How to Jump off Your Career Plateau
4 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Perfectly Fine Job
Ask anyone who has ever resigned from a “toxic job” about how they knew it was time to go. They’ll give you the list. In most cases, the disenchantment begins with little, unsettling things. Maybe meetings seem unproductive. Or managers seem disengaged. Then, instead of resolving, the issues continue to grow. Whatever the particulars, most of us know that it’s time to go when day-to-day misery becomes the new normal on the job. But what if you’re thinking about leaving a job you actually like, with people you love, in a role that you perform extremely well?
That’s something else altogether.
And frankly, it’s often a bigger challenge. Think about it. When a job starts topping out on the unbearability scale, you have a powerful motivation to blow the dust off that resume and start looking. But when everything is just fine, thank you very much, you still may have very valid reasons for moving on. But it’s a lot harder to let go of a good thing just to pursue something better.
Even when you have no reason to run away from your current job, you may have good reasons to look for something new. Check out these # signs you may be ready to move on.
1. The challenge – and the thrill – is gone.
In any meaningful role, there can be varying degrees of daily on-the-job joy. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about coasting. It is perfectly okay to admit when you’ve climbed the mountain, you’re looking at the view, and you’re not too excited about what’s in front of you. So how can you determine whether you’re just going through a temporary lackluster phase or ready to find the next mountain to climb? Make a list of what drew you to the job in the first place. Have your goals been satisfied? Did they change? Are you still facing new challenges, learning new things, growing as a person? Or are you sailing through each day on auto-pilot? Coasting and collecting compliments may bode well for your annual merit increase but it probably doesn’t feel very satisfying at the end of each day.
2. Your values don’t align as well as they used to…
Three years ago, you may have had kids in school, a tough commute and a big need for a flexible work schedule. If your current employer gave you that – and a job where you could shine, too – it was a perfect match. But things change. Maybe you’re looking for more responsibilities and are eager to invest the hours and emotional energy that a bigger job title and higher pay would demand. Or, as is the case with many professionals, maybe it’s the reverse. Maybe you thought you would enjoy your single-minded pursuit of the corporate corner office but you’re now intrigued by the pace and excitement of a start-up – or you want less work, more flexibility and a little more time to smell the roses.
3. Your skills have grown faster than your job.
If you rarely or never encounter a work challenge that, well, challenges you, you’ve hit a plateau. That may or may not be a problem, depending on what you want out of your job. But if you’re bored with doing your job on auto-pilot, you’re probably overdue for something bigger.
4. You just can’t shake the feeling that you’re destined for something more meaningful.
Yep, sometimes there’s no voice louder or more important than the whisper inside your head. Again, I’m not referring to those fleeting disappointments that invariably occur in any job that may prompt you to think, “I could be doing so much better than this!” I’m talking about a growing everyday sense that other career adventures – outside your current work environment – are calling to your talents and beckoning you to tackle them. If you believe, deep down inside, that life holds something more exciting for you, don’t shrug it off. Get realistic about it. What is that “thing” you want to do? How close are you – in terms of skills, experience and aptitude – to being able to do that thing? Wherever there are gaps, create roadmaps to closing them. Get input from trusted friends and advisors. Then go for it.
If, as you were reading this, you heard the voices of friends and family saying you’d be nuts to leave that perfectly good job, I get it. I really do. And I’m not suggesting that you casually jump off the side of a perfectly sea-worthy ship. But it’s your career. It’s your life. So if that other voice – yours – is telling you there’s more out there to explore and conquer in your career, spend some time to listening to that voice, too.