If you’re feeling unchallenged in your current role—it may be time to think about making a career move. However, when it comes to making the decision to move on, there are many factors to consider in order to determine if the timing is right. This is especially true during an economic downturn when ideal opportunities may be hard to come by. If you’re thinking about embarking on journey to find your next challenge, here are three things to contemplate before investing your time in a new search:
Why you’re considering a change
If the thought of moving on from your current role has crossed your mind, it’s important to think about why this might be. While there are many reasons for wanting to make a career move, some may require more thought than others before making an official decision:
- You’re feeling unmotivated or unchallenged: Does your current role have you feeling like you’re just going through the motions? Before calling it quits, think about how long you’ve been in your position, and if your lack of motivation may be due to a temporary situation, such as being in-between management, or a personal issue. On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned employee, and your motivation has been on a downward trend for some time—moving on may be in your best interest.
- There is lack of room for growth: When it comes to professional growth and development, think about what you want your career trajectory to look like. If most of your colleagues have had the same titles and job responsibilities throughout their history at the company, chances are, you will too. However, before jumping ship, it’s important to bring these concerns up to your manager to see if they are valid. If a career path can be drawn out for you, and you’re otherwise happy in your role, you may want to consider sticking it out. If a clear path isn’t promising, and you see a future for yourself outside the company, it may be worth it to start looking.
- You have conflicting values: If you often find yourself questioning your organization’s values or social stances, it may be time to make a career move, and look for a company whose beliefs better align with your own. You’ll feel much more accomplished working for an organization that has a mission and vision you fully support.
- Stress is an everyday occurrence: Your current job may feel unfulfilling if your workload is always flowing into your nights and weekends. The keyword here is, “always.” It can be common for busy seasons to come and go in the workplace, but if they are the norm, you may find yourself on the brink of burnout. Consider speaking with your manager about your situation. A simple conversation may enable you to share your workload with a less-busy colleague, or shift deadlines. If you’ve already discussed your stress-level and things haven’t changed, a career move may help you land a role in which you feel more fulfilled.
- You’ve had a bad day: Unfortunately, bad days at work do happen. The good news is, these occurrences are usually temporary and due to an underlying situation, like a tough project or deadline. If you find yourself coming home from work discouraged after a particularly rough day—don’t give up on your role right away. Give yourself time to reflect and really consider if your feelings are due to a one-off situation, or something a bit more reoccurring.
- You feel a case of “imposter syndrome”: We’ve all been there. You may feel under qualified for the role that you’re in, and therefore out of your comfort zone. However, being out of your comfort zone is actually a good thing when it comes to being challenged. It means your continuously learning and increasing your skill set. If you had what it took to land the job in the first place, chances are you have what it takes to accomplish it as well. If this is the only downside to your current role, try to stick with it, and use the opportunity to learn as much as you can.
- You didn’t get promoted: You were up for a review and you were sure that all your hard work last year would be rewarded with a promotion. Needless to say, you were let down when that wasn’t the case. While not having your expectations met is definitely a bummer, it isn’t necessarily a reason make a career move, especially during a time when opportunities are scarce. Instead of upping and leaving as a result of frustration, use this as a learning experience. Try to understand why you may have not received the promotion you wanted, and how you can ensure you do get it in the future.
- Your favorite co-worker has moved on: It’s a major relief when you and your co-workers get along. It’s even better when you become close friends. It may be a hard pill to swallow when your favorite co-worker decides it’s time to move on, however, that doesn’t mean you need to follow suit. Know that every individual has different ambitions when it comes to a career, and you shouldn’t plan your needs around the goals of your friends.
What are you looking for
Finding the right fit in a new company and role takes patience and dedication. Before jumping into a search, consider how open-minded you are to certain opportunities. If your list of “must-haves” for your next career move is rather lengthy—you’re going to want to prepare yourself for a time-consuming process. If you are searching during uncertain times, consider turning some of your “must-haves” into “like-to-haves.” This will increase the amount of jobs in your search, and keep you from becoming discouraged if you aren’t immediately getting the results you’d hoped for.
Are you open to contract work
When contemplating your next career move—you may be thinking in the long-term. However, if you’re serious about looking, considering contract opportunities can shorten the time of your search, and allow you to temporarily commit to something new.