What are the signs to change my job?

I recently presented at GEEQ (aka Girl Geek Sydney) about How to know when It's time to change?

I got positive feedback from the community and some of the attendees even asked for slides to reshare and present to their team in their organisation.

I thought to write a blog post and share my thoughts. In this blog post, I'm going to cover how to find answers to these key questions.

  • How to decide if a job is right for me?
  • Why should I change my job?
  • What are the signs to change my job?

These are key questions no one can answer better than us!

Each of us is in a different life and career stage and our needs are different so in my opinion, there is no one size fits all solution.  However, there are some tips you can apply to make more systemic decisions.

Step 1: Define your career goals

What's your mindset?

Let’s talk briefly about the finite and infinite mindset which has been introduced by Simon Sinek. When you have a finite mindset every morning when you wake up, you have these topics in your mind :

  • I’m going to be the best
  • I’m going to be better than everybody else
  • I’m going to accumulate more power
  • I’m going to have more responsibility
  • I’m going to have more money

When you have a finite mindset, your main focus is on your limited lifetime in comparison with an infinite mindset which you will look at life as something that exists before you and will continue after your lifetime.

If you have an infinite mindset every morning you wake up, you have these in mind:

  • I’m going to leave this world better
  • I want to be part of something bigger than myself

As you noticed your purpose and focus is different! Having an infinite mindset doesn’t mean you have less power or responsibility or earn less! It just indicates the industry, the environment and the people you work with will be different! My recommendation is to Live beyond your lifetime!

What are the drivers for your goals?

Let’s dig deeper and start by answering one key question. Do you have a clear career goal?

Your career goal could be driven by

  • Cause 
  • Title & Rank 
  • Transfer Skills & Cross entry
  • Experience 
  • Financial 
  • Lifestyle 

I have listed some samples below, there is no right or wrong career goal. you can have more than one career goal. It's your decision and no one better than you knows what's best for you.

  • I’m a Junior/Mid/ Senior level software engineer and I want to become Mid/Senior/Principal software engineer.
  • I’m a senior engineer and I want to become Tech Lead/ Engineering Manager/Solution Architect.
  • I’m a software engineer and I want to become a technical product manager.
  • I’m a designer and I want to work in the UX field.
  • I’m QA and I want to become an Automation test engineer.
  • I’m a software engineer but I want to become an SRE/ Site reliability engineer.
  • I want to learn how to build a product/website/game/SAAS/...
  • I want to learn how to deliver software.
  • I want to learn how to run a start-up/design agency/…
  • I want to use the latest greatest tech stack.
  • I want to have an xxx salary increase to be able to save for a deposit, pay back my loan, invest in …
  • I want to have a 9 am to 5 pm job so I can focus on my family, side project,...
  • I want to have a secure job so I can apply for a loan,….
  • I want to have a job close to home/my kid's daycare/…
  • I want to have a remote job.

You can have more than one career goal and as I stated your goal could be anything that you decide. There is one thing I want to emphasise and which is Regardless of your goal you deserve to be happy!

Does your job release all of these happiness chemicals?

Before I go into details, I want to emphasise regardless of our goal, we all have the right to have these feelings that I’m sharing:

I’m useful. The work I do is towards the cause I’m passionate about. I love what I do and I can see the result of my work. I work in an environment in which everyone is respected. Everyone has integrity and we all are accountable. We can easily admit our mistakes and learn from them.  I can be my authentic self. I feel I’m heard, recognised, and valued. I’m inspired. Every day I start my work energised and committed to doing more and I leave work happy and satisfied. I enjoy spending time with my teammates and working with them is pleasant. There are moments at work we can easily laugh. I can get breaks to meditate or go outside to walk under the sun. I’m learning and growing. I’m using the best tools and technologies that money can buy. I know what I need to do to grow and learn. My manager takes time to observe how I work and provides constructive and honest feedback. My manager also identifies opportunity areas that I can grow. He or she listens to my career goals and desires and provides perspective. He or She provides opportunities for me to take more responsibilities and shine! When I compare my salary and package based on my skill set and experience and responsibilities on the online salary insights websites or with colleagues there is not a huge gap!

How do I know if I'm happy with my current role?

Please pause here, I encourage you to reflect on what I shared. If you are not sure about what are your feelings are, there are a set of questions I encourage you to think about

  • Are you doing what you love?
  • Can you have a friendly conversation with your manager and share your goals?
  • Does your manager support your goals?
  • Does your manager give you feedback and share your opportunity areas to grow?
  • Are you given an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and grow?
  • Are the people around you at work empowering and uplifting?
  • Can you easily ask for help?
  • Do you have a support network?
  • What kind of impact do you have on people around you?

