5 Signs You Should Be Looking for Another Job
Everyone experiences the occasional slump at work. But how do you know when the slump isn’t temporary and you’ve outgrown the job?
For creatives particularly, mood and attitude is a huge indicator. Passion is a big part of why creatives get into their fields in the first place, so when that begins to drop off it could be time to make a lateral career move or start looking for a similar role with a different company.
If you know what signs to look for you can avoid making rash decisions or job-hopping without getting the most out of each role. Read on to learn some major factors of job dissatisfaction, how you can change them, and when the best solution is probably a job change.
How Important is Passion for Creative Work?
There’s that old saying that you’ll never work a day in your life if you do something you love. While it is true that having a passion for your job will make it much easier and produce better work, many people mistake the meaning of this saying and try to find a job that perfectly matches a personal interest.
Creative jobs are a great way to combine passion and business goals, which inevitably have to be accounted for if you want to make any kind of salary. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some aspects that are sacrificed.
For instance, even if you love graphic design, you won’t be able to do whatever you like if you work as a graphic designer. There are sales and marketing goals to consider and branding history that must persevere in each project.
All this is to say that passion is important for job satisfaction and it makes daily tasks feel easier. But try to direct your passion toward the results of your work so that you’re invested in the job you do and not only the creative aspect.
When To Get a New Job Based On External Factors
Passion and a positive attitude towards your work are important, but many other external factors can have a negative impact.
Wind changes in the industry or within the company have an outsized impact. This is more likely to be true for creatives with a specific concentration that is becoming outdated because of technological advances or new product design. The company itself may decide to go in a different direction or branch out into new areas.
Normally, when these changes are being made within the company, the employees will get some notice and a move to a new job is a foregone conclusion. Maintaining a broad base of skills and upskilling regularly is the best way to make sure you’ll stay employed even if you have to make a lateral move.
In addition to the market and decisions by the top brass within a business, there can also be atmospheric issues with coworkers, clients, or management.
Workplace Culture for Creatives
More than just the interior design of the office space itself, the way coworkers communicate and interact with higher-ups also form the culture of a workplace. This is just as true for remote teams as it is in traditional brick-and-mortar offices.
Conflict resolution, teamwork, rewards, and opportunity all play a role in forming a culture. They impact how current and former employees feel about working for a particular company. Management that provides additional resources and training for its employees displays a vested interest in helping talent improve their skillset.
Similarly, companies who command changes through faceless directives or email blasts are showing that they don’t value diverse contributions from the employees. Avenues for communication and facilitation for coworking and teamwork have a positive effect while the office culture suffers when employees feel distant from one another and have little recourse for complaints or improvements.
The culture of the workplace isn’t taken into account by all management teams, but it has a huge impact on employee happiness. If you’re losing interest in your job or feel as though you’ve hit a wall, the workplace culture could be part of the reason why.
On the other hand, an open and friendly workplace culture can keep talent on the job even if there are shortfalls in other areas. It can even outweigh less-than-ideal salary and benefits depending on the circumstances.
5 Signs You Should Be Looking for Another Job
Sometimes it’s hard to know when to get a new job. Coworkers, culture, or the social impact of the company may all be great, but other factors could make a job switch inevitable. Here are some of the five most important signs that switching careers is a good idea.
1- Long-Term Stress
Keeping up with a heavy workload or demanding clients and stakeholders gets to everyone sometimes. But if you’re constantly under sustained stress that may fluctuate but never reduces to a manageable level, that’s a sign that the work is either too much or you’ve lost the passion that enabled you to do the job in the first place.
This stress could be caused by bad management or a lack of financial resources. If the company is underperforming, the hiring budget might shrink, and greatly needed additional employees aren’t taken on. That means the ones who are working could see their duties double or triple.
Management who are focused only on the bottom line makes poor facilitators. In many cases, they don’t even know how stressed employees are until people start jumping ship in high numbers.
Stress negatively impacts health and prevents creatives from producing their best work. When you can’t do your best work, stress increases and a feedback loop begins to build until you’re overwhelmed.
Periodic stress that vanishes once a project is turned in could be an organizational problem for the employee or management. Maintaining a regular workflow rather than getting behind and catching up constantly is a good way to avoid this.
Check on your stress levels every so often. If you start to have panic attacks every Sunday night with the new workweek looming, that’s a clear sign you’re overwhelmed. Rooting out the cause is essential, but it could be repairable without changing careers.
2- Growing Indifference
Perhaps you care about some parts of your job more than others. But when a big change comes around, do you have the energy to engage enthusiastically or contest new methods you disagree with? If you can’t be bothered, that’s a good sign you’re losing interest in the entire job.
Coworkers are another area where this trend is highly visible. Water cooler chats aren’t always idle exchanges of information. They also demonstrate at least a minimal interest in the people around you.
You don’t have to hang out with your coworkers every weekend, but a general interest in who they are and what their role is can be helpful from a professional standpoint. It’s a more personable way to understand the hierarchy of the business and how things get done, which will help you perform your job more effectively.
