How to Know When it's Time to Move On from your Current Company
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I always have ideas to write about in my draft folder and then I try to schedule things about a month at a time. To be honest, when I saw this post was for this week, I was really tempted to move it. It hits a little close to home and is somewhat hard to write about. Change isn’t fun or easy. It’s hard to move on when you have become involved with a company for so long. Physical acts of working and going into the office weigh on you, but also have an emotional weight too. Now, millennials have kind of changed the game of “loyalty” compared to the last couple of generations who would stay at the same company for years and even a lifetime. I am a very loyal person, so even looking for jobs while still employed felt like “cheating” on them, but the hard truth that I have learned is that you as an employee are expendable. Don’t get me wrong. I still work and put forth effort like that is not true; however, I learned the hard way that you are just a body doing work and if the shoe was on the other foot and the company had to make a hard decision, they would. Their bottom line matters more than you. Don’t be afraid to explore what else is out there and especially don’t feel bad that you’re doing it.
American Eagle Slip Dress | Madewell Cardigan (old, similar here and here) | Kendra Scott Earrings (c/o) | | Senreve Coda Belt Bag with Chain (cheaper chain here, use code ELLEMULENOS for $50 off your Senreve purchase of $300 or more.) | BKR Spiked Naked Water Bottle (c/o)
Did I just compare work to an actual relationship?! I meannnn it is a huge chunk of time, often more time expended than with your actual family and friends! Also, you put forth effort toward a job that may or may not work out, just like a relationship! It’s not thaaaaat different, except in one relationship you’re getting paid and the other you’re not. or maybe you are in both. HAH!
SO, how do you know when it’s time to move on from your current company? To cut to the chase and speak from personal experience, you’ll never 100% really know when it is time to leave. Not helpful? Sorry, but it is true! More often than not, even if you know it is a good idea, it feels scary and hard… like you’re not ready! I knew it was time when I realized that the company didn’t actually value me. Sure they said things, but actions were never carried out. ‘Falling out of love” with your company isn’t usually an immediate thing to happen, though sometimes events occur that raise an immediate red flag, but it’s typically a slow burn. For me it started with an annual review that didn’t go as well as I though it would and then absolutely zero follow up. Guess what? Even though they grossly underpaid me and couldn’t find a way to make me feel valued after being there for 5+ years, I still cried when I left. I liked my job and my boss, it was just time for me to go. I had hit the glass ceiling and already stayed an extra year clinging to empty and unfulfilled promises.
When i received this topic request, it was worded as “when is it time to move onto the next opportunity vs being loyal”. I addressed this a little above, but I think it is hard because looking to leave at all feels disloyal, which just isn’t the case! Another similarly worded question asked to know “when is fleeting stress worth working through and how to know if it is a toxic workplace”, which again I unfortunately know all too well. Here are some tips to start thinking about both questions and what is best for YOU, because you know at the end of the day the company is going to do what is best for them, given the chance.
TAKE NOTES. Write it down and keep them. Using your computer is okay if you want to, just make sure they are on your personal email address or something, so you can access them if you are suddenly let go. Taking notes not only helps you keep track of all the things you do for the company (accolades, thank you’s, etc), but also keeps track of any issues. You can use the good notes to point to reasons why you deserve a raise, to use in interviews, and so on. You can also analyze these things to see patterns in the workplace to see if it is truly toxic or if there are empty promises. Be as specific as possible and include dates when you can.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. If you think you should have received a raise, talk to your boss. Sulking and complaining alone isn’t going to help. If your boss can’t help you, talk to someone above them. I would let them know you are planning to speak to them so they aren’t blindsided. One of my old co-workers did this and was able to negotiate a raise for herself, as it was out of her manager’s hands. Of course take note of all these conversations so you can track progress and so on. You only get in life what you have the courage to ask for!
ASK QUESTIONS. Continue learning! Not only how to make your role better, but how it can make other people’s roles easier. The more people you can positively touch, the better! This makes you known and invaluable. Or you can at least have people tell you how valuable your role was to them and the difference you made in their jobs when you are leaving. Hah! Be sure to also ask specific questions when you are trying to make your voice heard. Don’t ask why you didn’t get a raise - ask for actionable steps to get one next time.
DO THINGS OUTSIDE OF YOUR SPECIFIC ROLE. Again, the more departments you touch both horizontally and vertically, the better. This will keep you top of mind to people, especially those with actual power. Whether it is asking them questions or just grabbing lunch or coffee with them when you can, it is a good idea. Besides getting to know more people, you can also find out how you can help them. The biggest feedback I’ve heard from both my experience and others is that companies want to see you do work outside your role. The problem often is that those opportunities are not always apparent and are usually given to people within the current field. You for sure have to be your own advocate.
It’s easier to look for a job when you still have one (I was annoyed with my job for a year before I received an offer I thought was worthy of me taking. Heck, I still haven’t found a job in LA and I have been here 6 months this month. It can be a long process!)
Actions speak louder than words (At some point a company needs to follow through for you or you need to go your own way. Repeatedly not doing what they say they will do is an issue.)
If you’re doing most of the above, you should literally be able to analyze your situation and think without bias towards yourself if you should stay or go. Andddd if you’re not doing any of the above and like your job, boss, company at all, I think it is worth it to stay around and see if things can actually change in your favor!
Complaining about things, especially when you have realized that they are a pattern for your company, is basically shame on you. You are in charge of your destiny, so if you’re going to sit around and sulk, while not trying to better yourself there OR beginning to look elsewhere, you’re just sitting in your own stench. Do something about it!! Maybe kind of harsh, but true! Be your own advocate.
To give a personal anecdote, when I decided to leave my longest tenured position it all boiled down to my annual review. I had just completed a killer year and was dumbfounded to leave my review without a promotion or even a raise. I was so blind-sided that I scheduled a follow up to compose myself and ask the tough questions. They literally had nothing bad to say about my work, nor did they have any areas of improvement for me. The admitted yes it was my best year yet, but their hands were tied regarding compensation. They said I would eventually get a raise, not like tomorrow, but probably within the next few months. In the meantime, they thought I could use more company-wide exposure and assigned me a project to do so. Soon after that, the project was taken from me to “protect my time”, which I was extremely upset about, because I felt like it was my only shot at proving myself further. It was pretty much all down hill from there. My semi annual review came and went and I was gone a week prior to my next annual review being delivered. Now there were more issues than that which had already built up, but those are just high level stats, to share a little bit of my story and encourage you to leave it is time! Like I said… I still cried when it was my last day. Anddd my next job ended up being a bad one (read about it here - even a couple weeks in I was like oh shoot did I make a mistake), but ultimately it is what got me to where I am today, so I’m thankful for it!
Another hot tip - try to always maintain relationships, especially when leaving. You never know how a bridge burned may come back to haunt you or how much a former connection may help you!
To end on a lighter note, I also wanted to talk about my dress! I love a good leopard dress and you can definitely make this work-appropriate with a light jacket or a cardigan like me. You can for sure wear this year round, but as we head into spring, trying pairing it with camel / light brown instead of black. White works well too, but sometimes it makes it look more casual, so I’d save that for the weekend.
P.S. If you liked this post, you’ll probably enjoy these:
How to Leave your Job Gracefully
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