Self-Evaluating your Career
So you’ve been with your company for a few years or more now, but you’re starting to think something has left the relationship. You are good at what you do and maybe even a bit comfortable in your role but something is missing. Is it time to buck-up and bear-down or is it time to break up and move on?
To better make your decision, look at these three things:
Am I Still Learning/Growing?
As a career recruiter, I have seen too many instances of people remaining in jobs that haven’t changed in years. Yes, they are good at what they do and get some sense of satisfaction from their role. And yes, the job is comfortable and convenient. However, there may be an issue with this Eden. If your company is not re-investing, improving, modernizing or otherwise committing itself to remaining highly competitive, there is trouble brewing. The problem? Loss of competitiveness overtime invariably leads to top line revenue decrease and eventually bottom line red ink.
On the other hand, when a company is reinvesting, your job changes pretty significantly every two or three years. New tools appear. New methods and business processes are adopted; modernization and modification. Consider more than 24 months since the last significant change without anything on the horizon to be a major yellow flag. Certainly something to talk up with your boss at your next sit down.
If you don’t get something concrete in that meeting it may well be time to consider options. Sooner or later, your company’s lack of fresh energy and innovation will catch up with it and you may just find yourself looking for a new job with skills and experience as outdated as your employer’s business model.
Toxic Change in the Job
Perhaps change is happening but it is the wrong kind! Perhaps you are asked to temporarily take on a new role that nobody wants only to find yourself permanently marooned. Perhaps someone resigns and you are asked to do their job as well as yours. That can be a good thing in the short term. However, when the work load leads to long-term unsustainable pace or radically extended work weeks, problems occur. If your home relations or health begins to suffer, or the stress is making you miserable with no end in sight it is time to talk with your manager.
Another instance of toxic change often results from a change of ownership. Many times, the acquiring entity looks to eliminate ‘redundant’ functions to save money. Worse, you may be bought by a competitor that is not looking for synergistic growth but the elimination of a competitive thorn in their side. If your company is purchased by a financial company, do some research about their track record. They have a business model which will be evident from past transactions. Do they re-invest for growth, leave alone or throttle acquisitions to extract maximum cash?
If you don’t like the change that is happening, chances are you won’t be alone. Beat the rush.
Toxic Change in Co-Worker Relationships
So you have always had a good relationship with your manager or co-workers, but that has changed. The manager who has been supportive and approachable is now a bit cold and distant. What happened? Talk about this at your next sit down.
Perhaps a co-worker relationship has changed in a way that is not desirable. How a person is behaving in general or towards you can dramatically impact how ‘safe and secure’ a workplace feels.
Don’t fool around. Do what you can to make the appropriate authority aware of your concern in as ‘kind and tactful’ way as possible.
If your efforts to address either of these issues leads to unsatisfactory results, it may well be time to move to a new role or company.