Contrary to popular belief, employees aren’t changing jobs any more frequently than they have in the past – though it’s true that young people graduating from undergraduate and professional schools today are more likely to flit between employers than previous generations.
That employees are staying put at the same rate as their parents doesn’t change the fact that, every year, millions of hardworking folks decide that the time is right to make a switch. If you feel a nagging sense that you could be among their ranks soon, it could be down to one or more of these seven signs of a dead-end job.
- Your Heart Just Isn’t in It Anymore
Don’t ignore that “checked out” feeling. If your heart simply isn’t in your work anymore, continuing to stay in your role is fair neither to your employer nor yourself. Someone else – you, five or seven years ago – is better equipped to do your job. Give them the opportunity to step into your shoes, and steel yourself to step out into a newer, bigger pair of your own.
- You’re Not Sure What You Want from Your Career
Set aside the question of whether it’s ever really possible to know what you want out of your career and allow for the moment that it’s possible to know when you’re not sure what you want out of your career.
This feeling of detachment or aimlessness strikes even the most ambitious, driven professionals – after all, we’ve all summited a hill or traversed that last bend before the sea, only to find that the view isn’t what we’d hoped for. Simply recognizing that your expectations are not being met – and, further, that you’re not quite sure how to set your expectations – lays the foundation for what comes next.
- You Need Distance
Perhaps you know what you want from your career, but you’re not quite ready to take it. For established professionals, voluntarily stepping back from a leadership role provides invaluable distance and perspective for when you’re ready to hop back into the ring – whenever that may be.
- You’re Spending Too Much Time on a Side Gig
Feeling empowered to pursue your passion on the side isn’t a bad thing. There’s a reason some employee-friendly tech firms allow team members to take one unstructured day out of every five. The trouble comes when you feel compelled to work on a side gig to the detriment of your day job. At some point, your side gig becomes your day job – or should, if you’d like to preserve your sanity.
- You’re Being Passed Over for Opportunities and Promotions
Don’t blame yourself. Ask your superiors why your peers are getting prime opportunities, or hopping ahead of you in the chain of command. If you’re not liking what you’re hearing, look for an employer that values your contributions.
- You Feel Like an Outsider
Every firm worth its salt talks a big game about “culture.” Few actually walk the talk. If you feel like an outsider in your current role because your superiors’ or peers’ values don’t align with your own, ask yourself whether it’s worth your time and effort to move the mountain. Chances are, the path of least resistance lies in finding a role with an employer whose internal culture more closely resembles your ideal.
- Your Employer Isn’t Growing With You
A corollary to the all-too-common heart-isn’t-in-it scenario: an employer that isn’t willing or able to grow with you. In other words, you might still find your job engaging, enjoyable, fulfilling – but your employer simply lacks the capacity to support your career to its logical endpoint. Rather than languish in middle management, look for a more dynamic employer that’s ready and willing to grow with you.
Are You Ready for a Change?
The realization that it’s finally time to change jobs often creeps up over time. Weeks, months, even years can pass before the feeling crystallizes into something actionable.
Take it from those who’ve made changes before: nothing good comes from trying to wish away this feeling. Once it becomes clear that you’re doing yourself no favors by remaining in your current role, it’s time to take the plunge without further preamble. You’ll thank yourself when the deed is done.