Is it time to jump?

How often have you heard conversations at social gatherings coming around to how frustrated people are at their place of work? And how desperate they are to make the jump?

The themes are fairly common. That people are not appreciated, working crazy hours, underpaid, un-recognised, unappreciated and many other “uns”. Very often it is also about people: toxic bosses, politics at play, freeloaders and incompetent team members. Ever heard “if I was the CEO, then the company would rock”?

Many of these complaints may be well founded but the reality of the job market right now is that, unless you’re pushed, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to jump. I say jump rather than leap because if you get the calculation of this move wrong it could be fatal.

The same applies to entrepreneurs or solopreneurs. If you find that you are in a situation where you’ve been retrenched, you may have no choice but to start up your own show. There are cautionary steps you should apply even under these circumstances.

Let’s focus on the former situations for now. To figure out if it’s time to jump you should push the giant “pause button” and take the time out, in a quiet space, to consider a few key questions. Put yourself on the couch!

Ask yourself if there is anything within your power that you can do to change the current situation. Be honest. Review your lament and then unpack what can be done.

Are you in one of the following situations?

1. Work is tedious.

Do you feel bored? That your work has become repetitive and feels like a tedious task? Are you no longer having fun, growing or developing?

If this sounds like you, then I sympathise. There is nothing worse then that feeling of dragging yourself out of bed to go and do more of the same stuff that you really do not enjoy.

Next step? Complacency is a killer. So take action. It’s time for you to create an evolution of your own. Truth is, your manager and those further up the line are preoccupied with their own demons. So if you are sitting at your desk, looking and feeling miserable and waiting for someone to recognise your unhappiness and hidden brilliance, it is not going to happen. You need to take ownership and take action to change things.

If your work is truly routine and undemanding then you should have a wonderful reserve of brainpower that is not being used. So learn something new, something that can justify a promotion or role change. Look around. See what positions there are in the company that might appeal to you and set out to find out what it takes to get that job. Get the skills and then start promoting yourself so that you get recognised as the ideal candidate.

If you don’t see any opportunities within the organisation, then look further afield. Rewind and go through the same process outlined above. Use the time and energy freed up by daily repetition to develop yourself to the point where you can leave for a better position.

One final check before you do. Moving to another company, in the same position, in the hope of greater stimulation is not the answer when your dissatisfaction is with the role you serve.

So check that it is not merely your attitude that is the problem.

You might be pleasantly surprised that, by upping your energy and projecting a more positive approach will attract a different response at work.

If the only options are more of the same then I suggest you find something outside of the 9 – 5 routine to stimulate your mind and satisfy your need for progress. This could be a hobby or becoming part of a social or sporting community. Once again you are likely to find a big shift in your energy levels, outlook and profile at work.

2. There is no chance of advancement or promotion.

This is another very fair reason for wanting to move and it shows that you are ambitious. However don’t presume or assume that the powers-that-be should be aware of your ambitions. If you don’t ask you’ll never get. So book a coffee meeting with HR, your boss, the CEO and let them share in your ambitions.

To ensure a good outcome prepare for the meeting. Make sure that the lasting impression is as an asset worth considering rather than a petulant employee. Avoid opening conversations such as “…I’m bored and I want to know what my future with the company is”. Prepare a great story about what you have to offer and where you visualise growing to within the company. Sell yourself, share your ambitions and then see what comes back.

If you get a positive reaction, don’t leave it there. Ask what it is that you would need to do or have to be in a position for them to consider you for promotion. And then ask if there is anyone who you can work with as your mentor or to assist you in achieving this. Who knows, they may even offer to pay for further studies. Wouldn’t that be great?

On the flip side, if the response is negative – well then, there’s your answer. It is time for you to look further afield. Plan this carefully and take your time. You might first need to accumulate those new skills. Importantly, when you go for the next interview, remember the lessons you have learnt and ask about promotional and future opportunities and what their policy is with regards to development of their staff.

3. Your boss or the work environment is toxic.

People are the issue here. If you are experiencing toxic people I suggest you read a book titled “Taming Toxic People” by David Gillespie. In it he educates the reader about true Psychopaths. I mean literally. Not the misunderstood version you might use when you really don’t like someone and are looking for an adjective you can use in public.

The author shares his own experience and provides some sage advice. In brief, if you have a toxic boss then you should ensure you stay safe until you can leave! If you are the victim of a true Psychopath neither you nor anyone else is going to be able to change their base characteristics. And sadly the very profile of the Psychopath is often the stuff that got them the lead job in the first place! So, stay clear until you can clear out.