Outage

Five internal signs that you need a new job

Job changes are traumatic and sometimes difficult to absorb. However, they can be just what the doctor ordered to bring some joy back to life. Scott Lowe discusses the five signs that you might need to consider a fresh start.

A lot of articles are written about signs that it's time to move to a new job, but most of them focus on external influences.  A couple of common sign, for example, are being shut out of meetings and not getting assigned to new projects.  These are supposed to be indicators that your presence at an organization may no longer be required.  However, what if the organization actually likes you?

Here are a few signs that you might want to consider taking your IT leadership skills to a new organization:

  • You can't face your staff anymore and hand down directives from on high. I've faced this one personally, and it was the straw that broke the camel's back and made me step up my search for a new job. Simply put, I was working for a relatively oppressive organization that, almost literally, felt that the only way to motivate employees was to continually tell them that they weren't doing enough and that more was required of them. Employees were evaluated by the entire senior management team and the hint of a negative interaction -- regardless of fault -- could doom the employee even if everything else was absolutely perfect. Didn't sing loudly enough at an event? You got called on the carpet. I wish I was kidding. My staff at this place was absolutely fantastic. They were hard-working, conscientious people and I couldn't keep telling them that they weren't doing enough. So, I stopped doing it and found a new job where the organizations treats people like adults.
  • New projects bore you. Getting a new project is supposed to be a time of excitement or, if your plate is full, a little trepidation as you work to figure out how to fit it all into the fray. If, instead, you look at a new project, particularly something that would have once been interesting, with boredom, you probably won't attack it with the amount of zest that it deserves. If you're bored in general, it's unlikely that you'll be at the top of your game regardless of what you're doing.
  • You don't quickly resolve a critical outage or situation. IT ebbs and flows... sometimes we can just move along and go on our way while other times, we have to be front and center and focus on the end user. One such time that we have to walk in the shoes of an end user is when we're notified of an outage. Sure, every outage needs to be triaged and prioritized so that you're not overreacting to minor issues and setting yourself up for burnout. However, if your answer to a reported outage is "It can wait until morning" when it really shouldn't wait until morning, think about why you're pushing the problem. Even if pushing the problem until the AM won't get you fired, what if it still affects dozens of users that are unable to get their work done as a result of your unwillingness to step up? This could be a sign of burnout or that your heart just isn't in it anymore. Obviously, there should be a reasonable line between work and life, too. If your employer is simply demanding that you work 24/7, it's understandable that you might loathe going in to handle an outage, but a situation like this should be looked at and analyzed too. Remember, the focus of this piece is internal and assumes that the organization itself is relatively reasonable.
  • Compensation has become your primary motivator. Yes, money is important and is more than a necessary part of an employment arrangement. However, if it's become the only reason you go to the office every day, it's time to reconsider your environment and figure out why. It could be burnout of boredom, but could also be as simple as not liking the job anymore.
  • You've been in the same job for 20 years. Personally, I'm of the mindset that staying too long in a leadership role at the same organization does a disservice for both the organization and for you, particularly if there's been no upward momentum or expansion of duties. New blood and new ideas are critical for an organization to maintain vitality. The same goes for personal growth. By experiencing different organizational cultures and challenges, the leadership experiential arsenal grows. Obviously, job hopping every six months isn't the best plan, either, so leaders need to decide when their prime time at the organization is coming to a close; it is possible to stay for too long in the same place. I've seen instances in my career where people at the top of the organization were there for simply too long and were actually damaging the organization by staying there; new ideas and possibilities were stifled and the singular mindset sort of left the organization decaying from within. Obviously, there are a lot of exceptions to the "too long" rule and it's a very personal call.

A job change is a very personal decision based on dozens of factors.  These are just a few signs that now might be the time to test the waters and see what's out there.

Do you have any signs to add?

