By the time you realize you have outgrown your job it is usually too late and your employer is making the decision for you. Learn how to recognize the warning signs to improve where you are or get prepared for change.
1. You have a decreased level of job engagement.
If you have stopped or reduced spending your discretionary work time on activities that might improve your job performance or other aspects of your organization, such as working on a research and development project or a fundraiser your company supports, then you might not be interested in your job as much as you have been in the past.
2. You’re not taking informed risks anymore.
Informed risks are not crazy risks; they are the risks which you believe have some potential of being successful. You now take a more cautious approach to projects and activities than you did before. This behavior can restrict your personal growth. Instead of signing up to help with that new project you waste most of your time talking or worrying about is, and you get stuck in the “What ifs”.
3. Your work feels routine and boring.
Routine work is defined by the Task Quotient assessment, a test that provides managers and individuals the ideal percentage of personal work task preferences (routine, trouble-shooting and project) to maximize motivation and job satisfaction, as highly predictable work with an immediate required need for completion. With routine work you are just going through the motions, tasks are on autopilot. An example could be working on a new project that would have once excited you now has has lost any emotional spark. If you don’t enjoy routine work, then a job change may be in order.
4. You have a decreased pace of personal learning.
Concentrate on continuously learning new things that are important to your job. Doing this will increase your value to your organization and to yourself. If you keep expanding your skillset, you will find yourself able to move up in your current organization — or another one. Finding activities that keep you feeling energized and interested so you can feel accomplishment are paramount to your growth. Sometimes most of these may be happening outside of your job, watch for the signs.
5. You are co-workers or others in similar positions are out-pacing your performance.
Colleagues are starting to get more recognition, or standout from you in other ways more often than they used to. This can feel discouraging and can further distract you from your job. When you first started were you a rising star? Lots of kudos? Then slowly what was commonplace is now the exception? It may be a good time for a change.
6. You are losing your focus on your current job activities.
Essentially, this means you are spending more time thinking about activities outside of your current work than the work itself. This is not unusual and while many times you will have thoughts of activities at home or outside of work, if they start to become a preoccupation, you may want to consider a career or job change. This typically happens when you start asking a lot of repetitive questions or “getting it” is taking much longer than it used to.
7. You are not able to move up in the organization.
Once your ability to climb the ladder stops or slows down or you realize that your depth of knowledge or experience slows down, it’s time to consider moving on or getting more training. If you are starting to report to people who were once your peers, or even worse off if you hired them to work for you, then it may be time to move on.
8. You are spending more time helping others or doing their work.
When you start choosing to assist others, not because you have to but because you would rather help them because their work is more interesting or engaging than your own work. This behavior should be a red flag for your boss that they are not giving you sufficient challenges. If your boss doesn’t understand this and any pleas for change have gone unanswered then start spending some of the time looking for a change.
9. Your level of satisfaction or interest with the work is lower.
The satisfaction is independent of the people, and you are more unhappy before, during, or after work. According to Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychology professor noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, FLOW is when you have the right balance between challenge and skill in your current work environment, finding the optimal experience will be difficult to achieve. Think about how many times you were so engrossed in your work that you lost the sense of time, this is a state of FLOW. How much of this are you getting in your current position?
10. You are told by boss or your significant other, “it’s time to move on”.
You’re getting increased prodding from one or more of your life stakeholders, who have an outside perspective of your own life, that you need to change. Think about whether the intensity or frequency is on the rise, if so, then you are a change needed candidate.
Sometimes we are too close to see the signs, or the signs appear too gradually. At some point in time, we all get comfortable or complacent with our work. If this contentment is causing you more discomfort in one or more of the ten signs, then making a change may be in your best interest for long-term success.
Take the first step today by having someone you trust, and who will be brutally honest, to rate each of the 10 questions above on a scale of 1 to 4 (1 = equals none of the time, 2 = some of the time, 3= most of the time, and 4 = all of the time). The closer you are to a score of 40 the more likely you have outgrown your job. This short assessment will to provide you an outside perspective so that you can initiate the appropriate changes to love your job and your life once again.
Featured photo credit: Photograph by Marc Lombardi via marclombardi.zenfolio.com