Over the last few decades, the work culture has changed dramatically, all over the globe. Nowadays not only do we have jobs that sound exotic to our parents (not mentioning grandparents…), but when we try and explain what tasks we actually perform, it doesn’t get any less mysterious. That’s not all. Previous generations used to work at a single company for their whole professional life, unless there was a pretty big reason for a change, like making a decision to open up their own business. Just imagine 30+ years spent in the same place, every day. Whoa.
Things are so much different now and the current job market values flexibility and openness to change more than loyalty and sticking to one direction. From the recruiter’s perspective, a CV of an experienced person with only one employer in their career looks a bit rigid and unconvincing. What was true 20-30-40 years ago is no longer valid. The world moves fast. The business moves even faster, and it needs people who can keep up. Changes in a candidate’s CV show their adaptability and potential ability to keep pace with the company. These features are now a part of a much sought-after soft skills set.
This approach gave us freedom and now we can shape our career however we see fit. Having said that, you probably wouldn’t like to leave a place where you love what you’re doing, you like your colleagues, and your boss is someone you can learn from (or simply they leave you in peace so that you can get your job done.) But when you notice that you have lost that spark that once had motivated you, it’s time to take matters into your hands.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
In your professional life, when was the last time you felt truly great – fulfilled and satisfied? If you have to think hard, that might be the first sign to think over where you stand professionally and where you would like to go. Is your current project a right place for you? Do you enjoy what you currently do? And what’s equally important – does your workplace provide a healthy environment? Is your leader a person that supports you? How does your company, team, bosses treat you? Do you feel appreciated, supported, challenged in a good way? Or maybe you’re in pain every time you have to press “power” on your company laptop?
It’s probably a good time to consider a change of some kind if you feel that the things at work, or specifically in your project, went awry. Sure, material security and stability are important. But if you really think about it, exactly how probable is a situation where you won’t find something else? If you work in IT, and you speak English, your chances for that are exactly zero. It’s only a matter of time (and your engagement) how fast you’ll find a different project.
There’s one more thing, equally important. If you don’t like where you work or what you do, and wait too long, soon your energy will be completely drained by frustration. Burnout is real, and so is depression, and they are anything but helpful when you try to find another job. If you feel like you lost all your passion and excitement for your project, it’s probably the right time to start looking for a new one.
Check your options within your company
Finding a new option has never been easier for so many reasons: now we do everything online, including recruitment, and most of the time we can work from any place we like. You can jump on job boards and start sending out your updated CV right away, but what’s often underestimated is internal mobility options. A new project doesn’t necessarily have to be one outside your organization – how about changing your tasks and scope of work internally? You might feel that talking to your manager or leader is pointless (due to whatever reason), but truth be told – you won’t know what they would offer to you until… you do. Many big companies even have an Internal Mobility Specialist role in place (and there’s a chance you’re not even aware of it.)
But smaller organizations offer such solutions, too. For example, in Rite NRG it’s an integral part of our culture – we believe that a proper fit between a project and a team member is the key. We pay great attention to it. But if it would happen that one of our people stopped being happy, our message is always: speak up and give us a chance to find you another project. You’re a part of the company and we value your skills.
So, wherever you work, be brave! At this stage you don’t have anything to lose, right? Changing a project within your company might not only be a reasonable option, but it would also potentially be a much easier move (and a less stressful one) than looking for a new job elsewhere.
If this is a time to make a move – make a move!
In any case, my advice is – don’t wait too long. If you ignore red flags and continue going with the flow when you know the ship’s sinking (meaning, your energy, well-being and motivation), one day you’ll wake up and it won’t be a burden anymore. It’ll be a nightmare. And you’ll find yourself looking for a job not because you want to, but because you’ll feel you simply don’t have a choice.
When you feel overwhelmed every morning with the whole working day ahead of you, or when catching a cold feels like a relief because you can take sick leave, it’s clear: time to act. The topic of burnout has been vastly covered in the university papers, psychology books and popular wellbeing magazines not without a reason. Too many people stretch themselves (this way or another) for too long, sticking to a job, boss, company no matter how unhappy or disappointed they are.
One might ask – Okay, but what about Covid? I’ll shoot right back: What about it? The current times are stressful enough outside of our jobs, aren’t they? The more so each person’s wellbeing is crucial and we all should make sure we feel good at our workplace. Financial security is important, sure, but it was March 2020 when the world panicked and thousands of people did actually lose their jobs, and now – things are different. Businesses have adjusted to what’s going on globally and jobs are back to the market. The pandemic has changed the way we work and many positions have morphed to meet the current standards.
Being flexible is no longer only an asset of a good candidate. It’s actually what businesses needed to incorporate, too, and nowadays it’s each company’s must-have. This is why so many new possibilities emerged on the market. Leverage them! Besides, why wait? Take matters into your hands and see what happens. You might just land in a happy place.