Asking yourself if it’s maybe time to quit your current job? You’re not alone.
A friend of mine has a very steady job as a designer for a tech startup in New York. But lately, she’s been feeling a bit stagnated, in part to her own work, but also due to the structure of the organization and the difficulty in getting management to move projects forward.
The organization offers great benefits from a cultural perspective – great reputation, high visibility projects, pretty good work-life balance for a startup, and excellent financial benefits and compensation.
And yet she doesn’t feel like she’s achieving much personal growth these days, and wonders if it might be time to look elsewhere.
She feels stalled in her own work, not to mention held back by bottlenecks caused by other members on her team and within the organization – things she doesn’t necessarily have control over.
Two Ways to Look at the Same Situation
There are two obvious ways we can look at this situation.
Option 1: Realizing it’s a stable, well-paying job with excellent benefits stay around another year or so, and then re-entertaining the idea of a move.
Option 2: Feeling like the longer she hangs in there, and the more she stalls her own professional development and progress, and the less she may have to show for it if she can’t show completed projects… quit now.
So What’s the Best Option?
At no point in your career is it premature to be thinking about the next step – even if you started a new job yesterday.
Similar to how one is advised to think about selling a company from day 1 – you should be thinking about where you’re ultimately focused on going in your career. And when you start to see yourself stalling or veering off the path leading towards that goal, that’s when it’s time to start really reevaluating the situation and weighing your options.
It’s not uncommon for projects to get stalled, and perhaps the situation will change in coming months. I advised my friend to work backwards and set a timeline for herself, and put a target date in place where – if things have yet to progress – then it’s time to start looking elsewhere. We agreed that for her, it made sense to look 6 months out, as things often change from quarter to quarter in her organization. In other words, we took the less obvious option:
Option 3: Stick around for now. Assess every quarter. Build a six month exit strategy just in case things don’t improve.
Final Factor: What Do You Actually Control?
When faced with this same situation in you career, you also want to consider what is and what is not within your control.
One of the challenges my friend was facing was that a good amount of her dissatisfaction was attributed to factors over which she had no control, i.e. other people’s work. That’s something that may or may not change, and would be difficult for her to forecast. On the other hand, if her lack of enthusiasm was due largely in part to not feeling challenged, that is a situation that could potentially be addressed by speaking to her manager and taking on more responsibility.
Leaving a job or an organization can often be a tough call to make, and sometimes an uncomfortable. But you have to look both inward and outward to gather the necessary information to make that call.
- Look outward at the organization – are things likely to change, and what is the potential for you to continue growing 6 to 12 months from now?
- Then look inward – what kind of growth do you need to see in order to feel that you’re remaining on track toward reaching your goal?
Finally, think about it this way: when approached in an interview, how will you be able to describe the last 6-12 months of your position in terms of what you’ve contributed, what you’ve learned, and how you’ve grown?
If you have great answers to these questions, you’ll be well on your way to finding a more fulfilling career… if you decide that now is the right time to quit your job.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!