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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How do you know when it’s time to leave your job?

Home Forums Advice & Chat How do you know when it’s time to leave your job?

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 18 total)
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  • #1118240 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa
    Participant

    I’m curious to know everyone’s thoughts on when it’s time to move on from a job. Past career moves have been for the following reasons: getting a job offer in a big city, leaving a company that felt unstable, and getting away from a bad environment with an even worse boss (posted about that boss years ago, which some of you may recall).

    But now I’m coming up on six years at the same company. This company was absolutely the right move for me after the toxic job/boss. I’m not unhappy. Generally speaking, I like my job. I don’t mind going to work every day. My role plays to my strengths and I get good reviews every year. I like my boss and coworkers. I typically have excellent work/life balance and my benefits are solid, both of which are huge to me. I guess I’d say I’m comfortable but feel stagnant. I haven’t felt challenged in awhile. We get raises every year, but I’m (obviously) not seeing the same kind of salary growth as when I was hopping around a bit. I feel frustrated on and off about work I’ve had to take on for another department (that has nothing to do with my role or skillset), for which I am not receiving any additional compensation, and the decision to allow that department to be understaffed as long as it has been. (I’d rather be freed up to do additional work for my own department, which came up in my last review.)

    Basically, this is the first time I’ve ever been at a company long enough to wonder how I’ll know when my stint here has run its course. I casually look at job openings online these days, but haven’t applied to anything. I’m not ready to make the leap to somewhere new yet, but think that day will come eventually since we’re small and a relatively flat organization.

    #1118242 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    I think you answered your own question! It’s not time to leave quite yet but you’re dipping a toe in the water and would leave for the right opportunity. Keep looking at job listings, reach out to any recruiters you know, maybe contact a couple people in your network and go for coffee.

    You have this feeling that you’re stagnating and want to do more. Is it a real feeling or do you feel like, society expects me to want to move on and be challenged? I’m guessing the former, but it’s okay to coast. I’ve reached a point where I feel like I could ride out this job to retirement, but who knows, I could get sick of it. Sometimes you just want something new! Stay open and the right thing will come.

    #1118245 Reply
    LisforLeslie
    Guest

    Feeling unchallenged with no path to something better is a great reason to leave a job. If you have to wait for someone else to die or leave before moving up the ladder, or if there is no ladder, that’s a good reason to move on.

    #1118272 Reply
    ktfran
    Participant

    This month, I’ll have reached 20 yrs at my company (although it was a different company when I started). INSANE! So I’m the absolute wrong person to give advice. I like Kate’s advice though. Look around. See what’s out there. Only make a move if it feels right. Since you’re comfortable, you don’t have to rush to make a move. You can be picky, which is a good place to be in. I also like Kate’s idea of exploring why you want to make a move.

    I mentioned that my husband recently switched. He was coming up on his 15 yr anniversary. He was talking to his new company for about a year before he finally pulled the plug. He wanted to make sure he was making a smart move and he liked the culture at the new company.

    #1118273 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Oh and also think hard about what you want. More of this, less of that, type of culture, skills you’d use, etc. Whether you’d want to manage people.

    #1118276 Reply
    ron
    Guest

    I worked at one corporation for 35 years. I knew it was time to go when the company ethic was changing drastically: changed from wanting to be the leader in environmental, health, and safety and supporting a fairly robust research program in all of its divisions. They changed to wanting to drastically cut back in all four of those areas. I was working in safety, a true believer in the old ethic, and largely supporting research. Clearly not my company anymore. I could afford to early retire, so I did, when a call was made for volunteers in a staff reduction — took the package and ran, but had planned to stay longer until the company changed.

    Since you like a lot about your current job you can afford to be choosy in looking elsewhere. One warning: we seem headed for a recession and many companies are already laying off people, so extra important to make sure that whatever you jump to will be stable, despite recession.

