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5 Ways to Know When It’s Time to Move to Another Job

Last week, our CEO and founder Steve Ressler started a simple discussion: When is it time to move on? AKA: How long is too long in one position? And how do you know if it’s time to move on?

Turns out, the GovLoop community had a lot of great thoughts on this topic. Below, we rounded up 5 of the community’s tips on when you know it’s time to move on from your current position. Chime in in the comments with yours!

#1: When You’re Bored
Steve Ressler: It’s time to move on w
hen you aren’t learning or being challenged — with the caveat: Don’t leave until you talk to your boss and boss boss about the situation. Most bosses will find other opportunities for great people whether its within a division, a detail, or training opportunity.

#2: If You’re Not Providing Value – or the Job Isn’t Providing Value to You
William Kennedy: In short and in my humble opinion, it’s a value judgment. From an organizational perspective, one might honestly assess what value you bring to the organization, your employees, and leadership. Another view one might consider is what value does your current position provide you? In my 30 years of government service, succession and leadership development plans often have a lot to do with when folks are moved. If you’re the one determining your next next move, this last comment might not apply within your current organization as grooming selected individuals for advancement to the next level is usually a norm. If you know you’re not in that talent pool or group and you’re focused on moving up the ladder, you might consider opportunities where you have the opportunity to grow and move up.

#3: When the Passion’s Gone
Steve: I think passion for what you are doing in that position is also important to consider when asking these questions. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, it’s going to show in your work, it’s doing a disservice for those you work for, and you are not going to feel driven to stretch yourself.

#4: When You Realize You’re Too Comfortable
Elizabeth Sullivan: When you’re so comfortable in your present job that nothing you do provides any more challenge and you start to welcome new assignments. I researched enrolling in a certificate program to move to another grade and I was very encouraged by my manager and department director to do so. I thnk supervisors are more willing to help you in whatever your goal is once you’ve proven to them that you’re motivated enough to do the legwork.

#5: It Truly Depends
Peter Sperry:
There is a very real difference between 40 years of experience and 2 years of experience repeated 20 times. While time varies depending on the job, the probability of simply recycling past experience goes up after 3 years and accelerates rapidly after 5. I’ve met very few people who were still growing and/or expanding their utility while remaining in the same job for 10 or more years.

Professional growth is only one aspect to consider and not necessarily the most important. Public servants in his first group may be content to remain in one job their entire career simply to maintain work life balance. Those in the second group may be invested in the long term project and want to see it through to completion even if their own ability to contribute eventually plateaus (nothing wrong with this as long as it does not decline). The third group will want to focus intently on how they fit into the project and when both they and the organization benefit from a change of scenery. If the individual in question has joined an organization and provided value by completing a project or helping achieve a major milestone, it is time to ask “what’s next?” for both. I’ve seen this happen in 6-12 months (mostly with consultants) and also seen it take 3-5 years. If it goes beyond 5 years, the individual is probably sliding into group 1 or 2.

When do you think it’s time to move on from a position? Leave your thoughts and stories in the comments below.

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Gary T Lefko

BlessingWhite’s “X” Model helps me determine course of action–the intersection of my personal goals with the organization aspirations–if they are not fully aligned it might be time for a change