Staying in the same job can be very comfortable – you know everyone, you know how everything works, you don’t have many challenges to deal with – but do you ever get the feeling that something is missing? You could be letting opportunities pass you by and damaging your long term career prospects in the process. It’s important to take control of your career progression.
There’s no simple rule that tells you if you’ve been in your job too long, but any job deserving of your time should be fulfilling and provide you with ongoing opportunities to learn and expand your skill set. Indeed, research conducted by ADP Research Institute in 2015 and 2018 identified that only 16% of workers across the globe are fully engaged with their jobs. So, if you feel your present role is lacking the magic it might have once had, you’re not alone.
If your work no longer inspires you, it could be time to look for something new. Do these eight signs that you’ve been in your job too long sound familiar?
1. You’ve lost your love for the job and the company
Without really thinking about it, you’ve stopped making an effort, and you’re submitting work that you know is not your best. You used to take pride in your work and now you just don’t feel that way about it anymore; it has become routine, boring and unfulfilling.
2. You could do your job in your sleep
Your working life just isn’t supplying you with any challenges anymore, and although this might have felt great at first, you now realise that you miss them and are starting to feel increasingly disengaged. Nothing in your working day is stimulating your intellect and you feel disappointed by the ease with which you can get away with hardly trying.
3. You feel you don’t fit in, you’re less sociable and your colleagues bore you
If office socialising once used to be fun, it isn’t anymore. You can’t be bothered getting to know new people. You keep conversations as short and impersonal as possible and don’t interact with colleagues once the working day is over.
Don’t underestimate the degree to which feeling ‘at one’ with your team can drive overall job wellbeing. The above research by ADP Research Institute in 2015 and 2018 also found that across the world, those working in a team frequently felt much more engaged in their jobs.
4. You’re clock watching and hate Mondays
You arrive promptly at the start of the working day and leave immediately when it ends, keeping careful track of each break in-between and making sure they never get cut short. You count the days until holidays, even if they’re only a couple of days long.
5. You feel left out of meetings and projects
Sometimes you feel as if no-one at work really notices you’re there. You don’t get asked for your opinions and no one treats you as if you have anything to contribute beyond your day to day work. People whom you feel are less qualified than you are often seem to get picked first.
Ernst & Young’s latest Belonging Barometer survey, published in May 2019, interviewed more than 1,000 employed adult Americans and found that people who feel a strong sense of belonging at work are more productive, motivated and engaged. When, however, these respondents were excluded at work, they said they felt ignored, stressed and lonely. Does this describe you?
6. You feel you’re being overlooked for promotion
Younger or less talented people always seem to get chosen before you. You don’t feel that you get a fair degree of praise for the work you do, and you never seem to be singled out for bonuses. It’s years since you were last employee of the month, even though you’re in a small team.
7. You’ve stopped believing in your company
When you first started out you were passionate about what your company did or how it did it, but now you feel this passion is waning. You feel disillusioned and don’t think senior staff care about the company the way you once did. You feel that it has lost its way, is betraying former ideals, or is simply mediocre.
Research has consistently shown that employees are most satisfied working for companies whose values they feel match their own. A Workplace Culture report published by LinkedIn in 2018 stated that 71% of professionals said they would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that had shared values and a mission they believed in. So, if don’t feel you can identify with your company’s purpose or work, it might be time to consider a change.
8. You envy former colleagues who have resigned
Perhaps you tell yourself you’re not talented or brave enough to do what they did, but even if they haven’t landed on their feet, you feel they’re better off out of the company you still work for. You keep thinking about the new opportunities open to them that you’re missing out on.
Update your CV
When you’ve been in one job for a long time, you need to explain that you haven’t just been doing one thing. Understandably, you might not have updated your CV for a while, so it’s important to focus on the skills you’ve developed and your achievements in the role since then. Write about projects you worked on and arrange what you write in an order that shows you’ve made progress. If you’ve unsure where to start, consider these quick and easy ways to refresh your CV.
Prepare for interview
There are three things you will need to tackle as quickly and as firmly as possible:
- Firstly, you will need to explain in positive terms why you were in one place for so long. You will also need to reassure the interviewer that your skills are up to date.
- Then, show that you have what it takes to integrate into a new business culture. If you’ve recently developed new hobbies or done volunteer work, this can help to show that you’re still flexible.
- If you’ve stayed in the same role for years, the interviewer may be especially interested to know why you are looking to leave your current job now. You will also need to be ready to talk through your CV with the interviewer, explaining how one stage led to the next, and what makes you a natural choice for the role you’re being interviewed for now.
Contact a recruiter
You could spend all your working hours looking through job adverts on your own, but a skilled recruiter will be able to look at your CV and instantly match you up with suitable positions. After that, it’s up to you. There are no guarantees, but you could be about to find yourself in a job that really makes you feel alive.