Sometimes it’s thrust upon you and you never saw it coming.
You find yourself downsized, made redundant or replaceable.
Other times it’s that nagging feeling… is this all there is?
Sometimes it’s the turn of the calendar page.
The start of a new year.
The start of a new decade.
Whether you’ve been contemplating making a leap or are forced to make one… whether you’re facing an unexpected plot twist or are simply looking to regain the passion you once had for your work… what’s next is… YOUR next.
Here are five signs it’s time to seek that new job and write a new chapter in your career story.
You’re in an Industry with Receding Opportunities.
Your business is shrinking, laying off talented, long-time employees or forcing out those with years of experience in favor of younger, more flexible or differently skilled contributors. If the writing is on the wall and you’re just hanging on and hoping for the best, it’s time to take command. What are the current challenges in the industry and where is it headed? What are the skills you’ll need to stay relevant? How might you pivot to take your experience in a future-focused direction?
Actively Authoring your career means making the plot points to build that next chapter, not waiting for someone else to tell you what comes next.
Your Priorities and Needs Have Changed.
Maybe a higher salary is what’s motivating you. Maybe that remote opportunity to avoid a long commute is now at the top of your wish list. If there are issues with where you work, with whom you work or how you work, it can affect your feelings about the work itself. Take stock of your skills and preferred work style and find a better fit.
Ideally, you want a job where you can bring value and feel valued for the work you do.
Your Health, Family or Lifestyle Suffers.
Everyone makes sacrifices from time to time for their employer. But when work is no longer working or if you find you are constantly at the beck and call of a job that interferes with your well-being, it’s time to look elsewhere. There’s no perfect work-life balance, but work should be just one component of a well-lived life.
No one looks back at the end of their life and says, “I wish I had spent more time at my desk in the office.”
You Feel Like You’re on a Merry-Go-Round. And the Ride is No Longer Enjoyable.
Didn’t you have this conversation, oversee this project, do these same tasks last year and the year before that and the year before that? If you’re under-challenged and stagnating in an endless cycle of “lather, rinse, repeat” and you long for something more, it’s time to figure out what’s next. It’s like reading the same page over and over again and hoping the story will change.
Boredom and complacency are signs you’re ready to write a new adventure.
Your Gut Tells You It’s Time.
Your heart’s just not in it anymore. You can’t quite put your finger on why. Face it, your brain knows it too, but it has a tendency to overthink and freeze with fear. When you can’t get your heart and your brain on the same page, listen to your gut. Ending one chapter and starting a new one is one of the hardest things to do, particularly if you define yourself by your job title, your company or your industry. But if you are no longer motivated, challenged or satisfied by what you’ve always done, it’s time to seek something more fulfilling.
Redefine success on your own, updated terms.
Each year is the opportunity to turn the page and begin a new chapter. Don’t let anyone else dictate where your plot might take you. Stop reading the same old story and start creating a new one.
Valerie Gordon spent more than 20 years putting award-winning stories on television before pivoting her career in 2017 and launching career and communications strategy firm Commander-in-She. She helps high-achievers with the storytelling skills necessary to take command of their career and ascend the leadership ladder.