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The decision to change jobs is not always easy. You may be onboard with not wanting the job you have but how do you really know it’s time for a job change?
One of the hardest parts of making a decision is when you have no idea where to start. A job change can feel like one of those hard decisions.
Choice is an endless burden when the information you need to make a decision is not available.
- How do you know what job is right for you?
- If you change jobs, how do you know if you won’t have the same problems as before?
- When selecting a new job, how will you know if you made the right decision?
Reducing the questions and building confidence in your decision through self evaluation can help to ensure you know whether or not it is time to leave your job.
Am I Making the Right Decision to Change Jobs?
When you are making a job change decision or any decision, it is important to feel connected with your thoughts on the subject.
Taking a moment of self evaluation can go a long way to solidify a sense of certainty and trust within yourself and your decision-making.
Before you evaluate the state of your job, it is important to examine your level of trust in your decision.
- Do you trust yourself to make sound decisions?
- Are you comfortable with living with the consequence of your decisions?
- Do you put more faith in outside opinion than your own internal judgment?
- Have you developed a habit of questioning decisions once you have made them or staying in indecision?
If you suffer from some or all of these circumstances then it is important to first address your insecurities within yourself. You may not be able to fully transition your state of mind before you are faced with making a job change decision. But minimally you should acknowledge that fear, lack of trust, or indecision may have an impact on your evaluation of your next best steps.
Knowing when to change jobs is a practical and yet emotional decision and for these reasons should be made with great care.
Let’s examine a few scenarios where a job change may be warranted that can help to further solidify your decision to change your job.
Job Change Scenario #1: A Terrible Company Culture
When you don’t feel good about the environment that you work in it may be due to the company’s culture.
Company culture can include what the business stands for, the common values shared by the employees, or how it treats its employees. Examine if your company may be a bad culture fit for you.
For example, if you believe that business practices are not being handled responsibly, professionally, or ethically, you naturally may want to leave.
Your company may not work with ethical partners, may not follow proper safety rules, or may condone employees speaking or acting unprofessionally with each other.
These types of work environments can make you question your own integrity for working for the company, make you question if you are in a safe environment, or may even make you feel as if you are in a toxic environment.
Other evidence of poor company culture is a lack of response by the business when you express problems with the work environment or business practices.
No business can control every action taken by every person within its walls. But a good company will react quickly, professionally, and with proper sensitivity when things go wrong.
Neglect to complaints or serious infractions of the law, company policy, or professional business conduct can be clear reasons to want a job change. Constant exposure to a poor company culture can be a drain on your energy and may render you in conflict with your personal standards and ethics.
Job Change Tips When Company Culture is Important
When transitioning jobs, company culture can be as important or more important than the work itself. The environment that the business promotes can have a direct impact on your productivity, sense of belonging, and connection with the business.
Take confidence in your decision to move on for these reasons and prepare a plan of action so you do not mistakenly experience the same issues at the next job.
When exploring other job opportunities, look to see what type of culture the business promotes:
- Review the company website, job posting, or any other published work to see how it describes its culture, mission, vision, or core values. See the intention behind the company culture the business promotes to have.
- Research to see if any customers, vendors, staff, or community members have rendered opinions or reviews about the company using apps and websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, or the Better Business Bureau.
- Investigate to see the associations the business has with other business entities, professional associations, and community projects. Where a business invests its resources or donates time to charitable causes can reflect on its priorities.
- Above all, use your interview as an opportunity to ask direct questions regarding company culture. Don’t hesitate to ask for real examples of how their values show up on a day-to-day basis. Companies that focus on strong ethics and positive engagement share this openly to gain the attention of future employees with similar values.
Finding and evaluating a company to have strong business ethics and conduct can help to build your confidence with making your job change decision.
Job Change Scenario #2: Limited Access to Professional Growth
Another potential poor company fit is when the company or your boss does not focus on professional development.
Professional development neglect can take the form of:
- Limited options for position advancement due to the business structure, lack of systems, or lack of leadership support
- No means to increase compensation, benefits, or other retention incentives to support independent development investment
- Lack of focus or financial support on continued education, training, or other professional development
When broadening your skills or furthering your career is important to you but is not important to your business then it may be time to find a company aligned with your priorities.
While you are always in the position to manifest your own growth opportunities, you cannot live to your fullest potential if you feel hindered from being your best by your current job. Your job change reason may solely be to find a company that aligns with your long-term career goals.
Professional Development Tips
Companies who prioritize investment in their staff are often proud to share it.
Professional development is not a requirement of any business but many offer options to be competitive and as part of their culture. Examples include:
- Education sponsorship or course reimbursement
- On-the-job training, mentorship, or coaching
- Flexible work schedules to accommodate attending in-person classes, exams, or studying needs
- Leadership or vocational development programs, including on-and off-site assignments, multi-year programs, and rotation programs
Interviewing with Professional Development in Mind
When professional development is a priority, be sure to examine this closely in your future interview process.
- Ask questions not only about what programs exist but eligibility requirements
- Share what you intend as the plan for your future and see how a new company is structured to support your plan
- Learn the number and types of options, particularly as you continue your career path with the company over time. Some opportunities are only available after you have had some tenure.
Be mindful that professional development opportunities and the long-term vision related to this subject may be different based on the size of the company. Therefore tailor your questions according to what is reasonable to expect for the size and scope of the business and the role to which you are applying.