    #1118289 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    I think all this sounds smart, keep an eye out, think about what you want, and maybe something just right will happen to fall in your lap. I set google alerts for a few places and just waited.

    #1118299 Reply
    Avatar photoDear Wendy
    Keymaster

    Ok, I know this sounds woo, but maybe get a reading with a well-regarded astrologer if you’re at all open to that sort of thing. I have a great astrologer here in NYC whom I’ve gotten two readings with – five years apart – and getting a general idea of what the next couple years look like for me, astrologically speaking, has been another tool I use when thinking about the larger picture, my goals, where I see myself a few years down the road, and when it makes sense to make changes or sit tight.

    At my last reading in October, my astrologer said that I’m in a period of figuring out my next move or next path and that this stage will last until early 2025!! He also said not to let go of DW and that this is my calling and may always be part of my life but that there’s something else coming down the pipeline, but it’s still a couple years away. Maybe it’s all make-believe, but it felt kind of therapeutic to hear this. Like, permission to take my time in this current phase I’m in. And maybe that’s what astrology can do really well – reveal the desires of our subconscious or give us a different perspective of something we’ve been looking at so closely for so long.

    #1118300 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa
    Participant

    @Wendy That’s actually not too woo. I told my therapist several months ago that I’ve been thinking about going to see a psychic, haha. An astrologer could work, too. I told her that I don’t really buy into mysticism, but her thought is if I did go, to pay attention to my reaction and what feelings are stirred up from what I’m told. So, some kind of woo reading has been on my radar, I just haven’t decided where to go.

    I have a pretty deep fear of ending up in another environment that feels dysfunctional and chaotic all the time. I felt like I had some kind of workplace PTSD for probably a year after I left my last job, and I only worked there for 10 months! The idea of going back to longer hours also feels like a hard pass. I do have busier periods at work, but I think the only other person I know with a true 9-5 is my friend who works for the FDA.

    I’ve been trying to hold off on making any kind of decision until the understaffed department is staffed back up to see how that affects me. It’s been frustrating waiting, though. From my perspective, this department has been crumbling since 2019. We’re a smaller (~50 person) org and that department had four employees. By last June, all were gone (three left by their own accord, one was laid off when we had to make cuts in 2020). So now that department is being built back up by two rather new employees. They’re still relying heavily on those of us who have been picking up the slack (which for me includes a 9 a.m. Saturday meeting every other month or so – ugh). I’m also now helping out for someone on maternity leave (this part is okay). All the extra work I’ve been doing feels totally unacknowledged, I guess, and the longer we go without hiring up in the sorta defunct department, the more frustrated I get.

    #1118301 Reply
    LisforLeslie
    Guest

    @Copa – if they aren’t making moves to staff the department in a reasonable amount of time – that’s good information that they aren’t prioritizing the impact to the remaining team members.

    Glassdoor is a good resource.

    #1118302 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa
    Participant

    I know they were interviewing for two vacancies in that department in late fall. From what I heard, the candidates they were meeting were lackluster. At least one of these roles is fairly entry-level, though, and largely administrative in nature, so I’m surprised they didn’t find someone to at least fill that opening.

    We have two conferences every year that leans heavily on this department. I found out at our December conference that one of my coworkers has taken on the equivalent amount of work as the full-time job of a coworker who left in early June. I haven’t had to pick up nearly that much slack and I’m still over here seething sometimes.

    #1118303 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa
    Participant

    My boss and I have, in the past, talked about how I could potentially grow within my department. But none of that can happen if I’m bogged down with another department’s work. I guess that’s the frustration, really.

    Also, I don’t trust Glassdoor at all. They’ve removed the few things I’ve tried to share on there for violating community guidelines. When I reviewed my last company, which was super dysfunctional, I gave the company a three-star rating and listed out the honest pros and cons as I saw them. I did include pros (there were a handful). It was honest but not one of those tirades you see on there. Anyway, it was removed. My salary — literally just a number that nobody can argue with — was also taken down.

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