If you feel like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place at your job, you’re not the only one. Plenty of people go through their career and find themselves, at some point, feeling like maybe it’s time to move on, but facing the sheer terror that comes with that thought.
Maybe you’ll start browsing around just to see what other jobs are out there. Maybe you’ll ask close friends if they’ve heard of any recent openings. Or maybe you will shrink back into the comfort and familiarity of your current job and never look at all.
Identify the problem.
That seems to be a very strong reality for people who want to leave their jobs, but haven’t actually made a conscious decision to start a serious search for other work. The first step to take is this – find the root of the problem, whether it be an overall industry trend or a specific problem with your management, and decide if it is fixable. It your situation can be corrected, all may be okay in the world. If it cannot, it is time to start your job search.
Telltale signs you need a change.
Some obvious signs that lead you to start a search are: uncomfortable situations, your company is struggling to be profitable or the company or entire industry is unstable. Many times, though, the need for a new job comes from the lack of career development.
You may be lacking career development in your role if: you aren’t getting projects, you can’t keep up in the field (especially with technology), you aren’t being challenged, your skills are stagnating or you don’t feel accomplished or valued.
Be active, not passive.
You have to recognize the difference between being active and passive when you determine that your situation is not correctable. Make the conscious decision to be an active seeker, rather than passively waiting at your current job for things to change, or every now and then looking at job openings.
If you remain passive, your skills will become stagnant and you could potentially fall years behind in experience among your peers and your outside competition. After you have become rusty, you will need to take extra courses to catch up and pour hours of your life into re-training yourself.
Don’t wait until it is unbearable.
The worst thing you can do is to wait until your job becomes unbearable. You’ll waste too much time and potential at a job that won’t develop your career the way that you want it to, and then struggle to find new work when you can’t take your old job anymore. When you recognize a problem that can’t be fixed, rally a sense of urgency to find a better opportunity elsewhere, before it’s too late.