Top 10 Signs Compelling Savvy Professionals to Start the Job Hunt
Who wants to launch into a job search? No one—it’s not fun! And yet, this can sometimes be the better alternative, especially for savvy professionals with the most career options. From my own pool of clients, 80% have graduate degrees in their areas of expertise from top institutions, while 60% have worked in the most competitive industries: financial services in NYC, technology in San Fran, and marketing in Chicago. Let’s look at the top 10 signs behind their job searches to determine if you should start looking soon.
1. When new leadership rearranges teams
• Are you bumping heads with new leadership?
• Are things no longer done the way they have been done?
• Are your internal champions being displaced by external hires?
New leaders hired externally often bring in their trusted former business partners. A consequence is that the incumbent business leaders are treated like second-class citizens or are asked to leave.
Take a proactive job-hunt approach if you are uncertain about the company or its leadership, even if that brings uncertainty.
2. When your boss admits everyone is replaceable
• Does your manager behave dismissively when people quit or are displaced?
• Are your peers recognized for less-substantial contributions while you are not?
• Have your responsibilities been slowly outsourced?
Most bosses won’t tell their employees that they are replaceable. However, some do, and the best alternative is to leave the team or the firm. You could be in the middle of being managed out if this resonates with how you feel.
Some leaders behave covertly, meaning you’ll have to be more receptive to the subtle cues.
3. When you are not invited to key meetings
• Do you feel like you are behaving reactively to unilateral decisions?
• Are you taking direction from your replacement, who now attends critical meetings?
• Do you feel powerless over the direction of your business unit?
Key gatherings include business-planning meetings, forecasting meetings, and update meetings following reorganizations. Investigate why you are not invited to these meetings, especially if you are responsible for their outcomes.
Evaluate your influence before other meeting invites get lost in the “mail.”
4. When you are transferred without consent or conversation
• Do you feel like you were ripped away from a career-building opportunity?
• Is your new business unit winding down or shutting down?
• Are your core skills no longer used?
Many companies reorganize talent. Your role may not be available if you’ve been on extended leave. It’s not a personal attack, just how leaders manage headcount.
However, rethink your future if you feel like you were demoted.
5. When promises are not kept
• Have you been promised a global assignment yet seen zero progress?
• Have you been in a role for longer than it takes to earn a promotion while exceeding expectations?
• Have your responsibilities expanded, yet your checks have not?
The economy has led companies to break commitments. Promotions/raises are harder to achieve. Professional-development programs have been cut. Work abroad has been pulled back.
Consider why you are still there if you feel like you were sold a false bag of goods.
6. When your values no longer align with your company
• Are you hiding your personality/lifestyle?
• Do you feel inauthentic?
• Are you unwilling to use your own products/services?
Excelling while promoting a product you do not love/believe in takes twice the effort—it’s hard to feel good about working at Jimmy Dean if you are vegan. You’ll feel inauthentic.
As a smart professional, you can rationalize your daily choices, but the alternative is finding a better fit where you’ll no longer have to work hard at feeling better about your job.
7. When the smartest people are leaving
• Are you the smartest person in the room?
• Have folks you respect left the organization?
• Are poor business decisions being made?
Rational business-decision makers make logical, career-related decisions. These career choices bring personal consequences, so in those cases they tend to be extra cautious. A smart person will put themselves through changes if they perceive no better alternative for themselves and their families.
Learn from these decision makers and seek something better.
8. When the dumbest people are rising
• Are less-qualified peers landing plum jobs?
• Are lower-performing colleagues moving internally?
• Are former coworkers getting jobs in strong brand-name companies?
This can be the booster to start your search. Track former colleagues to see where they landed and how long their searches took. Fire up your network if you do not perceive them as particularly skilled, connected, or charismatic.
9. When you feel you’ve returned to high school
• Has no one like yourself been made a leader?
• Do performance evaluations not matter when earmarking bonuses?
• Is it hard to change minds? Are higher-ups sticking with their own beliefs?
When meritocracy no longer matters and promotions are handed out based on popularity, become popular or get out. It’s difficult to go against the grain—you’ll have to acclimate to the majority to prove you are a team player.
If you never intend to change, start looking now.
10. When you pick daily fights at home
• Are you taking longer to unwind at night (more than two hours)?
• Do you take work home, sacrificing family time?
• Are you short-tempered more often, though it’s not your typical personality?
Office unhappiness makes its way home—not one bad day, but six bad months. You may feel a lack of control, which is enough to send otherwise even-tempered individuals into a tizzy.
Investigate to see if it’s an unfixable situation. Your family deserves the best of you.
Some signs are subtle; others are glaring. Consider better alternatives in both cases while still employed, as it’s easier to find a job when you are working. Transitioning is not too time consuming—all you need is a system and an accountability partner until you land an offer. I will meet you at whatever stage you are, whether it’s figuring out what to do next, right before a big interview, or during your negotiations stage. That’s when you need an expert who can help you see your blind spots and work around them.
Your clock is ticking if any of these signs resonated. Email Melissa@melissallarena.com to set up a consultation. I can help you avoid the job-hunt challenges prolonging progress.
When did you know it was time to leave? Post your comments below.