In this post we will continue to explore the issues surrounding staying in a dead end job and job hopping. Part 1 outlined factors that might indicate you are on a career path to nowhere. Following is a framework for evaluating whether your job might be a dead end, or not.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A DEAD END JOB
It is very easy to get caught up in focusing on the near term instead of thinking about your job from a more strategic long term perspective. The quiz below will prompt you to think about where you job may or may not be taking you.
Are you in a dead end job?
Read the following statements in the context of your current job. As candidly as possible, indicate with a number between 1 and 4 the extent to which you agree with each statement:
1= completely disagree; 2 = mostly disagree; 3 = mostly agree; 4 = completely agree…
___ Most days I feel enthusiastic about going to work
___ I’m good at what I do and my job takes advantage of my abilities
___ My company is thriving and future prospects are good
___ My industry is thriving and future prospects are good
___ My recent performance review or feedback was above average to superior
___ I get occasional calls from friends or recruiters about jobs in my industry
___ I’m continuing to learn and grow professionally
___ My job/career path play well to my strengths
___ I fit in well with the company culture
___ I’m well regarded by executives, peers, and subordinates at my company
Then tally the number of 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s.
If you have two or more statements that you ranked as completely or mostly disagree, this could be a dead end job. If more than half your responses are 1’s and 2’s, this would definitely suggest that you should make plans for a change.
If you think you are in a dead end job, that does not mean you should quit right away, or take the first job that might come along. Timing of course will vary according to your particular situation. Sometimes we work to satisfy near-term needs or objectives, especially income needs. You never know how long it will take to find your ideal next job, so it’s usually a good idea to hang on to your current one until you do. If you’re working in a particular job to get certain skills or experience, be sure to stay long enough to truly get that experience, even though strategically it’s not where you want to be long term.
ANOTHER REASON TO CONSIDER MOVING ON
Burnout and Illness
The term burnout, as we use it in American business jargon, refers to feeling powerless, hopeless, fatigued, drained or frustrated. When work activities you once enjoyed become drudgery, you dread going to work, you find yourself cynical or easily annoyed about your boss or coworkers, or you don’t care as much about the quality of your work – you may be experiencing burnout.
Some job situations these days are so intense that your mental and physical health may be jeopardized. From insomnia to ulcers, back problems, clinical depression, anxiety attacks, stomach problems and headaches, there is no end to the consequences of stress. Quite often, these health problems disappear after the situation at work is resolved. One concerning consequence is that burnout can cause one’s performance to suffer.
If your physical or mental health is deteriorating, or you begin to feel burned out from prolonged periods of a stressful work situation, you should take steps to address the underlying problem(s). It might require developing and proposing a plan to your boss for adding or reorganizing staff resources, or having some part of your job automated. Perhaps getting some training, taking a management development course, or working with a coach could help you improve your productivity so you don’t have to work such long hours.
It may also help for you to take a vacation, or even some extra, unpaid time. More and more companies are allowing valued employees – usually those with some tenure – to take sabbaticals – paid or unpaid leaves of absence. If these measures fail or are not feasible, and you continue to experience undue stress, burnout, or illness, it’s time to move on.
The next post in this series, part 3 of 3, will address the opposite end of the spectrum, changing jobs too often, which is also a common career mistake…