Sometimes you just know you have to have to find another job or you’re going to lose it. Other times people should be looking and they’re not. If you stay at one company for too long you could be really limiting yourself in several ways. If you’ve been at the same company for 15 or 20 years you might have limited your network and exposure to others in the industry. You could be severely underpaid and not even know it. Being comfortable has its perks, but it’s also a dangerous mindset to be in and can put you behind your peers professionally. Below are some reasons you should always be looking for new opportunities:
- You’ve hit a ceiling. Maybe your job won’t promote you because you are good at what you do, or they might just be too small to offer you any advancement. If you find yourself in a place with nowhere to improve, then it’s time to start looking elsewhere. Have you mastered your job? If so, it’s time to leave. It’s always good to be with co-workers who are better than you, that you can learn from. You also don’t want to end up with skills so specific you could become obsolete very easily.
- You job keeps giving you more responsibility but no raise or promotion. This can really creep up on you, especially if you are fast and/or good at what you do. It’s fine to be given additional responsibilities, but eventually those extra duties should come with bonuses, a raise, and better title. If you’re doing the work of 2 or 3 people or more, and not getting anything in return it’s time to go. Sometimes people feel guilty leaving in these situations because they feel their co-workers will be stuck with all their work if they leave, but don’t feel guilty! You have to put your own well-being first and not allow yourself to become a doormat.
- There’s a toxic work environment. Unhappiness is not worth staying somewhere you hate. Whether it’s a terrible boss (see our article on spotting a terrible boss here), or co-workers that gossip about you, it’s not something you have to accept. If the situation is not temporary you need to look for other jobs. A bad work environment will spill into your personal life and leave you in a permanent bad mood. This situation can be especially hard if you work in a team setting or depend on your co-workers to get your job done. If you work independently you can also make this situation better by requesting to work from home more often.
- Promises aren’t kept. If your boss keeps promising you a promotion or new title but then it doesn’t happen with no explanation (or a B.S. explanation) it’s time to move on. Your company is stringing you along. You might be doing the work of the person who has the title you want and someone else is taking credit for your work. In those situations, you will likely never reap the rewards of all your hard work. Ask your company for a set deadline and clear expectations if you want to give them one more shot. For example, say “in 90 days I’d like to set a goal to be in ___ position and I’d like to set some clear goals to accomplish in that time. If I am able to ___ in this time frame, do you see any reason why I wouldn’t be given ____ position?” If you get pushback, or the deadline comes and goes with no real reason, it’s time to leave. Unfortunately, this happens all too often, especially with new employees who are brought on with the promise of a certain title after 6 months or a year, but the company has no real intention of following through on their offer. They assume once they get you to come on board you’ve lost the battle, or you won’t pursue the issue.
- The writing is on the wall. It could be as obvious as layoffs, or as subtle as tightening office supplies and cleaning staff. If your boss starts asking you to vacuum or take out your own trash when that used to be done by an outside service, it’s time to be concerned. Layoffs don’t necessarily mean your company is doomed, sometimes the fat needs trimmed, but you should always be one step ahead. This is another reason it’s good to keep your skills and network up even when you’re comfortable at your job.
The key to remember is that it’s never a bad idea to be aware of the career opportunities out there. Get in touch with a recruiter who specializes in your industry and let them know you’re passively looking for a move. Do NOT trash your current employer in an interview, but you should be honest about what kind of environment or culture you’d like to see yourself in. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t have anything that fits your criteria right at the moment, because you never know a few weeks or months later many times I’ve come across a job opening and thought “oh this is perfect for Sharon from X company I talked to last month!”. We don’t suggest using a big generalized recruiting company because you will probably get lost in the shuffle. Stratus Search specializes in chemical industries, with positions such as engineers, technical sales, executive positions, scientists, and more. If you’d like to contact Stratus Search you can email Zach@stratussearch.com or call (727)308-7887. We can help you with your resume and add you to our database so we can match you with any opportunities that we have.