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

32 comments
reisen55
reisen55

Whenever you hear management say something like "we are investigating dynamic alternatives that do not necessarily include outsourcing....." your job is already toast.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

I don't stay over one year in any company, except under rare and unusual circumstances. Life is too much fun to be stuck any where for long. Get the project done and leave. The people at Microsoft where aghast, I had to have about three meetings with managers before they "heard" me. "Yes, I am leaving so, any questions get them out now". Their reaction went from disbelief to anger. The situation was very humourous to me, to see these self styled "laid back" people transform into intolerant "true believers" right before my eyes. That in itself was worth leaving.

sagimaniac
sagimaniac

So if I 'score' 3.5 signs out of the 5, it's time to pack ? (0.5 because my boss stagnates me and treats me like a 'fireman'... I'm only useful when there's a fire). & now I've got an offer ... better pay ... larger company (international MNC compared to where I am now, a local MNC). But on the other hand, I am spending a lot of time pondering over "to go or not to go", so does it mean I also do not want to leave ?

wlportwashington
wlportwashington

When your opinion no longer matters and they do not seek your input. That is happeing to me at my current job.

stanleyratnadoss
stanleyratnadoss

Hey Guys, Went through your postings really felt it was worth the topic.About myself,I work for an organization and my problem is like I could not talk too loudly or be confident when i talk so that others can understand i think so based on the opinions of my seniors.Today i was shouted from my senior just because i didn't talk a little louder .He said to me "If talk like this(in a low tone) you can go out of this company.We can find another person .We don't need you" .even though i feel very bad about it,but i am confused was that comment to make me go out of the company or to improve my personality.Guys.PLease help ,I am totally disappointed .THis event happened just before our director and whenever he comes to our desk he notices me weirdly...Is this a sign that i should look for a new job or just give it quits..Please Help!!!

mark.silvia
mark.silvia

A couple of signs indicating that is time for a change: (1) More hours with no compensation. (2) No raises for several years even though CEO and cronies get raises and bonuses regardless of performance and standing. (3) No recognition for accomplishments or even a small share of the benefits of that accomplishment. (4) Lack of direction and goals from above. (5) Being treated disrespectfully and indignant. (6) Frequent financial shenanigans and other improprieties. (7) Frequent labor, safety add other code violations. (8) No advancement opportunities. (9) Corporate fascism (a) Dictating what you can and can't do on your own time such as work a second job. (b) Be given the 3rd degree on what you are doing on your own time. (c) Unnecessary blood tests for drugs and health issues. + Prying into you medical background. (d) Being forced to sign papers giving up even more of your rights.

gohfranc
gohfranc

If one wakes up the next morning feeling lazy and heavy to get to work, it is a clear sign that one has lost his passion and enthusiasm at work. And it is time to change job.

Triathlete1981
Triathlete1981

Other scenarios worth quiting over... My boss gives me a hard time when I leave at 5:30pm though my day is supposed to end at 5pm, wondering why I don't stay till 7pm every night like the losers at my job who have no life. Also he claims throughout the year that we must penny pinch to save money for bonuses at the end of the year. Well if you're going to dangle that carrot in front of my face, than you would have had to pull through in the past, which you haven't. When your boss lies so much that you can't discern the fact from the fiction, especially in important matters. When he belittles higher level managers by flat out yelling at them in front of the rest of the office. And senior management wonders why morale is so bad. Did they never realize a company's morale starts at the top and trickles its way down. When everything you do is an emergency because your boss hoards information like a squirrel hoarding nuts for winter. And every Friday, some new emergency comes up at 4pm that needs to be done by 5pm even though he knew about it for two months. When your boss's "humor" includes calling you and your colleagues names in front of everyone. When you just plain old feel dejected and dread going into work everyday, not the usual feeling of "dang, I have to go to work on Monday" but the actual feeling that you'd rather sit on a bed of nails than go to work. Otherwise, I have to agree that everything you mentioned in your post is very good. No longer do I feel excited about potential projects. And everyday on your way home after work you pretend you're cursing out your boss.

reisen55
reisen55

I had a job in 2006, eight months in hell, that was killing me. When I went to the train station every single day, I DREADED going to work. Totally so and that kind of stress will kill you. As it was, I am firmly convinced this IT job from hell brought about a nervous breakdown. Get out in good form before you collapse. Good lesson in life.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

Why bust a hump when you don't get paid for it? For the recognition of the management. I can and do ourperform those complacent, lazy clowns who hide behind the union as the only way they would keep their jobs. The management has their hands tied by the teamsters union and the workers know how to push the limit on the rules. Managements only recourse is to use company benefits to award the performers and recognize the real workers. This is done by the supervisors and managers as they aren't bound by the union. If it's just a job and comes with no recognition, then you need to look at where you are and where you want to go and spruce up that resume.