If teamwork is a big deal at your office, try to find a way to measure your contributions. Make sure you aren’t indifferent to your participation or the work of others. Believe it or not, some people are so indifferent to their coworkers that they’d rather do more work than deal with others.
Indifference is the opposite of empathy, which makes it a uniquely harmful attribute for creatives. If they aren’t able to sympathize with the users and their wants and needs, then there’s no way they’ll create a great experience for the user in the final product.
If you are feeling so-so about everything, consider whether it’s for the particular job you have or for the field you’re in altogether. Switching careers might be better than jumping into a similar role somewhere else.
3- Reaching the Limit
Is there an open road of promotion and advancement available at the company? If not, then it’s easy to feel that you’re already as high as you can get. For some people who are content with their job and making enough money, that’s fine.
Others feel they’ve struck the ceiling and can’t break through. Perhaps higher-ups have been dangling that next promotion for a bit too long and it no longer seems realistic. Maybe there is simply no higher position in the hierarchy.
Either way, the feeling that you’ve reached your peak can be stifling for creative work, which will likely start to feel rote and repetitive. Sometimes the company isn’t large enough or growing quickly enough to merit creating new positions for existing employees, but other times you could be in a great position to define a new role for yourself.
You could also reach the limit in your creative field. While new software and other tools are always developing, sometimes true innovation is harder to come by. Some creatives make a lateral move to product design or broader UX/UI positions to use their skills in a new way.
Upskilling and reskilling are great solutions to this problem. Approach your company to see if there is any way to bring in a new set of skills and see if they’ll set aside time and resources for you to learn. Remember to make sure that this makes sense from a business perspective.
4- Work-Life Imbalance
The huge upsurge in remote work has begun to blur the line between on-the-clock and free time. Teams are spread across time zones or employees are expected to be available more frequently because they live in the same place where they work.
Even if remote work doesn’t have anything to do with it, when work is interfering with your normal life, preventing you from pursuing personal interests or spending time with friends and family, then it becomes unsustainable. Work may be a necessary reality of modern life but it shouldn’t take over everything else.
If you’re working remotely, set clear working hours and use away messages to let people know when you are available to respond to messages. For freelancers, part-time workers, and contractors, the hours are a bit more variable, but being clear about when you’re available is still possible if communication is clear and open from the start.
Switching careers to solve this problem may not work if you move companies and repeat the same mistakes. If management isn’t receptive to clear work-life division, then a job search might be the best solution.
Creative jobs are extra-susceptible to long hours, unpaid work, and overtime because the people who work in these fields are often more passionate and want to get things just right. Overwork and burnout are common throughout creative careers, especially for people who don’t rest now and then.
5- Low ROI
Management talks about a return on investment all the time, but many employees fail to look at their investments to see whether they paid off. Think of the time spent learning the trade, getting hired, and delivering on stakeholders’ goals. The return is not just the salary – do you feel a sense of accomplishment when the work is finished?
Pride in one’s work is vital to job satisfaction. Teams and individual creatives should be proud to see the impact of the products they build. If it’s difficult to see the result of the projects you work on, that’s another issue.
Speaking of satisfaction in terms of investments might feel a little cold or calculated to some creatives. Acknowledging that you put effort into your skills and they thus have value is important for making sure you’re getting compensated correctly and getting the job satisfaction you’ve earned.
If you can’t figure out when to get a new job because switching careers doesn’t appeal, you might be getting a high ROI on everything but salary. In this case, management is often happy to build a raise plan if the money is there and the return on their investment is equally clear.
The most difficult position is to have a decent salary but still lack that feeling of purpose and pride in your work. Often, creatives switch to freelance or make a lateral career change after years in a role once they’ve saved up enough money to work for a slightly lower salary where they can get a better sense of accomplishment.
When to Start Your Job Search
All 5 of these signs might not be present or apparent at a job. Just one of them could be dire enough to merit switching careers. A perfect storm or combination of two or more often makes a job unworkable. If management can’t or won’t do anything to help, then it might be time to hit the job search websites or submit an application to a creative staffing agency like icreatives.
It might be difficult to understand when to get a new job, but the best advice is to keep your resume updated and make sure your LinkedIn and other social networking sites are stellar. For creatives, new case studies and other work samples for the portfolio are also invaluable, especially as they show professional evolution.
Creative jobs are a bit more fluid than others. Businesses are usually more open to restructuring or building new roles for creatives as long as their value to the company can be demonstrated.
Finding New Creative Jobs With a Staffing Agency
Whether you found your current job with a staffing agency like icreatives or not, applying is still the fastest way to find a job with a top-tier company. It will save you time spent surfing job boards and cut down on application paperwork.
icreatives has a wealth of experience and a great pool of clients that are always looking for the best creative talent. If you find that one or more of the five signs are present in your professional lift, reach out to us and see if we can help change the trajectory of your creative career.
Knowing when to get a new job is challenging. Bad days at the office can’t be avoided sometimes, but understanding when it’s a one-off and when it’s cyclical or recurring is the best way to see the need for a career change.
No matter how the particulars of your position manifest the problems mentioned in this guide, spotting them early is the best way to fix them or prepare for a job search promptly. If the search itself is giving you trouble, you can always reach out to icreatives for help.