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When To Leave Your Job: Telling Time

By Shmem Geddes

Off the back of the article my friend Jay Withee wrote recently – Costs of Losing Long-Term Employees: Walking Knowledge – I thought I’d flip the coin and touch on a subject that has been important to my career; knowing when it’s time to move on.

Sometimes you land the job of a lifetime; maybe you’ve been waiting years for this position or the opportunity to work for a specific company. It could be that you’ve finally reached a substantial salary bracket. Perhaps it’s just your lucky break? It’s a fantastic feeling, right? None of these things, however, should chain you down or hold you back.

I believe in working hard and giving 100% to my job but I also believe that my loyalties lie with my career and wellbeing.

Now, I realise that I have the luxury of not having a mortgage or kids or anything that really eats money. I understand the comfort that comes from holding down a secure job with a good wage but for me, it goes far beyond how much I take home every month. I have to be learning, be challenged, and ultimately, be happy in order to truly enjoy what I do. If I find myself no longer getting that from my job, then it’s time to look for something else.

As I said in my very first article, it’s ok to decide that a job isn’t for you. There is nothing wrong with realising that the job doesn’t fit you, or in some cases, you don’t fit the job. Most companies have something called a probation period, which is not as scary as it sounds! Yes, it’s a defined amount of time where the company can decide that you might not be the right person for the job but this is also the time that you can decide this might not be the right job for you. Use it to your advantage, as and when you need to.

If you have spent some time in a company and you find yourself becoming bored, ask your superior for a new challenge. Look for ways in the company that you can progress. Don’t stay bored. Boredom breeds complacency and complacency has no place in Automation.

I know plenty of people who are fine with staying in a permanent show for a long time and many people have their reasons for settling and prefer things to be that way, but I don’t. I’ve also been in situations where I’ve reached the highest position possible and the only way up is to shift into a different roll; production management for example. At that time I didn’t want to move into a different discipline, so I sought out another opportunity in my chosen field. There have been other occasions where I have reached the glass ceiling with no conceivable way to break through and so the only way to advance is by moving on.

Whilst I encourage everyone to try to have more work lined up before leaving your current post, there have been a few instances in the past where I’ve ignored my own advice. I’ve been exceptionally lucky to never be out of work for too long but when there are bills to pay, knowing when and where your next paycheck comes from is a good feeling. I remember a time where I was freelancing between jobs and only had about £75 in my bank account. I can honestly say, it was not a warm and fuzzy feeling. So, in an effort to be prepared, I suggest looking at the market and the jobs being posted regularly. Even if you are happy in your current position it’s good to have an idea of what’s going on outside your bubble, noting turnovers with particular companies or areas requiring certain disciplines. This way, when you’re ready for a move, you’ve seen what is coming and going and you can strike while the iron is hot.

Just remember, you are not beholden to a job or a company. You and your employer started the relationship both needing something, you – a job, them – a skilled employee.

If there comes a time where that relationship seems to have become one-sided, or it’s simply run its course, then take everything you’ve learned to someone new that needs you and your desirable skills, that will nurture you and help you grow.

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