One of the most consistent question I get from the talented people I coach is, “When do I know it’s time to move on to a new higher level job?” Here are a couple of things to look for:
- Values are mismatched – Your values and that of the company (or boss) are not compatible. You are asked to do things that are outside your comfort zone.
- Assignments are diminished – The projects you are normally assigned go to someone else or are below your capability. You are being underutilized.
- A sense of doom – Something just isn’t right. Communications and reality are inconsistent. Meetings or subjects are avoided. You can’t get straight answers.
While everyone’s situation is different, there are some overriding questions to ask before initiating a job change. Part of your decision has to be based on two major determinants:
- Are you at the beginning, middle or near the end of your career?
- At what level are you currently employed within your industry or function?
If you are at the beginning of your career and at a lower level, the answers will be very different than if you are near the end of your career as a senior executive. Career strategies are personal and designed to meet the objectives of each unique situation and individual.
There are, however, some guidelines that may help to determine your readiness for a job change generally, and some factors to consider, specifically. The following are analytic tools I have found useful and may help you figure out when to move on. The factors are:
Professional/personal growth: Are you continuing to grow your skills, knowledge or abilities or have you tapped out? Are you continuing to work with an experienced mentor or a master performer? Ask the question, “Who do you learn from?”
Satisfaction/opportunity: Do you continue to gain satisfaction from your efforts or is it difficult to get up in the morning? Is there opportunity to reignite and re-engage your enthusiasm level again, or is it dead? Your energy level and passion are key indicators.
Compensation/potential: Are you being paid equal to your contribution? Are you paid average, lower or better than the marketplace for what you do? What is the potential for accelerating your grade, pay, bonus or promotion if you stay?
One final question that seems be a tipping point to a decision, “Does the boss, peers, co-workers, internal customers and upper management appreciate your contribution to the results of the organization?” The answer may point you in the right direction.
Contact Bill Kaufmann with questions, comments, or get a free resume review: firstname.lastname@example.org Find out about coaching or Bill’s e-book.