“Do you get into the office without a plan of action for the day? Are you not being rewarded for your efforts? Does your boss often pull you down and embarrass you in front of colleagues?
If any or all of these ring true, it might be time to shake things up.”
PRERNA SODHI, India Real Time, WSJ (16 July 2010)
There are many times when you need to think about moving on from your current job – for your sake as well as that of your company. Like it or not, employment in one place can become a drag at times – and if you’re not careful, could sap you of your vitality and drain your energy for real work.
But how do you know when it’s time to go? Prerna Sodhi wrote a regaling entry on the WSJ’s India Real Time blog recently telling us how to read the signs that it’s time to write that resignation letter. For us in Kenya, I have adapted the 5 top signs that it’s time to go.
1. Social networks take up half your day
Is it your work you look forward to, or your mindless daily online perambulations through Facebook, Twitter and the slightly more respectable LinkedIn? If that is what’s taking up your time, then it’s time to think about a change. Your work should really be more absorbing than that.
2. You work without thinking
How routine or monotonous is your work? If you are a mid-level executive or higher, and you can do most of your work without thinking a new thought, then you’re in trouble. Your motivation is likely to plummet soon, if it hasn’t already. Dead jobs create dead minds.
3. Your progression is horizontal rather than vertical
Have your last few changes of post all been horizontal – are you being moved around the organisation in the same grade, rather than taking on new responsibilities or a team leadership role? Your employers may be telling you that they are struggling to promote you and entrust you with leading others. Time for some soul-searching here – either prove your case or take a walk.
4. You hate the idea of change
When your CEO starts talking about the need for change and makes sweeping rearrangements across the company, what is your reaction? Do you relish the opportunity to do new things or try new ways, or do you lead the water-cooler brigade that stands around moaning and groaning? If change always worries you in your job, it is a sure sign that you are too comfortable and too set in your ways, and mistrustful about entrusting your future to others. This is bad for you – we work best when we take charge of change and embrace it. A place where you resist every new thing is not one you want to be in for long.
5. You don’t even want your boss’s job
And here’s the killer sign: most ambitious people picture themselves in their current boss’s job. “I could do that better” is the thought that drives much personal development. But if you’re in a place where you can’t even imagine doing your superior’s job, then your juices have been stilled. You have no impetus to improve yourself. It’s probably better to imagine something better somewhere else.
The bottom line is this: work should be engaging, rewarding and challenging. Too many of us stagnate in dead-end jobs where our spirit died long ago and we didn’t even notice. I loved this quotation used by Ms Sodhi, from India’s Dony Kuriakose: “Careers are not ponds, they are streams; they have got to be going somewhere from somewhere.”
So, ask yourself this Monday: Are you slowly sinking in a stagnant pond, or rowing along merrily in a bubbling stream? If work is dreary and dull with no end in sight, give yourself an exit strategy.