You get up in the morning and groan at another long day ahead. Somehow the excitement you felt for your job in the beginning has faded. Occasionally it is the monotony of doing the same thing repeatedly that gets to you and at other times you feel there is no challenge in what you do anymore.
You begin to feel unsure of yourself and overwhelmed with a sense of being stuck. You consider your options as you get dressed but nothing flies out at you as the obvious answer. You wonder why? You speculate if it is the new manager who has sucked the joy out of you or is it that you are genuinely bored and ready for a change.
If this scenario is repeating itself in your head day in and day out then it is time to take a snap poll.
Are you ready for a change?
So what would be a good way to assess whether you are ready for a change or not? The following checklist describes some of the feelings and symptoms you might be going through if you are indeed ready.
- You are beginning to feel frustrated at being stuck in the job. You are being asked to repeatedly use the same skills and not being given an opportunity to develop new expertise. Will they ever give you the next promotion? Talk to your superior and see what the grand plan is.
- Your boss micro manages you and is stifling your creativity and independence. Your boss may be straight out of Devil Wears Prada and then it is probably the time to type out those joyful words "I quit" or just stand up and take a stand.
- Politics amongst colleagues is just not your cup of tea. Sucking up is given more importance than doing good quality work. Back-stabbing is the norm. If the personalities are just not meshing then sometimes it is simpler to move on.
- Your salary is far lower than what you think another company might be willing to offer.
- Very low interest in your job. You are really there to just earn your salary. The skills you use at your job do not excite you at all. You catch yourself daydreaming (all the time) about other different kinds of things you could be doing.
These are just some indications that things at work are not going as well as they should in your professional life and it may be time for a change or a re-evaluation.
But before you decide to put in your papers, consider these important aspects:
Learning cycle complete
The first thing to think about, anytime you are thinking of a change, is whether you have learnt all that you could have learn from this present job. Extracting maximum learning out of a situation is paramount before opting for a change. Another point to ponder is whether moving on will also mean moving up in life.
Change is a double-edged sword. It can be used as an escapist measure or it can be used as a tool for transformation. Ideally you would like to use a move or a change as an opportunity for a make-over. It would be a pity to throw a good opportunity away just because you are going through a temporary dip.
Penny wise, pound foolish
If you are thinking about moving just because of salary and promotion aspects then definitely talk to your boss first and see if something can be worked out mutually. Some people, I notice change jobs without any major purpose except to earn a little bit more. There is documented evidence that changing jobs is a means of financial gain but it is so only in the short term.
If you are looking to build a career in any specific area then sticking to a job for several years is a good way to consolidating your learning and growth. Don't fritter away your chances of a promotion and growth in a company for a petite salary difference.
Reality check -- do you have what it takes?
What type of skills will help you get that dream job? A good way to assess this is by looking at job advertisements over a period of time to get a sense of what is needed. You could also talk to experienced people and gain from their knowledge about what they look for when they are recruiting people in their company. The vast majority of factual data relating to this issue is in the public domain and hence easy to access.
Reinforce your resume
The next question that you need to address is whether your present qualifications are adequate for the direction you would like your career to take. If not, then you need to be looking at what kinds of further qualifications you can possibly acquire to add that extra zing to your resume.
Let us take Poonam Mehta's* track record for instance. She is enjoying her job, she is well liked in her office and yet she feels a certain lack of challenge in her day-to-day existence in the office. She feels that she has maxed her potential for learning in the current job. She was hired in the sales division and she is good at marketing and meeting her targets. But now yeh dil mange more!
She wants to work in areas of strategy, brand-building and brand awareness. The management, however, felt she just did not have the background to perform well in those areas. Poonam after much weighing of pros and cons decided that she needed an additional degree before she would come back to work in that sector. She decided to apply to the UK for a degree in Innovation and Enterprise which focused on brand management, consumer behaviour thus propelling her career in the same field forward.
Different strokes for different folks
No matter how caught up we are with Potter-mania, we all know that a magic wand is really not going to transform our lives. We are the architects of our own future. We all get one life and a fixed set of opportunities to actualise our potential, transform our lives and infuse it with growth and learning.
So a good analysis of where you are, where you want to be and you will get there is needed every few years to ensure that your life and career are moving in a directed fashion. Personal and professional transformations are in your hands and it is a matter of making precise choices that can propel you upwards in your career track.
*Name changed on request
Shivani Manchanda is director of Career Track. She has been an international and educational counselor since 1991. Log on to her website www.career-track.net