Millennials have a reputation for job hopping, but this isn’t limited to their generation. In fact, younger Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are sometimes placed in this same situation (whether of their own volition or it being thrust upon them).
What prompts most people to change jobs in high employment environments like we’re currently in?
You might feel it’s a sellers’ market with the economy humming along as it is. While it may be true companies may sweeten salary offers to stay competitive, dollar signs alone don’t drive the decision to switch jobs.
“Every situation is different,” says Craig Libis, CEO of Executive Recruiting Consultants in Dell Rapids, South Dakota. “Money is usually 4 or 5 on the list.”
Indeed, when employers can afford it, they often fall to temptation and use cash as a proxy to salve employee concerns. This can backfire when problems run much deeper than the condition of the employee’s bank account.
Nancy Richardson, author of Work Freely: Love Your Job. Love Your Life, has had the opportunity to speak with many people about their job. She’s discovered what motivates workers. More importantly, she’s taken note of what doesn’t motivate workers.
She says, “The three things I hear most often when talking to people who are unhappy in their jobs are: 1) Being under-appreciated—Feeling the talents they bring to the organization are not being valued, 2) Being micro-managed—Not given the space to create and contribute to their fullest potential, and 3) Being Stuck—Not feeling they are being developed and provided opportunities for advancement.”
It’s this last item that can present the greatest challenge to both employers and employees. When you’re stuck in a rut, it can become a perpetual downward spiral. That feeling of helplessness can seep into other areas of your personal life, making it difficult to recognize the root cause of the issue.
Once you realize your irritation derives from the humdrum everyday routine of work, you’re in a better position to address it directly.
“People change jobs in a high employment environment when they are bored or frustrated or they haven’t been promoted or gotten a raise that they feel is worthy,” says Sonya Sigler, CEO of PractiGal in San Carlos, California. “Employees become frustrated when they have been in a job for a while, even if they are good at it. One of the reasons I hear most often in the coaching and consulting context is that they are bored, that they have done everything they can with their current job. They are looking for a challenge, whether it is at their current company or another one.”
If you have the slightest worry things aren’t as rosy at your job as they should be, it may be time to do a little soul searching.
That doesn’t mean to leap before you look. It means to take a moment and listen to those experienced in the field of recruiting. They can often provide a checklist of tell-tale signs that may indicate it’s time for you to move on.
This checklist may also give you a hint as to what your priorities really are.
Damian Birkel, Founder and Executive Director of Professionals In Transition in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, provides one such checklist. Birkel specifies the following conditions that might tell you it’s time to begin reviewing alternative employment opportunities:
· “Being unhappy at work. You may have survived yet another downsizing, and wonder every day when the next one is going to hit. So, you begin to look around.”
· “Living in fear at work has become the rule, it’s no longer the exception. One day something at work happens to finally ‘trip the trigger.’ The person has had enough; and checks out of the company and begins to job search.”
· “Sometimes mid or late in life you get to the top of the ladder and look around that you climbed the wrong ladder.”
Do any of these items describe how you’re feeling? If so, what does it tell you about your priorities?
Birkel says, when you really grasp what’s going wrong with your career, “suddenly your paradigm shifts, and your job search is now mission-based and no longer money-based.”
What’s the best way to solve this disheartening dilemma? Probably not what you’re thinking.
Someone who has starved for days makes the mistake of thinking they should gorge themselves at the first available banquet. That can both mask the real problem and exasperate it.
It’s better to take a slow and deliberate approach. You may be more on track than you think. You don’t have to swing for the fences when a simple single will score the winning run. And now is the best time to go for that easy hit.
Your winning answer may be more straightforward than you imagine.
“In high employment environments like we’re currently in,” says Wesley Botto, a Partner at Botto Financial Planning & Advisory in Cincinnati, “it could be small changes to lateral opportunities such as a modest raise, more flexibility, better perks, higher upside potential.”
So, if your gut is telling you it’s time to move on, don’t drag your feet wondering if it’s the right thing to do. Now offers the best time to think outside the cubicle.
“People switch jobs because they believe there’s something better out there for them,” says Dr. Nicole Gravagna, Executive Coach at NeuroEQ in Denver. “They are usually right.”