KSoniat
KSoniat

Whenever I have left a company I have been amazed at the number of people who tell me how "lucky" I am that I am leaving. I do not understand people who are not happy yet do nothing about it!! (right now is different, but even in good times people do nothing to help themselves.)

bernalillo
bernalillo

#6 - You haven't been able to update your skills outside of a class. #7 - You loose more than 4 hours of sleep a week to thinking about work.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

'You've got an ulcer that eases up while on vacation.' etu

RW17
RW17

Also, if you see that most subordinates are unhappy, and have stopped taking problems to their boss, and yet your company continues to "recognize" your boss... then it's also time to leave! Effectively, your boss is managing "up" and not leading! Colin Powell says that "The day your soldiers stop bringing their problems to the boss is the day the boss has failed to lead them. The subordinates have either lost confidence in the boss, or have lost belief that the boss cares." Either way, it's not an environment to commit your time to! You are TOO important as a resource for that environment! PS - my current Project Manager has recently proven to me that he is the epitome of this type of boss. I have indeed lost any desire to bring anything to his attention because such an action simply leads to me being told to not bring him the matters. And he does this for $200K+ per year!

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I've been given more responsibilities and even a promotion, but my salary hasn't increased. So if I'm not being paid to do the job, why do it?

mboyle
mboyle

An interview with Bob and Bob!

fidlrjiffy
fidlrjiffy

The universe of where my job is unfulfilling so I need a new job must also rain lollipops. Thoreau said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. He neglected to include have unfulfilling jobs. Every time I hear someone say they love their job as the black cloud forms above I reflect on the vast multitude who have to eat, pay mortgages, send their kids to school, to nothing of fill their gas tanks, and pay commuter fares. At the same time they endure idiotic bureaucracies, stone dumb management, terminally rude bosses, and a starvation diet of appreciation. So there's no doubt that these are sure signs that you need a new job. But if I'm not mistaken there's a problem. What can it be? Hmmm, let me think. Oh, right. THERE AREN'T ANY JOBS!!! So what's the real sign that you need a new job? Guess...

makkh
makkh

Sit calm & do the math: The reason you plan to leave is not because of "slight" better pay or well-known company profile, but to growth in tech skills & more important personal qualities as well.

svasani
svasani

Talking in a low tone is a genuine problem and something you might need to work on. However, I do not like the way your senior approached the problem. If he genuinely wished good for you, he could have said something like "Could you please speak a little louder?" and got into a more elaborate discussion in a one to one setting. That's pure rude.

Woggs
Woggs

You've got an ulcer that only gets WORSE while on vacation...

gohfranc
gohfranc

Take the promotion positively - you got a wider scope of responsibility that brings more opportunities to prove yourself. Show the results and justify the raise you deserve. If all fails, quit.

Barshalom
Barshalom

I've had jobs that weren't bad, but the pay was terrible and there wasn't any chance of moving upward. When this occurs, this is a sure sign of moving on, unless you are very happy and don't need more money.

RW17
RW17

then it's time to move on. Being a nasty boss should not be the central element to determining promotion. Leadership should be. The confusion over inter-relation of the two things is more widespread than the media coverage of a new viral "epidemic"! You do not need to be an ass to get ahead and to get people to work! In fact, any work produced in such an environment is far from the best work that can be had! If you see such things, and I see this as the central concern in the IT Consulting (Project Management-related) world for ERP implementations, then it's time to run... run away! Of course, I am having trouble following my own advice this very moment... and the economy is only allowing the asses to be bigger asses!

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I'd have to say that I love my job as in IT. It allows me to utilize my skills and the staff as well as management I work with is amazing. That being said, I worked 10 years in the customer service/hospitality field as a "front line" person who would deal directly with the public. Management at my former place of employment tended to be toxic in their interaction with the employees, looking for the slightest hint of negativity or a negative interaction from an employee that would otherwise be performing his or her job well. Needless to say, a lot of people got fired over stupid stuff like calling in sick or for forgetting to clock in/out for lunch, even though they would take one. Every day, I look back at the job I held for so long and realize how much better my job is now, even on slow days or when projects become tedious. It's all a matter of perspective. If you're employed, you're either going to realize "Hey, I've got a job and it pays the bills, which isn't so bad", or "I've got a great job and I love it."

Ou Jipi je
Ou Jipi je

there are plenty of jobs out there...only they all include idiotic bureaucracies, stone dumb management, terminally rude bosses, and a starvation diet of appreciation (degree may vary but they all do, without an exception). Get a life - you knew that ten years ago, you know that now, and you will know that same thing ten years from now. It is time to either stop whining and accept the reality of office life, or start-up for your self and build a company that will hopefully not create an environment which include idiotic bureaucracies, stone dumb management, terminally rude bosses, and a starvation diet of appreciation (believe me, many have tried). Second option is to eat less, live in smaller house, buy a fuel efficient car and enjoy life. It is imho much better than spending all that money on things that you can not enjoy, because you need to spend all your time on earning money so you can pay for those things........... Just my few cents...