Discussing professional development during an interview can feel uncomfortable at times. Some business representatives may get nervous that you are more interested in what is ahead versus the job available now. Always balance your discussion with how you will fulfill the immediate needs of the business.
It is important that you project interest in the role available as well as long-term opportunities to invest in your career growth with the company. When you can align on both the current job opportunity and your future ambitions, you and the company can feel more confident in working together.
Job Change Scenario #3: Toxic Work Environment
Another reason for a job change is when your relationship with the company has been tarnished in some way.
Maybe you have had some type of stigma or bias against you. Maybe you feel disconnected or feel wronged by your boss, department, leadership, or company practices.
Poor business relationships can create a toxic work environment filled with targeting, harassment, micro-managing, and gaslighting. None of these behaviors are healthy for work or your mental health and well-being.
When a toxic environment exists and reporting it does not resolve the issue or you feel it would make things worse, it’s time to find a new company and create a clean slate for yourself.
Examine further, however, if you are ready for that move.
Self Evaluating After Exposure to a Toxic Work Environment
Extended time in a toxic work environment can have negative effects on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. And while it is a valid reason to leave a job, the reality is that you may not be in the best condition to search and interview for a new job.
- Be mindful that working in a toxic environment for a length of time can create different patterns in your behavior. You may have become overly suspicious, watchful, and sensitive to others’ words or actions.
- You may not currently be in your best state of mind and this imbalance can travel with you to a new job. Be aware of how past feelings of distrust may impact your ability to transition to an unfamiliar environment.
- Examine through others the level of impact on your person that you may not recognize. Connect with family, friends, and possibly a therapist to work through the emotional scarring that may have occurred.
While working in a stressed environment can be taxing, starting a new job in a new environment carries its own level of stress.
Take time to evaluate whether or not starting a new endeavor helps or hurts your situation at this time.
If you have the financial stability to do so, you may want to take a break between jobs to get yourself emotionally readied for your path ahead.
With timing, self care, and preparedness in mind, when you have experienced a toxic work environment at your current job, it likely imperative to start your plan to make a job change.
Toxic Work Environment Transition Tips
Working in a toxic work environment can bring to the surface many thoughts and emotions that simply are not positive. While valid for your current job, it is important to transition your state of mind to a positive outlook for your future position.
Most employers are searching for a person capable to do the job that they have available AND a person who is happy and excited to take on the new opportunity.
Considering these steps when making your transition:
- Set the proper energy and focus for your interview. Place your attention on the positive aspects of the new opportunity and speak neutrally about your old job. Never slander or recount negative experiences but instead focus on any learnings you may have gained from your past experience. Always be professional as your goal is to represent your best self.
- Learn about the onboarding process and specifically how new hires are integrated within your department or with others. See if the new business has systems in place to foster positive relationships and an overall collaborative working environment
- Talk to your direct manager about their leadership style, expectations they have around performance, and how they define a winning team. Understanding your potential manager’s way of leading can help you determine if you will be compatible in the future.
- Ask whether or not a tour of the working environment is possible or if you can speak with an experienced team member. Gaining first-hand knowledge of the business will allow you more direct exposure to the relationships that already exist and the general tone of the environment as a whole.
Take special effort to find a company that represents the way you want to be treated and feel confident that your job change is the right decision.
Bonus Job Change Scenario: I Just Don’t Like My Current Job
It may seem like it’s not enough, but it is possible to simply not like your current job. There is no reason to feel that you have to justify your reason any more than confirming confidently to yourself how you feel.
When you feel a disconnect with your current job, it is important to pay attention to the signs. Work is more than where you earn money or get trained for developing your skills. It also is a significant part of your daily life and contributes to your total well-being in life.
Choosing a job that you enjoy in addition to it satisfying your basic needs is possible and can make you more balanced in your life overall.
That said, if you enjoy your work but do not like the specific job then your next steps are to create your exit plan. When developing your plan do your best to identify what you didn’t like in your last experience so you do not recreate it in your future!
And, don’t worry, no matter the reason that you elect to leave your job these tips can still be applied.
Exit Plan Tips
- Make a firm decision to move forward with leaving your job. If you need a little encouragement, read my article on The Best Affirmations for Confidence When Quitting Your Job. In addition to providing empowering words, this post reviews the self-affirming steps of validating your decision to yourself.
- Develop a job search plan for your new job. This ideally will include the work you prefer to do, the opposite experience of what you have at your current job, and what key elements are part of your ideal or dream job. If looking for more inspiration for your preparation read How to Get the Job You Really Want for more ideas.
- Prepare an updated resume. This is a critical step as your resume is many times the first impression your new job will have of you. If you are not familiar with creating a resume, it may be better to get help from family, or friends, or to hire a professional. Even if you prepare one yourself, always have another person proofread your end result. If you need assistance with creating your update, take a look at my Tools for the Best Resume Rebuild Ever.
- Get interview ready. In addition to the recommendations outlined within this post, be sure to have any important interview questions prepared and written down. Ensure your clothing, transportation, and state of mind are ready so that you can create the best impression. Most of all, remember that an interview includes you. Always ensure that you are observant of the impression you receive from the business. Because you are evaluating them as much as they are evaluating you.
A job change may be a difficult decision. Learning what has motivated this decision within you can help to define if this change is right for you.
It is important to know what may be wrong with the job you have. But it is more important to know yourself and what you need in your career and job environment to be your best in any business environment.
Take time to consider your options, define your desires, and then prepare your next steps toward the right job change for you.
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