As the months of the COVID-19 pandemic have gone by, many people have had time to think about their jobs. Firstly, many people lost their jobs or had to reorient their attention due to the pandemic’s impact on their work. On the other hand, employment in many people’s lives has become more central because social connections and hobbies are harder to follow.
In this time, some people have become much more dedicated to their jobs and careers. I have been asked personally to take part in COVID-19 preparation for my university, which has led to a variety of new opportunities that have enhanced the job I do. But several others I’ve spoken to doubt how long they can remain in their present employment. Here are four indicators of the time to consider taking up a new career (or position in your present organization):
Your value and your agreement.
Your job satisfaction depends a great deal on your core values. Shalom Schwartz and his colleagues’ research examines the beliefs that people possess. These ideals are informed by both cultural and human experiences. Your ideas affect what you find satisfactory at work. If you value performance, for instance, you aspire for progress at work and appreciate the opportunity to show your skills and achievements. However, if you value benevolence, you might choose to contribute in your work to the well-being of people around you. It may be less necessary to be appreciated for your performance.
It’s worth thinking about the link between what you’re working on and your larger values very much. Firstly, the essence of your work will change over time in ways that misalign your work with your values. On the other hand, your priorities shift over your lives such that a work that suited you perfectly at a time can later no longer fit. In my book, “Bring Your Brain to Work,” I relay a variety of stories about people whose beliefs changed over time, including a friend who left his job as a prosperous lawyer in running a Non-Profit Lawyer.
ATTENTION & CROWTH
Even if your job is very much in line with your ideals, you may still be stagnating at work. A lot of research has investigated the advantages of having growth at work, in which you think that you can learn what you need to excel in your work. However, one drawback of this growth mentality is that you won’t feel happy if your work becomes routine.
If you think that there are no new things to learn to do your present job, this is a vital indication that you can search for the next job—even if you are with the company you are currently working in. In addition to working with the managers to create the next opportunity, consider ongoing educational options that will help you develop new skills for the next challenge you are facing. In addition to the numerous local schools offering credential programs, there are increasingly great opportunities for online training.
THE OPTIMAL CHALLENGE
Part of the job that is also enjoyable is that you are hopefully employed in an area where you are at the forefront of your skills. That is, you know how to do those things so well that you can do them without thought. Some humdrum tasks will still be part of the workday. This is unavoidable.
But the best work interactions trigger a state of rhythm in which you are fully absorbed in the tasks ahead. You must perform at the limit of your ability to achieve this immersion. When the job is too simple, it is easy to understand the environment. If the job is too difficult, you are overwhelmed and cannot deal with the question profoundly.
A work without any flow opportunities can lead to long days in which you pay too much attention to time. If your days are long, then this is a signal to assess if another job may be a better match for your level of ability.
Many people who really have to leave their jobs already know it. They just couldn’t produce the energy to find more opportunities (either inside their current firm or elsewhere). A daily routine induces a great deal of inertia. In addition, people worry about the unknown and so it can be overwhelming to take on a new job.
In the interviews I conducted for bringing your brain to work, I found that after experiencing a personal tragedy, many people eventually made major changes in their careers such as a significant illness or the death of a loved one. These experiences led them in their lives to reassess what is important.
We all have experienced an extremely challenging year, which has led us to think about what is significant. Use this insight to inquire about what facets of your life you now like after COVID-19. If you do not fulfill your position at work now, use the energy of this year of disturbance to jump into a new job when we leave the pandemic.