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  • Writer's pictureKaren Thrall

Is it time to find new employment?

Updated: Feb 20

How do you know if it’s time to let go of your current employment? Here are a few suggestions for your consideration:  (Rate each sentence 1 through 10).


  1. I don’t relate

  2. I rarely relate

  3. I sometimes relate

  4. I often relate

  5. I … relate


  1. ⬜ You don’t feel like you’re learning anything new, the job feels monotonous or unfulfilling.

  2. ⬜ You don’t see advancement opportunities in the future.

  3. ⬜ You accomplished what you wanted to and are less motivated.

  4. ⬜ You get easily distracted or bored.

  5. ⬜ You frequently use the words like toxic, unhealthy, and dysfunctional

  6. ⬜ You feel exhausted or get headaches.

  7. ⬜ You feel disconnected from the team.

  8. ⬜ You have feelings of isolation or loneliness.

  9. ⬜ You have feelings of distrust towards colleagues, supervisors, and/or senior leadership.

  10. ⬜ You still feel disappointed that you didn’t get the promotion or pay raise.

  11. ⬜ You are regularly frustrated with the leadership.

  12. ⬜ You have lost respect for the culture of the company

  13. ⬜ You have lost respect for your direct report or executive team.

  14. ⬜ You disengage in meetings and contribute less.

  15. ⬜ You vent to your confidantes, repeating your grievances.

  16. ⬜ You are more critical of decisions being made.

  17. ⬜ You do the bare minimum required for your role.

  18. ⬜ You react more easily to emails, or have drafted angry emails that you’ve never sent.

  19. ⬜ You experience anxiety before you start your work day.


What if it’s as simple as you don’t like your job anymore? What if it’s no longer a great fit for you? What if you’re tolerating an environment that doesn’t work for you? 


What keeps you at your work when all it does is spiral you? If you were to leave your place of work, would the spiraling happen again? The time and energy you put into complaining about the company or your colleagues would be more well spent figuring out what you want for yourself.  


Your feelings of frustration are saying something must change FOR YOU. What is supposed to change in your career? What would those changes look like? If you love your job, then how will you address the problems you are dealing with at work? 


Ignoring your restlessness will trigger fear and anger.


Change with fear will not lead you down the path you want. Fear makes us say or do things we may later regret. Fear triggers the flight or freeze response. Maybe you’ll jump at the first job offer you get without weighing the pros and cons. Fear can also paralyze you from doing anything at all and sink back into defeatism, “I guess I’m stuck in this job forever.” 


A lens of fear doesn’t ask questions that empower positive change and most definitely will not help you in finding your next path. Fear is quick to remind you that “You must not, should not and cannot do something that benefits yourself. The stakes are too high. What will your loved ones think?”  Fear keeps you stuck and afraid to disappoint others.


If you are feeling progressively angry at your job, it is probably time to change. That’s what anger is all about. It is not anyone’s fault, no one is to blame for your chapter closing. Sometimes it’s easier to get upset with other colleagues than to admit that your time is done. 


The positive side of staying is it shows how loyal you are. The downside is that you’d rather stay and be miserable than invest in the extraordinary and breathtaking future that awaits you. It’s okay if your time at your organization has come to an end and you want to let go to find a better fit.

      

I can tell when a professional is about to transition out of their role approximately eighteen months before it happens because of the language they are starting to use:


  • “I woke up on Monday wishing it was still the weekend. If only I had one more day before getting back to work.”

  • “I don’t feel as close to the team and getting more annoyed with them than I used to.”

  • “I applied for a promotion. I didn’t get it. Again.”

  • “I’ve been doing this for so long. I’m wearing the golden handcuffs. Afraid to let go of the benefits and incentives I’ve built up over the years. The thought of starting from scratch scares me.”

  • “I’m definitely going to stick around for another six months to get my bonus. I’m not sure what will happen after that.”

  • “Of course I check out new job opportunities. Curious to see what’s out there. I’ve been head-hunted a few times. Good for the ego.”

  • “I have this ache in my chest. There’s this longing or dream that won’t shut off. And I don’t know what to do about it.”

  • “I used to be so much more fun. I caught myself laughing the other day, and it startled me. I think I forgot what my laugh sounded like!”

  • “To be honest, I couldn’t care less about the products and services we sell. I’m just a cog in the machine.”

  • “I don’t say a whole lot in meetings anymore. Why bother? Nothing is going to change.”

  • “Every time I go on vacation, I come back refreshed but with a sinking feeling.”

  • “My friends say I always sound stressed.”

  • “I do not like my boss.”

  • “I got upset again at work. I don’t have the patience I used to have.”

  • “I asked for a raise, again. They gave me some lame reason why I didn't qualify.”

