Help Wanted: Immediate opening for a CGA Specialist. Successful candidate must have demonstrated ability to foresee the future, dress in white, wear wings and of course, provide excellent career related advice. Pay commensurate with demonstrated results.
Chances are if you are like most professionals, at one point or another you’ve wondered if it was time to switch things up in your career. And unfortunately you probably don’t have a CGA Specialist (or Career Guardian Angel) on your team. Instead, you’re relegated to navigating your own thoughts regarding career options and if it’s time to make a transition.
Bottom line: If you start exhibiting the characteristics below, it’s important you realize them and take your leave…before you’re asked to leave! Because while your boss will tolerate these tendencies for a little while, if they become the norm he won’t have any choice but to help you find your way out of his building and into someone else’s.
- Watch the Walk. Chances are good that if you think you “might” be disengaged at work, you probably are! In fact, your boss can literally stand in his office watching employees walk in the door and tell you who wants to be there and who does not. You see, while you may think you’re keeping your thoughts to yourself there is a measurable difference in your posture, walk and determination when you are fully engaged. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re making the walk into the building, look around. Chances are good you’ll notice that those with a spring in their step who smile as they make eye contact and say good morning are performing better at work. Sure, everyone has rough weeks and work related stress, but when it feels like the door to the building weighs 1,000 lbs., then it may be time to reconsider your overall career strategy.
- Something New Please! While a small percentage of the work force are happy with the concept of doing the exact same thing for the next 30 years, for most the thought instead can cause sweaty palms and heart palpitations. The reality is that most people can’t stand the thought of doing the exact same job for one decade…must less three! Options for vertical growth tend to be the most desired; however, even a job that allows for horizontal opportunities allows for much greater long term satisfaction. If you’re in a job with absolutely no options for personal or professional growth and are starved for the opportunity to do more, it might be time to brush up that CSV (or resume for the boomers).
- Cranky Pants Prevails. While it may be socially acceptable for your two-year old niece to gain the moniker “cranky pants,” it’s certainly not how you want to be known in the work place. And if you’ve ever found yourself in a funk where everything is an irritant, I think you know where I’m heading with this one. At first, it may just be that you speak your mind earlier than you would have previously. But before long, you’ve gain the reputation for being so short tempered that your poor boss can’t find anyone who even remotely wants to work with you. If you find yourself being unnecessarily short with your team members, don’t ignore the signal. Either find a way to reengage in your work, or save everyone some pain and suffering (including you!) and begin your career search in earnest.
- Horrible Bosses-The Sequel. Much like not every person is capable of being a Pulitzer Prize nominee like Maya Angelou, some people are just not capable of being good bosses. And while you likely can’t cut tail and run at every occasion when you disagree with your boss, if you have been “blessed” with a supervisor that is simply bad news it’s likely in your best interest to find other options. Keep in mind-escaping a bad boss doesn’t necessarily mean jumping ship entirely. If you’re lucky enough to work for a large company, it may be as simple as transferring to a different department.
- More Wine Please! Sure everyone knows that you should leave work at the office and personal problems at home. And while I completely agree with the premise and strive to live what I preach each day, I will be the first to admit that most of us just don’t turn off the emotions that easily. If you start to notice changes in your personal behaviors that you attribute to work related stress or unhappiness, then do everyone a favor and start checking out some other options for employment. Life is seriously too short to damage your health by hiding behind alcohol or the need to take sleeping pills so you can “escape” for a few hours each night. The reality is that you will likely have more than one job in your career…but you only get one chance at life! Don’t ever put your career before your personal well-being.
- Show me the money! “Admittedly money isn’t everything. But to most employees, it is “one of” the critical variables. If you love everything else about your job and accept that while you are being paid below your value, you’re happy…then your CGA would likely tell you to stay put. However, add below industry compensation to some of the other items on this list, and it’s likely time to think about your next move.
- Work Life What?!? Admittedly some folks simply enjoy working. But for everyone else, a well-balanced life is important for reasons running the gamut from relationship to family and personal success. Unfortunately due to the recession and overall competitive business environment, employer’s expectations are higher now than ever before. In extreme cases, employees even feel the need to cover multiple positions to help companies stay afloat. And while admirable, we all have different breaking points. The trick is to know yourself and your value structure while managing those pesky requests from your boss. If you’re looking for more ideas on this, you may enjoy my earlier post, “9 Tips to Find Work Life Balance.” Bottom line: If you’re tired of seeing your co-workers more than your family, perhaps it’s time to change the employer on your LinkedIn profile.
- What’s up for tonight? While it’s certainly healthy to enjoy a mixture of passions in your life from work to family and social functions, it’s not a great sign if your morning commute is consumed with thoughts about what happens after your work day. This one is pretty simple. Monitor your thoughts on your way to work for a couple of weeks. Do you think about the day ahead or what you plan to do at the end of your work day? If your thoughts are consumed with everything you want to do AFTER your finish your work, chances are you disengaged and it may be time to rethink your career choice.
- Not Feeling Secure. I’m not really sure the concept of true job security exists for any of us like it did just a couple short decades ago. But with that said, if you feel that your job isn’t secure due to things like downsizing, management changes or profitability, then it absolutely may be time to step up your career search. Granted, it’s possible that the company may bounce back from everything you fear and you could regret jumping ship, but it’s also possible that your instincts are well founded and leaving while you have a choice could put you ahead of other applicants with similar skill sets.
For those of you with a wonderful mentor, congrats! For everyone else, I hope these tips can help you decide if it’s time to make a career move…that is unless you can find a CGA Specialist to hire!
I’d love to hear from you…why are you considering switching jobs?