So much effort goes into applying, interviewing, and securing a job that once you’ve solidified yourself in a position, it’s hard to think about ever leaving. However, changing jobs and pivoting professional paths is an essential part of one’s career. By age forty, the average Baby Boomer has changed jobs around 11 times. And with the growth of the gig economy and desire to be your own boss, it’s becoming less and less likely that the first full-time job you get is the one you stick with for good.
To figure out if your current job is right for you, many things should be considered. Asking yourself if there’s growth potential, if you like the company culture, and if you enjoy the work you’re doing, these are all factors you should consider before diving back into that job hunt. And while no job is ever perfect, asking these things of yourself is sure to jumpstart your thinking and guide you in the direction that’s right for you.
1. Do you enjoy what you’re doing?
One of the first questions you should be asking yourself is this: “Do I like what I do every day?” Obviously, no one job is completely perfect, and you’re never going to enjoy all of your responsibilities all of the time. It’s a well-documented fact that “finding your passion” is too simplistic of advice to take when evaluating your current job. But the general idea is that you should look forward to coming in and do the work you do every day, and truly believe it’s meaningful. And if you do, you’ll be 20% more productive. But if you find yourself falling out of bed every morning and dragging yourself to do work you don’t even believe in, then maybe it’s time for a change.
2. Do you have a healthy relationship with your boss?
Now, let’s be realistic here. I’m not saying you’re out every weekend at the karaoke bar crushing cocktails together, having a healthy relationship with your boss doesn’t mean you’re best friends. It means that you feel like you can be communicative with them, you are working towards the same goal, and you feel like they advocate for you.
This also means that every superior-associate relationship will look different, and that’s okay. Not every individual prefers the same leadership styles. Some might prefer a manager who is hands-on and gives lots of direction, and another person in the same position might hate someone like that. But the fact of the matter is this, 58% of the workforce say they trust a stranger more than their boss, and if you’re a part of that percentage, you should try looking for a change.
3. Is your compensation fair and does it align with your experience level?
Even at a dream job, it’s easy for resentment to build if you haven’t gotten a raise in 18 months. Especially if you look on a website like Glassdoor and find out you’re making 60% less than most of your counterparts.
At the end of the day, compensation needs come down to what benefits, perks, and salary you require to both succeed in your role and live your life. If these are not being met, it might be time to either ask for a raise or look elsewhere.
4. Is your commute doable?
This is a special shout-out to our professionals living in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., who are amongst the individuals in the US with the longest commute times. Commutes can be stressful, and sometimes not worth it. A study done in 2017 discovered that an extra 20 minutes added to a commute equates to a 19% pay cut.
Of course, commute time isn’t the only thing you should consider when evaluating your trips to and from work. Are you still able to live nearby your friends and family? Are you close to a range of restaurants, bars, parks, and schools? The answers to some of these questions should help decide if your current situation is right.
5. Are you expanding your skillset, and do you see a growth trajectory?
A great job challenges you and encourages you to hone your skillset while fostering your existing talents. For most professionals, an ideal job also encourages continuing education and employee growth. If you don’t see these things in your current position, you might want to look for something more, but before you do, have a conversation with your manager that addresses where they see your role going in the long term. Perhaps even request approval to attend an event or take a class that will sharpen your skills. And if your current company doesn’t encourage these growth paths, then it might be time to say goodbye.
While general, these five guiding points are sure to help you evaluate if your current position is right for you. And while it’s important to remember that not every job will check off every box, you have a right to leave your desk at the end of every day feeling satisfied with the work you put in for your company. Leaving a company and going into the dreaded job hunt can be risky and tiresome, but trust that finding the right position will pay off in the end.
About the Author: Susan Levine is the president and founder of Career Group Companies, a leading recruiting firm based in Los Angeles, with offices in New York, San Francisco, Orange County, and Greenwich. Their divisions, comprised of Career Group, Syndicatebleu, Fourth Floor, Avenue Pacific, and Events, span a variety of industries. They specialize in executive and administrative support, marketing and design, fashion, events, and c-suite-level placements. As a widely recognized industry name, they pride themselves on placing top-tier direct hire and freelance talent in their dream jobs. They use their expertise to impact the lives of their candidates and improve the company culture of their clients, one exceptional match at a time.
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This story was originally published on October 28, 2019, and has since been updated.