Signs it Might be Time to Leave Your Job

January is a time of year where many think about self-improvement and career development as they stop and take stock of their lives and think about the year ahead.  As a long-time career coach, I’ve helped many clients as they consider their options and think about if it is time for them to make a move.  Here are some common signs and reasons people leave their job that I’ve heard from clients over the years:  

Stagnation: If you’ve had no growth in your role in the last year; no growth could be no change in your title but it could also look like no opportunities to learn new things or take on new responsibilities to groom you for future advancement.  Other types of stagnation could be that your company has no path for upward mobility or expansion/development of your role due to the size of the organization or because a manager wants to keep you in your current role for your convenience. 

Smart organizations and managers know that developing employees is important and invest time, effort, and resources to do so.  It is natural to want to get better at your work, learn new things, and to want to advance in some way in your career.  It’s okay to look for a role that allows you to do just that. 

Toxic Culture: Organizations that foster a lack of trust or create an environment that requires you to stay on alert can not only be detrimental to your career, but also to your health.  Undue stress at work rarely stays at work, radiating into our private lives as well.  Caring for yourself includes choosing environments where you have psychological safety both at home and at work. 

If you are in an environment where people fear retribution if they speak up, spend more time covering their back than looking ahead, or reward people despite negative or harmful behaviors – such as a high performing team member that makes coworkers miserable, but their negative interpersonal behaviors are excused because of their performance, it is perfectly normal to want to exit.  

 Toxic Manager: What does a toxic manager look like? It could be that they lead through fear, manipulation, communicate poorly, micromanage, or simply are ill-equipped or prepared to support their direct reports. Leaving a job because of a bad manager is one of the most common reasons.  In the case of an ineffective manager; if you’ve taken steps to proactively improve the situation by asking for the specific things you need from your manager and they continue to not provide you with what is necessary to do your job, it’s perfectly reasonable to escalate the situation to upper management or look for other options in or outside of the organization.  

If you are ever intimidated, berated, or made to feel unsafe, escalate the situation immediately with HR or upper management.  Always protect your safety first and foremost.  Companies should have a zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment, so don’t endure poor behavior.  I know many people (myself included) have tolerated poor and inappropriate behavior from colleagues and managers in the workplace because they feared making things worse.  But I can’t emphasize enough how taking care of your own safety and well-being needs to matter to you.  

 Sinking Ship: If the company you work for is on shaky ground (here are some handy signs to look for) either from poor leadership and management of company assets, poor forecasting, or lack of clarity on product differentiation, then it is understandable to start researching and applying to other opportunities, even while still actively trying to improve the status of the organization through giving feedback and making improvements. At one time or another, it’s likely that you’ll be at an organization when everything is going up and up and also be at one that is facing hard times.  It is important to think like a business in this situation and also look after your own financial well-being and career trajectory and get yourself into a better situation when it looks like the best option for you and your priorities. 

Rigidity: The type of inertia that can take hold in organizations both big and small can be a company-killer and career killer. Some businesses seem to change very little on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper, in most organizations with any sort of longevity, you’ll find regular and important changes have happened to the structure, operations, products, processes, locations, and policies when needed to keep up with external and intrinsic factors. Change and flexibility are important to the ongoing chances of survival for an organization.  If they don’t change with the times or with what the marketplace demands, it is unlikely that a business will last. 

Companies that perform best are the ones that look ahead and anticipate future necessary changes and plan for them. If you find yourself in a company that is rigid and their default position is to do things how they’ve always been done, it’s okay to be suspicious of their chances for enduring success. If you work for a company that won’t change with the times your career can be hampered by being left out of using current technologies, work practices, or societal norms – all of which could keep you from getting or keeping future roles.

Friendlessness: This one might surprise you, but not having a friend where you work can be indicative of poor work satisfaction, better than many other markers.  When employers survey employee work satisfaction, they often ask if you have a friend or best friend at work.  It is thought that people don’t often bother deepening connections with those around them if they aren’t happy with their role or the organization.  Also, people are more likely to stay at an organization if they have a close friendship within it.  So, there is a cycle present with this one marker of worker happiness.   You don’t have to be friends with everyone at your company, but if you don’t have any friends at an organization, it is worth taking the time to consider why.

The choice to make a career change is commonly a complex decision. If you’d like to talk to someone about your career challenges, schedule a free introductory coaching session with me, I’m a certified Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC). I’d love to support you through any of your career concerns.

New Years Activities that Can Give Your Career a Boost

Glowing light bulb on dark violet textured background

New Year’s resolutions get a mixed reaction when I discuss them with clients, and I can understand. I’ve had some great wins from seasonal inspiration drawn in years past and I also have had some spectacular flops. Notably, I purchased a nordic track that I was equally happiest the day I purchased it and the day I sold it. But every time, I got a boost to whatever I was working toward – and that incremental improvement over time can add up to quite a lot. So no matter if your goals are small or grand, I applaud you for every resolution you are planning this year.

If you haven’t already considered adding career goals to your list for the year, I thought I’d share some ideas to assist you in your career development in 2022.

Add reading into the mix by setting a monthly reading goal. Your professional development can skyrocket from introducing new ideas through reading. Whether related to your profession directly or business and the world of work generally, there are both classics that have stood the test of time and new authors with great value to add to your work life. Whether you love the smell of a new book, enjoy the convenience of an e-reader or your phone, or if you have figured out the time-saving hack of audiobooks – all are good. I have no snobbery about how you digest your reading, but encourage a couple of practices that can make it more meaningful and useful. First, see if you can find a high-quality summary of the book to read after you’ve read the book (or before, if you want to see if it’s worth the read). Many business books have been around for long enough that there are free summaries online and there are also many good book summary sites out there. Having a summary makes it easy for you to reflect on your main take-aways and think about how you’ll apply what you’ve learned. Alternatively, note-taking while reading can be beneficial. Writing notes either in the margin, in a separate digital document, or notebook can help you retain information better. Experiment with note-taking the next time you read non-fiction and see if the experience is different for you.

