Recently a high potential employee asked me “How can I tell that I have reached a dead end in my job?”
What are the warning signs, some obvious and some subtle, that a change is needed?
Consider the following.
1. Your boss no longer attends to your career aspirations. These include everything from enriching your present job to advancements up the leadership chain. In fact he/she expresses uncertainty about his/her own career options with your present company.
2. You are chronically bored with your job. In fact, you cannot wait until the end of the day when you go home. You also ask yourself questions about your job like “Why am I doing this to myself?”
3. Your opportunity to take risks has become constricted. In fact, failure is penalized. Everyone becomes very conservative and the talk around the office is “stick to the basics, don’t try new stuff!”
4. Training and development opportunities start drying up very fast and you are left to your own devices for any growth opportunities.
5. The budget and staff for your function has been slashed to a shadow of its former self. In fact you start finding that you are consistently doing the work of two or more people.
6. Highly talented people are leaving in droves, being recruited by head-hunters, or taking early retirement.
7. The talk around the office has become highly negative. In the past you and your peers would be excited about your company and its mission. Now the drift towards pessimism is palatable and you are finding it difficult to see the silver lining. In fact, you live with the fear that you will be gone with the next round of layoffs.
8. Your own stress level is going through the roof with symptoms like sleep disorders. Your worry meter sees to be in the red a lot of the time. As the result of the stress you physically crave fat and sugar and soon you start packing on the pounds.
9. You have persistent fantasies of escape and scan the job ads with the deep longing for something better for your life. Or, more typically, you mind wanders during the day to other activities you would rather be engaged in at that moment.
10. You take your troubles home with you and they start contaminating your personal life.
If you have four or more of the above warning signs you need to heed them in the same way you would attend to a possible physical disorder. The clear message is “act now or pay later”.
If four or more of these signs are present in your life
Listen to your own inner voice that calls you to another way.
I once read that if you are on a path that has barriers ahead as well as behind and there is no room for you to move, the best solution is to change paths.
You may want to read my blog on “The Courage to Change”