DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
IS IT TIME TO CHANGE YOUR JOB?
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2001, 2003
Changing jobs can be difficult. It can be even harder to know exactly when to do so. But, we are living in a time when it’s no longer necessary to settle into a job for life and count the years until you can collect your gold watch and retire.
Yes, we were told that it’s smart to get a job that you can stay in forever because you need the financial security. When you were younger, at least one relative told you that the best jobs were at the Post Office, in the military, or the school system and those in the family who had these jobs were held in high esteem and were the subject of great envy when they “did their 20 years” and could spend the rest of their lives doing what they pleased, content that their retirement income was guaranteed for life.
But, times have changed. Though you were fortunate to have opportunities that your relatives perhaps could only dream of, you’ve discovered that your advanced college degrees no longer guarantee that you’ll continue to advance and prosper within your corporation ¾ or that you’ll even have a job at all after a few years. The era of downsizing, rightsizing, and other euphemisms for being laid off means that few jobs are secure anymore. As employees were forced to move from corporation to corporation, the psychological need to maintain company loyalty declined. Who’s going to feel loyal to a company that “kicks you to the curb” after you’ve given your blood, sweat and tears to it for years. How loyal are you going to feel towards your next employer? Not very.
This unstable business climate, then, has granted you “permission” to change jobs many times throughout the course of your life without undue worry about appearing “flaky” or “at-risk” as an employee. Many people move on after 3 or 4 years in search of greater opportunity ¾ both in terms of greater job stimulation, challenge, and prestige, as well as income.
So, where are you in your career?
The key question to ask yourself is whether you are content with your daily work routine and feel adequately compensated for what you’re asked to do. Now, this is different from feeling ideally compensated for what you’re asked to do. Few jobs maintain that ideal quality for long, either in terms of job activities or remuneration. That’s just the way it is. Like finally getting your MBA, your first new car, your condo on the beach ¾ the luster fades after a while and you realize that success is not the tangibles and materialisms you can get, but the process, the attitudes and behaviors you exhibit that enable you to get them. So, don’t look for the job to produce permanent exhilaration and satisfaction, but it should feel worthwhile.
Instead, take stock of where you are in your life and what you had hoped to accomplish by now. What’s your purpose in life, the reason you exist? What’s the legacy you hope to leave behind? How is what you’re doing moving you closer to that goal? If it isn’t, then it’s probably time for you to start thinking about making a change.
If you know you need to move on but can’t seem to get it together, try to identify what’s holding you back. Very likely, the answer is fear. Fear of losing status and the identity you’ve built up in your current job, fear of not making the same money and having the same perks you have now, or fear of not being able to do the new job and risking the possibility of defeat and humiliation.
Many times, the answer is even simpler. You’re just comfortable where you are and don’t want to have to work as hard as you know you’ll have to in order to prove yourself on a new job. But, when you start getting depressed as the weekend comes to a close and start feeling that “Sunday night dread” because you have to go into your office the next day, that’s your cue that it’s probably time to move on.
One way to bolster yourself for a job change is to view it as an opportunity to improve, not diminish, your life. Make the search for headhunters an interesting quest for your best career representative instead of a chore, and view those required on-line searches as an exploration into unknown territory about companies that exist in the country rather than anxiety-provoking competition with all your colleagues who are also looking for jobs. Most importantly, try to view the experience as an opportunity to get closer to leaving your mark on this life, doing what you feel will make a difference and will stand the test of time when reviewed by others many years from now, rather than doing tasks you detest each day simply because you are well-paid.
Changing jobs can improve your life. More importantly, changing jobs can improve you.
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
Reprint Policy: You are welcome to reprint this article for your personal use and to share with friends and associates.
Contact Dr. Webster to obtain permission for any commercial purposes.