career

How to tell when it's time to move on and get a new job.

The TV show, Australian Survivor, has been back on our screens for only a few weeks, and it always amazes me the lengths people will go to as they try to ‘survive’ and ‘win the game’.

They’ll endure deprivation, forms of physical pain and psychological mind games as they embark on a game of survival of the fittest.

In some situations, work can operate like a game of Survivor.

An organisation’s toxic culture underpinned by the poor behaviour of leaders creates a working environment that is both mentally challenging and physically exhausting. While constant restructures and office politics can establish a climate of uncertainty.

new job time
"In some situations, work can operate like a game of Survivor." Image via HBO.

If your work is making you so unhappy that it’s impacting your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you it’s usually time to consider ‘voting yourself off the island’. And by that I mean taking control and making the decision to go somewhere else or do something different.

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Steve Jobs said:
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."   

There’s a practical side to all of this. Finding work can be challenging, and so finding what you love to do can appear even harder.

At the same time, employment is critical for our self-esteem and the financial benefits it provides. Research shows the positive impacts from working, and the negative impacts of not. Having a job you love takes this to a whole new level.

There’s no doubt there are stages in your life where it can feel like a luxury to consider throwing in a job to go and do something you really want to do.  There’s the reality of paying the mortgage, schools fees and bills. However, it’s not a luxury when you’re staying in a job that’s negatively impacting you and those around you.

There’s are always aspects of a role that can be boring or tedious. So I’m not saying you need to love your job every minute of every day. But when you are working in an environment that is eating away at you, impacting your behaviour, destroying your self-confidence and causing undue stress and angst it’s time to go.

So what are the warning signs to look for?  Here are five warning signs to note:

  1. Performance is dropping - The work environment no longer brings out the best in you. Your motivation is dropping and so you are doing only what you have to do.  This ‘bare minimum’ approach is impacting your performance, the outcomes you deliver and ultimately your reputation. Damage to your reputation can have long term consequences.
  2. There’s a values disconnect – Your values and those of the organisation are out of alignment such that you feel like you have to change who you are when you are at work.  This may show up as you not feeling comfortable to voice your opinion, or having to support ideas that go against what you believe in.
  3. Cynic is your middle name – You are spending large parts of the day complaining about what’s happening at work. You don’t trust your work colleagues and you no longer offer ideas on how to improve things at work. You only complain about them.
  4. Afflicted by burn out – You feel burnt out and the physical signs of stress are coming out in how you behave at home with your friends and family. You feel exhausted all the time and the thought of going to work makes you feel anxious or highly emotional.
  5. You’ve stopped learning – To stay relevant in today’s world we all need to continue to grow and be challenged. If you’ve stopped learning at work and there is no more room to grow or expand your horizons it may be time to step outside.

CEO texts her employees after hours to see if they will respond. Post continues...

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected]

When did you know you had to leave a job? Share your stories with us below.

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