate It Might be Time for a Career Transition?
Is it time for you to make a career move? In today’s employee-friendly job market more employees are thinking about making a move for a variety of reasons. When any of these factors are absent, employees may start to think about leaving for greener pastures.
15 Signs It’s Time for a Career Transition
The risks involved in making a career change mean that business professionals should think carefully about making a move. There are a number of signs, though, that may indicate the time is right.
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is president/CEO of Great Resumes Fast, an executive resume writing service. She points to a number of signs that it’s time for a career transition:
- There are no opportunities for growth, learning, training, and progressing. Ask yourself am I thriving or stagnant?
- No advancement opportunities are available. The company isn’t promoting from within, the people above you are not going anywhere in their career and have no desire to move, so there’s nowhere for you to go.
- You’ve contributed all that you can or made the biggest impact that you can, and in order to continue making a difference, you have to leave the current company.
- You’ve expressed an interest in moving up (maybe even multiple times) but your boss is holding you back – for whatever reason.
- The work environment is negative and it’s creating undue stress.
- The culture is stifling, and your ideas and thoughts aren’t taken seriously.
- You’re unhappy, you feel like your career is stagnant, and you realize that you could be doing more, earning more, feeling more fulfilled and more challenged if you were employed somewhere else.
Laura Mael with Settlers Bank says she’s been through a number of career transitions herself and also helps others make career transition decisions. She points to some signs that it may be time to make a move:
- Work is a chore before you even get there in the morning
- You can’t say anything good about where you work or what you’re doing
- Your focus during the day for your job at hand has dropped from high to non-existent
- You take extra time on your lunch hour because no one notices, and you couldn’t care if they do
- You’ve started dreaming about an exit strategy
- You spend time reading job postings—while at work
- You no longer associate with your coworkers outside of work
Physical signs and symptoms can also indicate it’s time for a move. When your dissatisfaction with a current job, or company, starts to impact your health, it’s probably time to make a move. In fact, a big clue that something needs to change are the “Sunday night scaries”—the feelings of dread that set in when you go to bed on Sunday night and anticipate going back to work the next morning.
Sometimes, though, it’s not time to make a move. Here’s a look at some reasons it’s not time for a career transition:
Also read: The Cost of Settling in Your Career
7 Signs It’s Not Time for a Career Transition
Kori Renn directs the career coaches in the undergraduate career services office of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and has more than 15 years of experience in recruitment and talent acquisition. Renn says she typically encourages people to think through three internally driven questions when determining if it’s time to move on. Saying “yes,” to any of these might indicate that it’s not:
- Are you still learning?
- Do you see yourself being happy in roles in your organization that are more senior to your current role?
- Do you like more aspects of your role than you dislike?
She points to some additional considerations that may indicate that it’s not time to move on:
- You’ll give up political equity and institutional knowledge that you’ve earned during your time with the organization.
- You’ve changed jobs frequently, so frequently that those shifts might send out red flags to potential employers or hiring managers.
- Your career transitions have been sporadic and not well aligned. “If you’re all over the map bouncing from one thing to the next, it won’t make sense for an employer,” says Renn. “You have to show a rationale for your transitions.”
- The reason the role you’re considering is open isn’t a positive one. Renn, notes that for any given opportunity, unless it’s a brand-new role, there’s a reason the position is vacant. While employers and hiring managers may not be eager to share that reason, it’s worth your while to figure it out. “The more you can understand why the role is open, the better you can mitigate the risk of jumping feet first into a mess,” she says. “Talk to people not involved in the hiring process to get the true story. Do as much due diligence as possible to know the history of the role.”
“Transition is a natural and healthy process within a career,” says Renn. “It keeps you fresh in your role, provides an opportunity for learning and growth and, in most instances, makes you an overall better profession.” Organizations, she says, should encourage movement and growth. But, for those people who have been in a role long enough to master it, it may be time to consider why they haven’t moved on to something new. It may be time!
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