Visualize three years from now

When coaching, the question I begin with is, “If I said that you would still be in this role, exactly the way it is, nothing has changed, for the next three years, what would you say?”


Based on the person’s answer and body language, I know immediately whether they are subconsciously entertaining the idea of looking for something new.  


“Three years? Exactly the way it is now? No! I can’t do this for another three years.” 


My job is to help prepare them for their exit strategy so they can place more focus on what’s next for their career.


“You’re about to move out of your role, if you so choose.”


When the process of change begins, it usually takes eighteen months to figure out what that change will look like. I ask them what their initial thoughts are about leaving the company. Do they feel ready? How soon is too soon? What is unnerving about the idea of starting a new career path? With each answer, we begin to hone in on what they want. No rock is left unturned.  


One of two things will happen:  their current frustration will create positive change in their present employment and bring a new surge of growth and opportunity; or they will recognize that their time has come to an end and will begin to ease their way into leaving, with an emphasis on not burning bridges on the way out. The reason I stress the importance of not burning bridges is because during this shift, people tend to become more critical of the company, the systems, internal communications, teams, colleagues, bosses, salary, benefits, procedures, etc. They unconsciously start finding reasons to help justify their decision to leave. If they can disqualify how awful the organization is, it’s easier for them to let go and move on. However, this can make their employer angry and mistrustful, all because they feel devalued by you. That is not a good way to walk out the door, leaving a stain on your extraordinary contribution.

By being committed to not burning any bridges, professionals have the opportunity to leave on a peaceful celebratory note. It is far better to set up the company for even greater success in your final days, than to sabotage relationships. It is more meaningful to have a farewell party than a kick in the pants as you walk out the door. 


I coached a Vice President who was passionate about her job, her team loved her, and the company loved her. She has a great sense of humor and her peers enjoyed her banter in meetings. And then it happened. She was conflicted. She began to wrestle with her role.


All was going well, so what was this uncertainty lurking in her mind? From the moment she showed hints of discontent, I knew it was a matter of time before she moved up or out. It was my job to fan the flame of change. As we met weekly, and talked openly about the possibility of her leaving the organization, she wasn’t sure what it all meant.


Change will take place when you embark on the right path. Finding the right path can, at times, feel chaotic and messy. Once you are clear on what path you want to take, the right people show up, the right doors begin to open, and you will naturally find yourself in the right place at the right time. But first, you have to know which path you’re supposed to be on.


For example, you say to me, “I want to buy a yellow Jeep.” I ask you, “Why a yellow Jeep? Tell me more about it.” You begin to give me the list of reasons you want a Yellow Jeep and you become even more clear about how sure you are with your decision. Not a blue Toyota, not a red Lamborghini, not a black Ford F150, and not even a green Jeep. It is clear in your mind: you want a yellow Jeep. The decision has been activated. You drive by car dealerships and find yourself scoping the lot for yellow Jeeps. You explore your search engine, seeing if there are any yellow Jeeps for sale. Sure enough, you start seeing yellow Jeeps everywhere you look. How strange! You never noticed yellow Jeeps before, and now they’re everywhere.


Clarity of what you want sets you on the right path, and you will naturally begin to notice things you never noticed before. You will begin to network and meet people that were not in your wheelhouse previously.  


And this change takes, on average, eighteen months. Except with this Vice President! As we worked together, her enthusiasm was growing and her desire for the ‘new chapter’ was intensifying. Her confidence confirmed her decision and, one day, I received exciting news! From the start of her exploration to the day she began her new job was a short six months, which is unusually fast.  


Three options showed up all at once: her current employment gave her an opportunity to interview for a new position which would increase her influence and continue to grow her talent; she was headhunted by a competitor; and, she was offered a Vice President role in another company that checked off all her “want” boxes.  


She chose the company that checked off all her “want” boxes: the Yellow Jeep.

By giving professionals the comfort of an eighteen month window, it provides them time to evolve into the acceptance of change. It validates their frustration and also brings relief in having time to prepare for this new chapter.  


Now that you know what you want, stay the course, be intentional and be patient. There’s a big beautiful world waiting for you, either upward in your current company or outward with a new organization.


Don’t burn bridges.  You never know when your paths will cross again.  When we experience anger or disappointment, our initial reaction will be to self-protect.  Our brains move into a state of threat. 


When we start to lose that sense of connection at work, we might want to ‘run away, ‘combat the injustice’, or ‘hide our voice and disassociate’.


Frustration and unhappiness in your position at work is an alarm clock, signalling to you that something must change. You have four options:

  1. Speak to your supervisor and share your frustration and happiness and see what solutions you can come up with together to resolve your disappointment

  2. Apply for a new role in your current position.

  3. Apply for a new role outside your organization

  4. Resolve your conflict with the ones that offend you.

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