If you don’t have these feelings, don’t act on them emotionally just yet. But be aware you are missing out and you can change it.  We can systematically evaluate our current role to find out more.

These are nine categories I recommend assessing without any order

  1. Job fulfilment
  2. Culture & Work environment
  3. Annual compensation
  4. Career Path & Development
  5. Work/Life Balance
  6. Location
  7. Job Security
  8. Brand
  9. Tech Stack

Now, I want you to score them from 1 to 10. What would be your threshold score for each category? Meaning below that score you don’t feel happy or satisfied. 

Then subjectively score each category for your current role.

It seems by looking at the graph you have a good indication of where you want to see change.

Am I working for the right employer?

I’m going to share some statistics with you, It’s not for demotivating everyone. It’s for awareness. Knowing these data can enable us to do a quick fact check in the organisation/team we are working with. See if our organisation doing better or worse than these numbers. If your organisation is worse, if you are in the position to raise it with HR and your manager, please do it! We are all responsible to change these numbers and improve them!

If you do not feel empowered to raise these concerns, my advice is don’t suffer! Find a more progressive employer, cause your current employer doesn’t deserve you! If you and people like you leave to work for more forward-thinking organisations not only you improve your happiness index but also your action will raise an alarm for HR to prioritize inclusive workplaces.

Based on the 2021 leanin.org & McKinsey women in workplace report, for every 100 men promoted to a manager position, only 86 women moved up!

Despite the covid-19 added stress and exhaustion, women are rising to the moment as stronger leaders and taking on the extra work that comes with this compared with men at the same level, women are doing more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Yet unfortunately this critical was unrecognized and unrewarded by most companies. In another study by Qualtrics and theBoardlist, after reviewing more than 1000 U.S. employees with children at home in the IT Industry in 2020 during covid lockdowns. I picked this group because logically they should have an equal situation.

  • 34% of men with children at home say they’ve received a promotion while working remotely, while only 9% of women with children at home say the same
  • 26% of men with children at home say they’ve received a pay raise while working remotely, while only 13% of women with children at home say the same
  • 29% of men with children at home say they’ve taken on additional leadership while working remotely, while only 10% of women with children at home say the same
  • 28% of men with children at home say they’ve been given responsibility for important projects while working remotely, while only 10% of women with children at home say the same
  • 19% of men with children at home say they’ve received praise or recognition inside the company while working remotely, while only 10% of women with children at home say the same
  • 15% of men with children at home say they’ve received positive formal reviews while working remotely, while only 7% of women with children at home say the same

 Step 2: Make a plan for your own personal goals

As I mentioned the happiness index would be different for every individual. You and your colleague may have the same position and salary, working on the same project and reporting to the same manager but your scores could be different dramatically. If you know your career goals you can easily plan for them.

Know what career path you are on!

Based on Lean In the book by Sheryl Sandberg when we talk about a career path, there are two options

  • Ladder
  • Jungle Gym

Ladders have a clear direction. you move up by taking one step at a time. You move up the ladder as you gain experience

The downward movement is for taking a step back. Moving down to gain new experience in a different field or industry.

In comparison, jungle gyms point in every direction. It’s an intentional decision that allows for upward movement later.

Lateral movement is moving to a position to your right or left. It’s not necessarily an increase in pay or a higher position.

 Step 3: Take responsibility and action

Acknowledge and take accountability for where are you at! You cannot blame society, your employer, your boss or your colleagues for the result you have. 

You have given an offer, you said yes and over a period of time, you are here! If you are unhappy with the result, go after what you want. No one can stop you to reach your full potential. If you don’t know how to achieve your career goal, ask for help and in the meanwhile don’t forget to help people around you.

Practical tips

  • Always keep your CV and Linked in profile updated
  • Exercise your curiosity, attend Girl Geek Speed Hiring or any networking events that are in line with your career goals to find out more about other organisations and their culture
  • Connect with people who inspire and support you
  • Apply for few roles with your updated CV. Regardless of your happiness index at your current role, make sure you go two interviews per year!
  • Don’t be shy to ask for Help in your organization and in the community
  • Help others around you, by lifting people, you are growing too!
  • Compare your salary with the market

I want to finish by there are no bad moves if it’s the right move and get you to where you want to be!

There are no bad moves if it’s the right move and get you to where you want to be!