Monday, March 19, 2012

How do you know when it is time to go?

A colleague, who we'll call Chris, recently approached me about feeling like it was time to look for a new job. This is actually a conversation I've had a few times recently, including with my own manager. After reading up on it a little bit it was clear to me that Chris has several of the tell tale signs of someone who should think about moving on.  Here are three resources you can use as a quick reference to see if you should be thinking about moving on from your current position:

Feeling like you need to leave a job is completely natural, especially today. Very few people do the same job over the course of their entire career. Life circumstances change, our interests change, opportunities come and go, the organizations we work for change and we as employees are left to deal with all of this in an effort to do what is best for us as individuals. What's interesting, however, is that this issue is not something that we feel comfortable talking about openly at work. Chris came to me in confidence, which is the natural reaction of someone who has made this decision. While publicizing a job search and networking are the most important things you can do when looking for a new job, we feel like we can't do them with those that we currently work with even though our co-workers and colleagues are probably some of the best people with whom we can network. This adds a level of complication to the decision to leave a job that's not easily overcome.

I'm lucky to currently have a manger who is very much down to earth when it comes to looking for a new job. I've had several conversations about what's next for me in my career and gotten a lot of great advice. The department philosophy realizes that employees come and go for all different reasons and that the best thing they can do is support the person rather than making it harder for them to go. After all, as you can imagine an employee who starts to show signs of needing to leave is not going to be as enthusiastic or productive as the employer needs them to be so supporting the person who reaches this stage is probably a smart way to keep them engaged while they execute their transition. But not all managers and employers are like that so many of us need to be cautious with whom we share our intentions. Thus, it's best to proceed carefully as you hit this stage because you certainly don't want to risk making a difficult situation worse.

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