There will be times throughout your career when you ask yourself, “should I look for a new job?”. It may be because you’re feeling overworked and undervalued. Or perhaps your firm doesn’t have the time or resources to support your personal development. The truth is, there is a myriad of reasons why you may consider searching for a new job.
To help you unpack whether or not you should move firms, we’re going to discuss what steps you need to take during the decision-making process – from holding yourself accountable and taking action to finally looking for work elsewhere.
How to navigate a career plateau
It’s always tempting to look elsewhere when your career is plateauing. After all, law, finance and consulting are incredibly competitive fields. So it’s easy to be swayed by reputable firms offering eye-watering salaries.
However, money isn’t everything – especially if you’re trying to advance your career and reputation. So, before you start ringing your recruiter, you need to assess whether leaving your current firm is the most effective way to further your career.
Here are four ways to unpack the age-old question, ‘should I look for a new job?’:
1. Hold yourself accountable
When experiencing a career plateau, it’s all too easy to blame our partners, employers and external circumstances. But, what many of us fail to do, is take accountability for our actions.
So, before you start looking for work elsewhere, ask yourself – how have I contributed to my career plateau? For example, have you stopped investing in your personal development? Have you turned down additional projects or responsibilities? Have you gotten too comfortable in your current role?
The accumulation of these small decisions can ultimately lead to a stagnant career. So, before you think about jumping ship, assess how your actions over the past several months have contributed to your current career plateau.
2. Take action
The only way to get out of a career plateau is to take action. However, that doesn’t mean you should immediately start searching for a new job. Instead, you want to begin by assessing what action you can take at your current firm. After all, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Firstly, you want to address the issue with your line manager or partners. Why? Because if you want your employer to support your career development, you must communicate your current unhappiness. Only then can they offer you tangible steps and practical solutions to your career plateau.
With that said, your managers and partners aren’t solely responsible for your career progression. So you need to start assessing what you can do to accelerate your career! After all, your words and actions make all the difference.
Before you start asking, “should I look for a new job?” ask yourself:
- Are you carving out regular time to work on your career or development plan? And are you keeping your partners updated about your progress?
- Are you looking for opportunities to generate new business or complete your current work more efficiently/profitably? And are you discussing these opportunities with your partners?
- Have you got yourself a mentor in your firm? How often do you see them, and how are you utilising their expertise to help progress your career?
- Are you accepting more management or leadership responsibilities?
Want to actively advance your career? Download our Career Action Plan Template (for free) to get started with progressing your career to partner.
3. Start acting like a prospective partner
It may sound airy-fairy, but your mindset plays a huge role in your career progression. So don’t overlook the importance of attitude. After all, no one wants to promote a Debbie Downer.
Instead, start thinking, acting and performing like a partner. You’ll find that the right attitude can attract a lot of promising opportunities (both in and outside of your firm). So try and break any hindering habits or negative thought patterns.
And remember, your attitude during discussions about your career progression can significantly impact the outcome of these conversations. So don’t let your frustration get the better of you – and do NOT offer your manager an ultimatum. It can be incredibly damaging to your professional relationships and career!
4. Seek employment elsewhere
If (despite all your efforts) you’re still struggling to gain support from your managers or partners, it may be time to revisit the question, “should I look for a new job?” After all, there’s no point working your fingers to the bone if you’re not going to gain the recognition you deserve. So here are some signs you should consider leaving your current position:
1. You dread going to work
Most people experience the Sunday evening blues after an enjoyable weekend. However, there is a significant difference between wanting an additional day off and physically dreading Monday morning. So if you constantly dread going to work, perhaps it’s time to listen to those feelings and start looking into other firms.
2. You have a poor working relationship with your line manager or partner
In an ideal world, the person you report to always wants what is best for you and your career. However, this isn’t always the case. So, if you have a rocky relationship with your current boss, perhaps it’s time to look for work elsewhere. After all, if you don’t get along, you probably won’t be their first recommendation for a partnership or promotion.
3. You’re unhappy in your role
Often, we convince ourselves that being unhappy isn’t a good enough reason to leave a firm. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your mood can significantly impact your engagement, performance and overall well-being. Therefore, if you’re unhappy with your current role, you must look into other opportunities. Otherwise, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.
4. The workplace culture no longer aligns with your needs
If your firm’s ways of working or values no longer suit your lifestyle, you should look for a different working environment. One where you feel like you belong. For example, if you are a parent and could benefit from flexible work arrangements, several firms can offer you that flexibility.
Don’t settle for a workplace culture that makes you feel undervalued and uncomfortable! Instead, find a firm that supports your growth and upholds your personal values.
The grass isn’t always greener
If you’re at the point where you’re asking yourself, “should I look for a new job?” then clearly, it’s time to make a change. With that said, moving firms may not be the best solution!
So, before you make any decisions, spend some time clarifying exactly what you want from your job and your firm moving forward. Communicate with your seniors, try and capitalise on your current position and if all else fails, then consider changing firms.
Whilst it can be tempting to cut and run (especially when competitive salaries are so persuasive), moving firms should be about aligning your values and improving your happiness – not attempting to resolve your career plateau. After all, if you don’t address the issue at your current company, who’s to say the problem won’t follow you to your new firm?
Need more help with moving your career forward?
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