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Time for a Change?

When do you know it’s time to start looking for a new job? I am sure many of you ask that question on a regular basis. The other weekend, a friend of mine asked me that very question as well. She was completely fed up with how things were going at her organization. She was tired of the micromanagement, the lack of teamwork, how things were all talk no action, etc. She was bound and determined that by Monday morning she would be applying to several jobs. My immediate advice (because it was solicited) was to advise that looking for/applying to jobs when you are feeling dissatisfied is the WORST time to job hunt. You make emotional and reactionary decisions. You can’t objectively evaluate opportunities because you can convince yourself that just about anything is better than where you are now. Essentially, you end up, many times, putting “lipstick on a pig” to make something else, anything else, look better.
Time for a changeSo I advised my friend to wait – be patient. Let the storm pass and then evaluate things. If you find that when you are in a positive frame of mind, and you evaluate your current situation, that things still aren’t what or where you would like them to be, then that is a good time to evaluate other opportunities. This way, there is no pressure or urgency to make a change. You can be objective and in fact, will take a very strong stance in evaluating things. This will also ensure you cover all angles and a decision that is in the best interest of You Inc. is made.

Naturally, my friend asked me, “Ok then Mr. Smarty Pants HR type, how do I truly know it is time to consider making a change?” To that extent, I provided her, and now you, a baker’s dozen list of signs and indicators that it may be time for a change:

1. You find yourself “giving in” on business matters that you normally would stand your ground on
2. You work on placating difficult co-workers in order to make your job easier vs. addressing differences in opinion
3. You find yourself not participating or sharing (even withdrawing) in group meetings/settings
4. You start to watch the clock
5. You work to rule or continue to defer things to another day vs. applying discretionary effort
6. You use email more than you should so as to avoid having personal conversations (see points #2 and #3 above)
7. You find yourself in disagreement or conflict with each and every decision that “Sr. Management” makes
8. You actually use the term “Sr. Management” to explain why decisions are made and/or to describe why something isn’t working
9. When you read business articles about the Top 10 signs of poor company culture or poor leadership, you find yourself going, “check, check, yes, uh-huh.”
10. You utter the phrases, “that is above my pay grade, ” “that is the way it has always been around here” or “some things will never change” on a regular basis
11. People find you less and less approachable as even the smallest things start to set you off – whether it is an email, announcement or organizational change
12. High levels of cynicism, sarcasm and skepticism permeate throughout your interactions with co-workers as you don’t see the point in trying to change, make things matter, or work collaboratively for a greater good.
13. You no longer connect or can identify with your organization and what it is trying to accomplish.

Odds are that if at least four or five of these apply to you, it may be time to do some soul searching and figure out if perhaps a change is in order for you. What do you think? Are there any other signs that are missing? As always I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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