December is a popular time to review the past, take stock of one’s accomplishments, and map the future. Often this is as simple as generating a new goal list – a plan of attack to help expedite your journey down the current path. Sometimes however, your reflection will spark the desire for a bigger change. Before you commit it’s important to hit the proverbial pause button and consider the catalyst for the potential reinvention.
Typically, people should pursue a job change when they love “what” they do, but are frustrated with the how, why, when, or where. When the actual activity loses its luster, it might be time to change careers. Here’s how to tell the difference:
- You’re not Learning: Everyone likes to be the expert – the go to guy or gal for a key subject, but even masters can grow stale if they don’t continuously challenge and refresh their knowledge base. The best teachers are students at heart. If you’ve reached a stage in your career where you’re no longer learning, there’s a danger of becoming a jaded, know-it-all. Either reboot your outlook or get out of the game before your perspective sours your brand.
- You’re not Earning: Money isn’t everything, but it is an excellent objective measure of the value you bring to an organization. All positions top out on the pay scale eventually, but if your contributions aren’t rewarded with healthy performance bonuses, you may ultimately grow to resent the lack of growth. Have a candid conversation with your manager and HR rep to uncover where you fall on the pay curve. If you’ve reached the summit, it may be time to find another mountain to climb.
- You’re Walking the Wrong Road: Not every career is planned to perfection. Sometimes we take a job because we need one and we stick with it because we have bills, responsibilities, and people who depend on us. Over time we progress and perhaps even achieve a measure of success, but that doesn’t mean we are succeeding in the right direction. Sometimes, when you’ve earned a little breathing room in your work/life it’s smart to take stock of your situation and ask yourself: Is this how I want to spend my time? If the answer is no…heck, even if you pause…consider a career change.
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Check out my latest book The HR Guide to Getting and Crushing Your Dream Job and follow me on Twitter at @timtoterhi or LinkedIn