Woggs
Woggs

of the pink slip? I can honestly say that I *DO* love my job. I have little respect for the decision making process of the people I work FOR (maybe "stone dumb management" is a little harsh, "criminally uninformed" would be closer the mark), but I really like the people I work WITH. My boss and I have pretty much everything in common, but just enough different that we can compare, contrast and discuss pretty much all else. And to let you know, I eat, pay my morgage, send my kids to school (and put money away for their college education), fill not only my gas tank but those of my family, and make sundry other luxury payments (electricity, cable, internet, etc.). Also not once have I had the ill luck to experience a lollipop downpour... but I'm sure if I did that I would pick enough up so that I could give my kids a treat when I got home from work. My secret? I have *WORKED* *MY* *[BLEEP]ing* *[BLEEP]* *OFF* to get where I am today! My "one step" strategy? *LEAVING* all of the unfullfilling and unrewarding jobs I had the misfortune of either being hired for or "promoted" into! The EXCUSE of "there aren't any jobs" is only for those who LOOK for a reason to stay in a job they hate just to give themselves something to COMPLAIN about. If you want to have and keep a GOOD job, you have to show that you don't want it for the paycheck. I got the job I have because I was willing to step in, roll up my sleeves and do the work... and do it WELL. I actually started working for the company in the WAREHOUSE packing product for shipping. I have NO FORMAL college education in the field I work in (just a couple of 25+ year ago high school classes). I showed my current boss that I was willing to LEARN to do my job, and was thorough and diligent enough to do it better than the deadbeat that was currently in the position. Now I am the company's Network Administrator, Hardware/Software Installer and Repair guru, as well as mainframe programmer and admin. I am the second in command of the department responsible for the operational data of a 50+ million dollar company. I know it's not much, but for me... I'm pretty proud of that.

Your Mom 2.0
Your Mom 2.0

Like you, I started in the warehouse at my current place of employment (receiving and then on to picking orders) and then moved into IT after the current computer guy left for greener pastures. Also like you, I have no formal tech training and have learned how to do my job basically through just doing the job and learning what needs to be learned as it is encountered. Like you, I've also worked hard to get to where I currently am, and I agree that it's the people that I work with that make the job great. Where we differ is that I believe luck had much more influence in the outcome that I would like to admit. I do work hard to stay relevant and keep my users happy and productive, but I don't believe that I would be here unless I had been in the right place at the right time. I believe that guys like us that don't have formal IT training or certs really don't have as many options as you'd like to believe. It has taken awhile to get to the pay level I'm currently at, and I doubt that I could start new somewhere else and be able to make the same pay. That in itself would be a barrier to just finding a new job if not happy with the current one. Sometimes it is necessary to tolerate things that make us unhappy and cannot change in order to provide for a family.

fidlrjiffy
fidlrjiffy

You have to admit that this got some attention. Most of the time I post reflective and thoughtful replies that are completely ignored. Couldn't have been better if the title had said Sex, Sex, Sex!!! And, yes, pink slip, and yes, of course there are jobs out there. I will say godspeed if you are one of that small percentage of people who enjoy what they do. I will also say that you seem to be making some assumptions that may be unwarranted; that I myself have not worked my ass off, that my interest is solely monetary, and perhaps several other less than charitable notions. I would sincerely doubt, however, that this is the time to be advocating greener pastures when the vast multitude of people are hanging onto their jobs by a bloody fingernail. Sure, the points made are all valid and certainly the world would be a far better place where one could contemplate a job well done and time well spent at the end of the day. And to show that I know of what I speak I had a job, work, that I loved some years back and it all went to hell through no fault of anyone working there. I fear that lightning doesn't strike twice which hasn't prevented me from trying. In my experience people end the day with a smile on their face not when they're handed their pay but when they're handed a Thank You. There would be a lot less need to be moving on if there was a lot more of simple courtesy and appreciation.

jboelter
jboelter

Well put Woggs...very impressive and for sure something to be proud about. So many unhappy people unwilling/afraid/incapable to make change when needed. Life's too short to not like what you do where you do it...

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