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When is it the right time to change careers?

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Matt Darvill Work, Career Advice, Job Search...

The average person will change jobs nine times during their careers, which is twice as many as our grandparent’s generation. With change now being much more prevalent, it can be difficult to decipher when the time is right to move on and try something new. You need to assess where you are now, what you have achieved and where you want to be in the future.

Self-reflection is the best starting point. We’ve written in the past about developing a career plan, which allows you to carefully consider the things that you enjoy and that motivate you in work. We’ve been through the most important factors to consider, to help you establish if the time is right.

Is it too early?

There is no definite rule as to whether it is too early to leave your role or not, but there are a few things you should ask yourself to establish your situation. Firstly, if you are in a new industry or completely new role, there will be a natural period of transition whilst you build up your knowledge base. It’s likely that this period will be time-consuming and challenging whilst you get up to speed, and it’s perfectly normal to feel a little lost at this point whilst you adjust. Alternatively, it may be a temporary hitch, a particular project or even a case of the Monday blues.

If the same feelings and emotions are fairly consistent then you’ll need to make your line manager aware and come up with some genuine suggestions of how this can be improved. Are there any development programmes that could develop your skills or informal meetings to help build relations with your team. Taking these steps will allow you to fully consider your role, and whether it’s necessary to look for something elsewhere.

Energy Depletion or Boredom

Most of us will have times in our working life where we feel run down and perhaps not as motivated on certain days. But consistent energy depletion and tiredness every day is often a telltale sign of the need for a change. If you feel constantly exhausted, try to pinpoint the area of work that is most affecting you. Is it the job itself, or some of the day-to-day activities you are required to do. Or is it a result of more environmental factors, such as co-workers, a demanding boss or a lengthy commute.

If it is the environment, then this is an easier fix. Changing teams can bring relief from some of the factors that may be affecting you. You could change your transport method, or even move closer to work if the commute seems to be the root cause. If it is your role itself that is draining, then that is a clear sign for the need to change.

Think about this process in reverse, and list all of the things in work that energise and motivate you. This can allow you to find a few common themes in your wider interests and help you to pivot from one role to another.

Apathy

One of the signs can be a lack of focus, which can lead to a lack of interest or enthusiasm in your work. This lack of ‘ownership’ benefits nobody, and can result in sloppy mistakes and lower levels of performance. This can be through a lack of challenging work, discouraging creativity, or an absence of common purpose throughout the business.

As before, if this is the issue that is affecting you, then you need to consider what it is about work that does fill you with pride and a sense of ownership. This will often be connected to your personal values and ambitions. This could be centred on community, regular challenges or working towards a target. You can then research roles and companies that align with your personal brand.

If you do feel that moving on would be the best thing then bear in mind that it is much more advantageous to leave in a position of strength; meaning that you should have somewhere to go before handing your notice in. If you are looking for a change of career, our trained experts can help find you the perfect role. Click here to find your nearest branch, or here to search all our vacancies.