Recession or not, tight job market or not, how do you know when the time has come to bid your job relationship adieu?
First, let me acknowledge that slamming the door is not always possible, even when you have something already aligned.
Your financial situation is one of the many considerations that will dictate how flexible you can be to move on or not. All in, the process of leaving a job may take more time than you think – it requires strategy and planning – unless the situation is so toxic, it’s then a matter of survival-.
However, more often than not, crazy busy and blindspots have kept us living in that tighter and tighter comfort zone that now feels suffocating. When the writing had been on the wall for some time: here are a selected few red flags to help you start the ‘should I stay or should I go’ conversation.
Red flag 1: You are not unhappy but you are not happy either
Also means: you are not feeling content or achieved or anything positive when it comes to your professional situation for that matter. This is a big deal.
Considering the amount of time you spend at the job (not only physically, but also mentally when you’re off the clock, it’s important that you find some form of satisfaction in what you do the majority of your time.
Now I don’t believe that we can be ‘happy’ all the time – obstacles and challenges are part of the job, and your ability to solve them also why you have been hired. But if solving and creating are not giving you this feel-good-about-myself inside, if you are not feeling achieved at the end of a project, or after an interaction with a connection: ask yourself what is this job bringing you?
It could be money, safety or something else, but are those enough to give you more than basic survival, the satisfaction of contributing and making an impact, among other things?
Red flag 2: You are bored but feel unexcited about any new assignment, or anything new for that matter
Yeah…boredom is normal. In fact, it’s healthy to feel bored at the job every once in a while. It can be pretty taxing for your nervous system if you were permanently outside your comfort zone. But when yawn is your go-to reaction every time you think of your job…it could well mean that this time, you have outgrown it.
We are meant to explore and expand. That’s how we grow and evolve: Is where you are giving you an outlet for developing your skills and more experience?
Red flag 3: You cannot tolerate any more conflict between your values and theirs
A job is like an intimate relationship – at the beginning, there is this lovely phase of honeymoon, you discover, you marvel…then you start questioning your choices.
Most of the time, you get to the point where you accept the job’s (or your partner’s) shortcomings, because there is more to them that still entices you, challenges you, or makes you a better person.
But if you start noticing that you cannot stand what you used to be ok with it in the past, time to take a look at what is conflicting with you.
Hint: start with your values and see if/how they are clashing with your Company’s or with the requirements of the job.
You have changed since joining the place, so possibly the Company’s behavior and strategy – what can you accept and what can you not anymore?
Red flag 4: The excitement when you think about a promotion, a raise, or a new title is more and more short-lived
And should I add, when the excitement of anything positive promised, real or not, is outweighed by expectations of more dropping shoes coming your way.
Has your motivation become increasingly fleeting? Do you often think: “I am not paid nearly enough to deal with this sh!t”?
Motivation can be self-regenerated when the job’s goals are aligned with your own overall life goals, relationships, career and finances.
But what happens when the carrot is not sweet enough anymore?
Red flag 5: When you realize you have been staying for legit reasons: salary, benefits, colleagues and these are not enough anymore to balance frustration, burnout, and not feeling fulfilled
Another and final question that sums it all up: is staying here still self-respecting?
Deciding that the job is not doing it for you is a first step – next is the how. My suggestion: explore what detachment means for you.