Post Date: April 5th, 2016

What to do when you outgrow your job

CityThe idea of looking for a new job can be overwhelming. I mean, there isn’t anything wrong with the old job. Then it hits you… now that you think about it, there are a few things that have been bothering you. Sure, you were thrilled to receive the post-interview callback when you got this gig, but a couple of years later and things don’t feel the same as that day. You’ve kind of “lost that lovin’ feelin’.”

You’re not alone.

Gary (not his real name) contacted me recently because he was feeling stuck and unable to get started on his job search. He was satisfied with the day-to-day tasks at his job but Gary knew something no longer felt right at work and he wanted to examine whether or not there was a real problem. He lacked the motivation to look for other opportunities because he was feeling comfortable in his current role and there was no rush to go out and find anything new.

We examined what might be causing the problem using a 5-minute values exercise. When he was finished, he received a report and a few days later, we met to discuss the findings.

During our 45-minute meeting, we discussed his homework and as we did, Gary began to recognize the problem. The corporate culture at his company had changed so much in the last few years that his personal values no longer aligned with those of the company. He concluded that what mattered most to him was no longer available within his current role. He wanted to find an opportunity that aligned better with his goals for the future.

Together we explored the reasons motivating him to look for other opportunities. We looked at his top two values ‘independence’ and ‘working on the frontiers of knowledge’. When he began with his current company, these values were easily met. As time went on however, he began to experience less independence and found less opportunity to participate on the frontiers of knowledge within his industry.

Based on this new knowledge Gary had three possible actions to take:

  • Do nothing and hope for the problem to right itself
  • Approach his current employer with suggestions on how to achieve better alignment in his current role (including a business case with a ‘this is what’s in it for you’ approach)
  • Explore new opportunities (which includes researching the local labour market in his industry, conducting due diligence on potential employers, asking who he needs to know at each company, networking, and all the other important elements of an effective job search)

Like many of us, Gary was comfortable in his work; he knew that his comfort made him complacent even though he sensed there was a problem. The difference is Gary took the time and effort to identify and acknowledge what was missing and how to achieve the change he needed. He decided to create a better course of action to find a great position.

It may sound complex, but in less than one hour, Gary had:

  • Identified what is missing from his current role
  • Designed a course of action to pursue
  • Reignited his motivation and drive to achieve what he wants
  • Created talking points for his next meeting with his direct supervisor
  • Clarified what is next for him

If you are feeling stuck in your career, take an objective look at what is most important to you and decide whether you are getting enough of it from your current position. With that clarity, get out of your comfort zone and go for what matters most.

“I think when you feel stuck or dissatisfied in your life it’s a signal… that one of your most basic needs is not being met.”-  Mel Robbins, TEDxSF

To get yourself motivated, check out Mel Robbin’s TEDxSF talk “How to stop screwing yourself over” (21 minute video)

Related Categories: Career Development, Value Proposition