WORRIED THAT YOU'RE STUCK IN A JOB THAT IS NO LONGER RIGHT FOR YOU? LOOK OUT FOR THESE RED FLAGS.
I once stayed at a company for too long and didn’t realize it until after I left. Of course, there were red flags that I should have paid attention to, and allowing myself to grow complacent—instead of proactively looking for something new—meant that I stopped caring about the work I was doing and left feeling resentful and unfulfilled.
I was well-established on the team and had been in the position for almost two years when I asked to help out on a specific project to grow my skills. While I would have completely understood if my boss had said it wasn’t in the team’s best interest, she instead said that she would let me know, but never got back to me and skirted the subject when I reminded her.
Eventually, I was moved to a different project that had nothing to do with my career path. That’s when I realized it was time to leave. Unfortunately, I left on a negative note, feeling upset at the way things had gone. If I could do it over again, I would have recognized the signs sooner and made plans to move on when it became apparent that I had gone as far as I could in my role.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, though. Finding a new job is tough. You have to rework your resume, network with your connections, and spend your evenings pounding out cover letters and applications.
Wouldn’t we all rather be out grabbing drinks on a Friday night than stepping out of a comfortable spot and taking on new challenges? Doing so, however, only does a disservice to your career and to you.
Wouldn’t we all rather be out grabbing drinks than stepping out of a comfortable spot and taking on new challenges? Doing so, however, only does a disservice to your career and to you.
Take the time to assess your role and your career and a regular basis. Here are four indicators that may mean it’s time to move on:
1. You no longer have to think about your daily responsibilities and can do everything on autopilot.
If you have been in the position so long that that you no longer have to think about your daily tasks, you’re probably not getting anything out of the position any longer. It’s important to frequently assess where you are at and what you need to do to grow.
2. You’ve asked to work on new opportunities, but have been turned down.
Your expertise might not be right for a particular project, but if you’ve asked for more responsibility several times and it seems like your boss isn’t receptive to you moving outside of your “box,” it might be time to move on.
However, I would encourage you to have a frank conversation with your boss if this happens more than once, before you write off the position as going nowhere. Bosses are busy people and I can guarantee that your career development is probably not high on their list of priorities. Your boss may just need a reminder that you have been doing the same thing for awhile and would like to work on something new and grow your skills. It’s always helpful to ask where your boss envisions you going with the team and what you can do to get there. If the answers aren’t what you’re looking for, start updating your resume. Waiting around hoping that the environment will change isn’t good for you or your current company.
It’s always helpful to ask where your boss envisions you going with the team and what you can do to get there.
3. Your boss avoids talking about your future on the team.
If your performance evaluations have started sounding like a checklist of whether or not you’ve completed your regular tasks, with no indication of your growth or new opportunities, your boss may think you have gone as far as you can go in the role—or even at the company. If your boss has no vision for your growth within the company—and refuses to consider such opportunities even when you bring them up, it’s time to move on to a company where your growth is prioritized.
4. You’ve been moved to a different project that doesn’t fit in with your career goals or background.
When I was moved to a new team at my old company, I realized that this was my boss’ way of giving me something new to work on, without actually working to help me grow in my career.
Unfortunately, it didn’t fit in with my background, experience, or career goals. If the same happens to you, assess what you have to gain from the project. If it’s a temporary move to help out your team, aim to get whatever you can from it before you go back to your usual position. If it’s a permanent move that doesn’t make any sense for you, it might be time to start looking for a new project outside of your company.
While it’s tough to move out of your comfort zone, it’s always best to leave a job on a positive note. If you’re not happy in your position, your work may suffer and leave your office with a negative view. Constantly assessing where you’re at means you’ll be able to be proactive about your career growth and avoid getting stuck in a rut.