Add business podcasts or ones related to your profession into your routine. For those of you in an active job search, you might also consider listening to one of these career podcasts. If you haven’t explored podcasts before, they really aren’t dissimilar to radio shows, but since they are self-published and available digitally there is an amazing array of topics available and really, no specialty seems to be too small. I love gaining inspiration from all types of coaches, thought-leaders, and fellow entrepreneurs. Especially as a person who works remotely and runs my own business, I can personally attest that podcasts are a great way to be aware of the larger conversation and current thought trends in your industry.

Have you joined a professional association? Professional associations can be a wonderful way to network, learn more about your profession, stay on top of trends and new technology, and a place for you to educate and mentor others as well. If you’re a member of an association, but haven’t been very active, consider volunteering for a role in a local or state chapter, creating and sharing a presentation to help colleagues tackle a common or pressing problem, or reaching out to see what the association needs help with in 2022. Having a “givers gain” mentality when you are meeting with and associating with colleagues is a good way to proactively strengthen your network and feel good about your contribution to your profession. Some professions have multiple associations you can pick from, so do your research and find the right fit for you. See if you can check out meetings and resources before joining and reach out to active members to learn more.

Update your resume. The best practice I recommend is to update your resume quarterly with new accomplishments, projects, and skills. Even if you don’t polish the addition, adding the facts and details while they are fresh is one of the best bits of regular professional development you can do for yourself. This one activity will help you be prepared, no matter what happens in your year; it can make preparing for professional reviews easier, it can help you if a great internal or external opportunity becomes available, and it will aid you tremendously if you suffer a sudden job loss.

No matter what you set out to achieve in 2022, I wish you loads of success in ways both small and big!

If you are interested in developing deep professional development goals with a career coach, please reach out any time. You can message me on LinkedIn or set up a time to discuss your obstacles and goals with me in a free introductory, here:

Falling in Love With Your Job

Maybe this has been a long and difficult year. Maybe your job wasn’t heading in the right direction before everything hit last year and the events of the year haven’t helped. Whatever the reason, do you find yourself dissatisfied with your work? Many people I’ve been talking to have decided to leave their current roles for these reasons and more, but the problem remains, how do you keep your head in the game and stay happy when you don’t have the next role lined up? On top of that, how do you stay positive when your job search might take a while to yield just the right opportunity? How do you find things to love, even when you know you are ready to move along – in short, how do you cope? Finding a few small ways to improve what you can control can make any situation more bearable in the short term. Here’s a list of things you might try to keep your mind and spirit healthy.

Remembering why you wanted the job to begin with. It is common for people I work with to somehow have lost contact with what they initially liked about their work. Maybe the job has gotten more complicated over time or they are doing less of what they were drawn to initially. If there is a way to keep what is fulfilling about the work more present in your mind throughout the day (who do you help, what do you create, what impact do you make), it may make the day more bearable. Keeping a photo or keepsake nearby that reminds you what you are working for can also help provide a positive visual cue on tough days.

Find ways to play to your strengths. You might not have control over what you do, but is there any flexibility for how you get things done? Finding ways you can do your work that play to your strengths can make your task a little lighter. Better still, is it possible for you to do more work that relies on your strengths and to do less of what drains you? Is there anyone around who is strong in an area you are not that you could share this responsibility with to get everyone working aligned in a way they work best? Speak with your management if you need to, but strive to make your job one that helps the company and employees – including you.

Improve your relationships. Are there people you are working with that are difficult for you to communicate with or see eye to eye? Clear the air any way you can and find common ground. Don’t tolerate hostility, but don’t generate it either. Work with a mediator if necessary, but try to find a way to move through any interpersonal conflict and get to a point where you can collaborate effectively even if you aren’t best friends. Being able to navigate choppy waters is a good story to tell in interviews and good practice. Make it a project. Give yourself bonus points and treats for making a difficult situation manageable. If the environment is truly toxic and others don’t meet you half-way, try not to make yourself hold up the weight of a bad professional relationship for long. Involve HR or management when necessary and take good care of your mental well-being.

Manage your stress. Find what helps you blow off steam and do it. Make a list of the activities that fill your tank; they could be hobbies, or exercise (even moderate is great!), talking to friends, petting a cat or dog, playing a board game with family – ANYTHING that takes your mind off of your troubles and gives you a chance to unwind, breathe, smile, laugh, and most importantly, relax. Meditation practices (there are some wonderful apps out there!) can help you capitalize on small breaks throughout the day and creating mental calm as well as help you ratchet down anxieties and stress at the end of your day. Pro tip: it can be hard to remember to do these activities and to slow down when you are used to running at a high gear for a long time. Schedule breaks and make intentional space for de-stressing at the start until you make relaxing a daily habit.

Talk to someone. Find someone you trust (friends and family) who you can reason things out with and get things off your mind when they are troubling you. If you find your problems are particularly worrisome, difficult, or chronic – reach out to a therapist or counselor to make some headway and find some peace. With the advent of so much tele-health and app-based therapy options, you can find a variety of ways to include therapy to help make life more manageable. Keep in mind if one therapist or type of therapy isn’t right for you, there are so many options out there, so keep trying until you find the option and support that works for you. Sharing can really take some of the weight and sting out of problems, so it is worth a try.

Are You Tired of Digital Resources?

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