Is it time to change jobs?
In the tech world it seems that people change jobs at lightening speed. It used to seem having a long tenure at one company was bad for your career. For years in Silicon Valley in particular, people literally drove up and down HWY101 as they changed companies (or the companies themselves changed!) A job seeker I recently spoke with told me it was best to live at one end or the other rather than the middle of the peninsula so at least you knew you were headed the right way in the morning. Things are a bit different these days, a lot of the dust has settled from the huge start-up rush and subsequent crash of the 90s and early 00s. Technical experts can choose to look for longevity, stability and a future within a single organization. But the reality is sometimes the job that was once the perfect fit no longer feels right, so how do you know when its time to consider changing jobs? According the Bureau of Labor Statistics almost 50% of people in technology are planning a career change in the next decade.
1. The Sunday Night Blahs or yuck do I really have to go to work tomorrow feeling that never goes away. All of us on occasion do not want to face work the next day for a variety of reasons; last few days were killer, the new co-worker makes funny noises, or you’re just not ‘feeling it’. But when you deal with that feeling every Sunday (and Monday, Tuesday, etc.) it behooves you to find out why. If your lack of motivation is more that just situational and you are no longer excited by the idea of what you do (and where) it may be time to take a closer look at why.
2. The Boss is Toxic or doesn’t value you, your opinions, or your contribution. If you and your boss aren’t on the best of terms take a hard look at your part of the dynamic first. It’s easy to point out the failings of others, especially when it concerns our own well being. That is not to say that your boss isn’t the root of your problem, just make sure that’s the situation before you take your own problem down the road with you. Sometimes the Toxic Boss can be a toxic environment, prejudice, misogyny, and jealousy can all be things that make a workplace the wrong place. No one should stay someplace they aren’t valued or treated well.
3. Outdated Technology what you have available to work with is old and difficult to use. It goes without saying, I think, that if you are a tech person, the technical tools you use should be up-to-date and functioning well. It doesn’t always have to be the latest and greatest, but technology changes so rapidly your equipment can be seriously out of date in almost the blink of an eye. While its necessary to consider the cost of new equipment, if the tech tools you have to work with makes it almost impossible to do your job efficiently and, your employer isn’t willing to update it your performance is bound to suffer. I’m sure Mario Andretti would not have raced in a Yugo!
4. The Future is Not Looking So Bright or is that light at the end of the tunnel a train? When you envision your future at your present company is it what YOU want? While you might have a ‘good’ future with your current organization, is it the future you want? If your next step would make you less hands on and more of a meetings person, is that how you see yourself? Some people want to continue to contribute in a hands-on manner, not more up the management track and that is fine. If you know that’s you and you won’t be able to grow, learn new things and even have fun, it might be time to look for something different.
5. Not Paid What You Are Worth this is a tough one, honestly very few people feel they are paid what they are really worth. For some that means feeling guilty for taking all this money but more commonly it’s the feeling you are being both undervalued and underpaid. One way to have some control over your earnings is having both milestones and specific contributions attached to your salary or a bonus program. These must be specific and very clearly spelled out, so there is no confusion as to whether the goal was met. If you set up rewards like this, be sure that you include routine check-ins with the person evaluating your performance (not just at review time) to make sure you are on target. You also need to point out when obstacles to the goal are preventing you from achieving it so someone higher up the food chain can tackle it. Don’t forget written documentation is important. You should feel valued and compensated for your contribution.
6. When Work Feels Like ‘WORK,’ we’ve all heard the adage when you love your work, it doesn’t even feel like work. This is certainly true for people who have true passion for their work. Having passion, the feeling of being excited every day to get to do what you are doing is the best reward. Often when we start a new position, we are full of passion, for the role itself and maybe the organization. You frequently find this in people who work for a non-profit, the passion is for the work of the organization; they can be disappointed when they move into the for-profit world and find they don’t feel the same way. As more and more organizations develop corporate responsibility and align themselves with causes, it’s very possible to find that same commitment. But no matter what when your work is just ‘work’ try to figure out what’s missing and where you can find it.
7. Health—Mental or Physical—is Suffering no job is worth your health or peace of mind. This one isn’t a well lets just see how things go type of issue. If your health, again physical or mental, is being negatively affected on a continual basis its time to get away. Stress is no joke, it causes heart attacks and a host of other physical ailments as well as panic attacks, depression, unresolved anger and more. Remember your health is more important that any job, trust me on this one. Your family would rather have you around healthy vs. any amount of money you are earning. Remember “It’s A Wonderful Life”? Turns out Jimmy Stewart was not worth more dead than alive, and neither are you!These seven signs that you might need to start looking for a new job are certainly not all inclusive and you have to evaluate for yourself where your situation falls in the matrix. Despite techies not switching jobs like they used to, there are still opportunities out there and very likely the right one, or at least a better one for you.
GATE Staffing is ready to help you decide if it’s time to move on to your next opportunity. And we can help you find the one that is right for you, with the environment and future you want. Our extensive network of corporate hiring partners provides us with deep insight into the technology marketplace.