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Sometimes you need to switch gigs. You've stopped learning, you aren't as energized, and it's time.

You may not even know it.  Plus, it is a pain to look for jobs (the black hole of applying online is painful) and hard to switch.  But sometimes you need intervention and need to move on – so here we are to help.

Here’s 5 signs to look for:


1 – You've mastered the job.  Congrats - you have mastered the job.  You know all the ins/outs & maybe you can even do your whole job in 1/2 the time it used to take you (and spend the rest of the time surfing the 'net).  While this feels great, this is actually the #1 time to start looking - you always want to be learning/growing.


2 – You’re the last one left. So you came to work with a certain cohort. 5-10 people roughly joined at the same time as you. You did cool work, it was fun, you learned a lot. It is 3, 5, 10 years later. Everyone else has left and changed jobs 2-3 times and are learning new things. You are still doing the same exact thing and start talking about the glory days like a high school QB (how things were so much better 5 years ago).

3 - Your organization stops expanding & starts shrinking -  The best learning experiences are when an organization is growing.  Yes it may be chaotic at a CFPB or DHS in its growth days but the opportunity is huge - you learn a ton as you are setting up procedures for first time, launching new programs, and have huge opportunities for promotion.  It's time to start looking when there's no growth & actual shrinkage - there's fewer promotional opportunities, more people on line, and simply less interesting


4 - You are at end of DOOM loop - I love Frank DiGiammariono's DOOM loop (picture on the right) on career happiness (download the free guide).    He argues that you want to start a job in quadrant 1 (you like the job but aren't good at it yet). As you grow in the job you eventually are good at it and like it.  The downside is when you basically get stuck - you become jaded (good at it, don't like) and eventually spiral into #4 (not good, don't like)

5 – You’ve officially learned all the acronyms. It all actually makes sense. So well that you start referring to the 4 times that same acronym was used and all the program names.

That's my 5 signs - how do you know when it's time to move on?

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Tags: human resources, leadership, new employee, new hire handbook, project management, top 5, top5


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Comment by P. Rana Stewart on February 28, 2013 at 9:47am

How about #7, you just want a new job AND I am totallllly #4 - DOOM LOOP, I am bored out of my mind everyday and trying to find a job NOW in the Fed world is truly challenging, thinking about leaving and going back to the private sector... and I do the "edge of the bed" every morning.... HELP!!!! lol

Comment by Jeffrey Levy on February 13, 2013 at 12:16am

I love #4. I refer to it as "when I stop being excited to go to work, it's time to change jobs."

I also find it coincides with #1 and #5.

Comment by Janina Rey Echols Harrison on February 12, 2013 at 6:02pm

I like Ingrid's number many of us clicked on this immediately to see if we needed to change?  I am retiring and will be up for all kinds of new learning experiences.

Comment by Erica Schachtell on February 11, 2013 at 6:24pm

what about 6 - your children have finally left home and gone to college, and now you are finally able to relocate, after years of staying put because they were doing well socially and academically.   
(in my agency, ppl who cannot relocate are at a distinct disadvantage ....)

Comment by Dick Davies on February 6, 2013 at 12:43pm

I was listening to a successful contractor start-up exec last month. She said the time to move is when you no longer love it.

Comment by Bill Brantley on February 5, 2013 at 9:56am

I have the "Edge of the Bed" test. If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is sit on the edge of the bed dreading getting up because you have to go to work, then you need to leave that job. Especially if you do this consistently.

On the other hand, if you can easily get out of bed and have already started a To-Do list in your head before you even hit the shower, then you probably like and want to stay in your job.

Comment by Deb Green on February 5, 2013 at 9:06am

"Immesurement," Irrelevance, and Anonymity: Reasons why people vote with their feet.

Comment by michael a moment on January 29, 2013 at 9:44am

I agree with Ms. Kanika Tolver....110%

Comment by Kanika Tolver on September 5, 2011 at 11:14pm
One sign is you are simply unhappy and unfulfilled.
Comment by Deena Larsen on September 5, 2011 at 10:13am

2--Actually, if you can grow within the same job then I don't thinnk that applies.  I've nurtured my writing career over the 20 years to show our agency how to get onto the web (in 1991--I cringe a bit at that site now), how to use social media, how to reach audiences, what documents are important and what ones we can scrap, etc.


So, sure, if the job doesn't grow with you, or you don't grow with the job, then go.  But sometimes you can make the place work for you for a long time.

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