Written by Russell Johnson
This is the second in a series of two articles addressing seven danger signs that may indicate you need to leave your job.
If any of them are present in your career, action is probably needed.
5. Is Your Company and/or Industry in Decline?
The old saying that a rising tide lifts all boats is true. And so is its opposite. An industry or organisation in denial about the effects of change is already on a short but ever more stressful journey toward its demise.
If you’re not able to change this, then you need to change jobs, or possibly even reinvent your career. Do it while you are still employed and can do so without undue stress.
If you’ve been trying to make a move and are finding it difficult, then get high quality professional help. The investment will be tiny by comparison with its benefits.
The default position of most people, unfortunately, is to stay and deny what might be obvious to an outsider, in an attempt to avoid the pain of change. You can’t help those who are committed to that path. The best thing you can do for those who are staying on is to warn them, by your departure.
6. Are You Sacrificing Your Mental or Physical Wellbeing?
“The greatest mistake a man can make is to sacrifice health for any other advantage” said the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
Whether or not you agree in full with that statement, it’s clear you will reduce your potential contribution if you allow your work to harm your mental or physical health. If you’re doing so, then you need to stop or to leave it.
The best way to restore your health and wellbeing is to become acquainted, or reacquainted, with the power of bold action aligned with a well thought-out plan.
7. Your Income Has Plateaued and You Want to Increase It
As the CEO of your own business of one, you’re perfectly entitled to maximise your remuneration. If you believe you’re capable of earning more without contravening your other values, why shouldn’t you choose to do so?
And there’s plenty of data to show that those who move more often earn more than those who move less often.
Those who are overly hesitant to make a career move usually end up subsidising the higher pay of those who move more often, through accepting pay increases that are less than the rate at which their value to the organisation is increasing.
The problem for many high calibre people is their discomfort with the process of changing jobs – and a lack of self-marketing skills. Those who are good at self-marketing enjoy it, because the process allows those whom they meet to enjoy it as well.
Are You Standing Too Close to Your Situation?
Remember that the job market is set up by employers, for employers. That’s their right. But it’s not about empowering you. Recruitment agents, as the agents of employers, are not in the business of empowering you either. Quite the contrary. It’s much easier for them to justify their commissions if they can present the employer with a great candidate at a below-market rate.
You may need to ‘look behind the screen’ and ask what tools and techniques are available to you to achieve the outcome you really want.
Most people know there’s something inherently unequal about advancement and the job application process – and that the best jobs are generally obtained through networks anyway. But I frequently hear highly intelligent and motivated people say they are ‘not good at networking’.
That’s generally a valid comment. Most people do little of it. And when they do it, they usually do it poorly, attempting to address a marketing issue through a sales methodology.
Like using a hammer and chisel in an attempt to repair a watch that has stopped working it will feel wrong, because it is wrong.
As Peter Drucker put it, the purpose of marketing is to make selling unnecessary. You need the right methodology and tools.
When you know how to market yourself effectively, you can earn far more, and enjoy far greater growth and career satisfaction, than those who just follow the path that the job market sets before them.
Taking the Strategic Path
The seven danger signs referred to in this and the previous article may be subtle at first. But the best time to catch them and act is in the early stages. If even one is present, your morale and confidence can be eroded without you realising it’s happening.
And that can stop your growth in its tracks.
Strong corrective action is needed, either to resolve the problem while remaining in your role, or to move on. So examine yourself carefully to see if any of the seven signs are present.
If any of them are present, then ask yourself whether the potential exists to create a situation that meets your requirements within your organisation, and within a reasonable period. If so, it might make sense to stay. If not, you probably need to plan your exit.
The impulse to quit immediately is usually not the right one, but inaction can be even more dangerous.
You can create a much better life for yourself, especially if you get the right assistance. And the search for the right role usually can be conducted without leaving your current job.
If you find that you need to act to improve your circumstances in your current job or make the transition to another one, then do yourself a great favour and do it. Excuses for delay will only harm your future.
We can’t avoid the pain of change; it will come whether we want it or not. But we can override the tendency to deny what is happening in an attempt to avoid it. The discipline of embracing change isn’t easy but it’s a far better choice than its alternative, the pain of regret.