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When Is The Right Time To Make A Career Move?

Published: Thursday 25th June 2015

Sign with 'dream job' written on it

Everything has a life cycle and that includes your job – something you need to recognise if you want to move up the career ladder in the most efficient way possible.

In the past, people stayed in the same job, with the same company for much longer than they do today. Nowadays, some recruitment experts believe that you can stay too long in the same role, and by doing so, jeopardise your next career move. Which is why it’s important to keep an eye on where you are in your current job life cycle and what to look out for that will tell you when it’s time to move on.

The Life Cycle Of A Job

There are several basic phases in any job life cycle:

* First days – Your first couple of weeks in a new role will see you full of optimism and enthusiasm, eager to learn the ins and outs of your position and meet new work colleagues.

* Three months in – Once the first quarter is out of the way, you’ll probably notice that there are a few things that you don’t like about your new role. No job is perfect and you’ve got to take the good with the bad, whether it’s a particular task you don’t enjoy or a work colleague that you don’t get along with.

* One Year Complete – You’ve learned pretty much everything you need to know about your current role. If you’ve proved your abilities and shown you’re capable, you may be taking on some new responsibilities. If not, you may feel a tad restless. Don’t go writing that resignation letter just yet though.

* Year two – By now you should be confident to handle any aspect of your role and if you don’t see any prospects for career progression, you will certainly be getting itchy feet. You may even find yourself scanning recruitment sites and job adverts.

* Year three – You’ve definitely hit peak performance by now. This phase can last for several years, but all the evidence points to the fact that within five years, you’ll be anxious to make your next move up the career ladder. And if there are no opportunities where you currently are, that can mean becoming a jobseeker and looking elsewhere. From this point your motivation will decrease and you may have doubts about the firm’s strategy or even disagree with your bosses.

* Time to move on – You are now demotivated and find it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Little issues stress you more than they should and others may notice that you’re dissatisfied. If you don’t see any opportunities for career progression, it’s definitely time to look elsewhere.

Signs That It’s Time To Become A Jobseeker Again

Most people will decide to leave in one of the final two phases. Staying any longer will almost certainly have a negative effect on your work, as well as your future career prospects. If you want to be remembered as a top performer, it’s best to go before this happens. But how do you actually identify when that is? Here’s what to look out for:

Coasting – Easy to recognise: you’ve stopped pushing yourself because you have nothing left to learn in your current role.

The bigger picture – Because you’re so accustomed to your day-to-day role and duties, you no longer see organisational vision. This may be because you no longer agree with how the company is pursuing corporate goals, or you’re simply past caring.

Becoming dated – When you lose interest in your job, you’re less likely to keep your skills up-to-date. If you feel others are snapping at your heels, then you might be becoming ‘out-of-date’. That’s bad news for anyone’s career.

Feeling unwell – If you’re taking more sick days than usual, or are simply feeling stressed and unwell, it could be because you’re unhappy. While work is important, your health is more important. That’s why it’s critical to get the work-life balance. This is a definite sign that it’s time to get out there as a jobseeker and start the search for your next career move.

Just don’t rush things. Don’t write that resignation letter until you’ve done your homework, checked out some job adverts and seen what’s available. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Get expert advice and professional help. Make sure that your next move is the right move.

For more job-hunting tips, visit our Zoek blog or follow us on Twitter @Zoekappuk. If you are looking for a new job, download the Zoek app that lets your new job find you. The app can be downloaded on iOS or Android.

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