Uh-oh. Your company's in the news — again. They've had three new CEOs in the past six years and here comes another one. There have been four downsizings, but none of them affected you. Maybe it's time to jump ship. The average American has been in his or her job for only four years. Fifty percent of those who attend the Five O'Clock Club are employed and are looking for greener pastures. Many leave their jobs voluntarily because they paid attention to the signs that it was time to move on. Here are five key hints that you should update your resume and begin mounting a job-search campaign.
1. The company's in turmoil and has been for quite a while. If your company is in the news for a period of time, it's likely there are problems that can't be resolved. The longer you stay on a sinking ship, the harder it is to get onto solid land. Prospective employers will look unfavorably at anyone who wasn't smart enough to get out when the getting was good.
2. You feel like an organ transplant reject. You don't fit in. Your values don't match. The people you work with are uncouth, dishonest, focused on getting ahead regardless of legal or moral barriers. They win by cheating. You are refined, ethical and would never knowingly break the law or hurt another's livelihood. You will eventually be kicked or pushed out, so stop being a punching bag and leave on your own.
3. There's no room for growth. You've been doing exactly the same thing for three years, and there are no job possibilities for someone like you. Your boss has been there forever and is going nowhere, there's no movement in the organization, and it's the same old drag day after day. You can't even make a lateral move in this organization. It's time to spread your wings.
4. You are mistreated. All the good assignments go to others. You are excluded from meetings your peers are invited to. They're all serious drinking buddies. You don't feel that your ideas are valued or that your contributions are central to the company. Everyone on your level has an office; you have a cubicle in the hallway. You're the doormat — always get called upon to do the "grunt work." Time to get a job where you are valued.
5. You dread going to work and feel like you are developing an ulcer. The very idea of going to work makes you anxious or physically sick. You can't sleep on Sunday nights and you've used up all your sick days. You have a hard time concentrating and count the hours from the time you arrive at the office until the second you leave.
When should you leave? Don't wait until you're so battered that you can barely think straight. Consider lateral moves into faster-growing companies. Big companies add credentials to your résumé; smaller companies add responsibility and experience. Go for it!
Kate Wendleton is the president of The Five O'Clock Club, a national career coaching and outplacement organization. • www.fiveoclockclub.com