Everything has its life cycle, including your current job. Jorg Stegemann, Managing Director of Kennedy Executive Search & Outplacement, explains in which phases your job can be cut down. This will help you to decide when it is time to move on.
Most of us won’t be in the same job as we are today five years from now. And this is a good thing as your CV needs certain dynamics in order to be able to attract future employers. Staying too long in the same company can be interpreted as a lack of flexibility and can provoke doubts about your ability to adapt to a new company culture.
Understand when the moment for a new job has come
Changing jobs regularly and at the right time is a critical part of competitive career management. Yet just like with gambling, it is difficult to define the right moment to leave. In order to make it easier for you, let‘s have a look at the different stages of any average job:
Phase 1: The first weeks in the new job. You could barely await day 1 as you are convinced that everything is so much better here than it was in the other company! You have high expectations and you’re full of positive energy. This is the best job you have ever had!
Phase 2: After usually 6 to 10 weeks, a first disillusion sets in. Well, after all, not everything is really better here. Actually, the last company was not so bad and some things even worked better there. Furthermore, you noticed that your boss is not as perfect as she or he pretended to be in the job interviews and during your first days. This is the first of two critical moments during your career with this company.
Phase 3: Survive phase 2 and you will see that your performance and your results will grow constantly over the next 12 months. Some early wins help you to secure your place in the organization and with time, you will become a valuable team member.
Phase 4: As of year two, you will achieve solid results. You master most aspects of your job and have understood the unwritten rules, the politics and the dos and don’ts in this company.
Phase 5: From year three on, you will be on your personal peak performance. You are on the top of your individual motivation and performance. You manage the entire spectrum of your job and you have created your reputation as well as a solid network with the people that are key to you in your organization. Though this phase can last several years, my experience shows that it is usually over after three years if no job enrichment takes place.
Phase 6: Well, guess what’s coming now. Right: From a certain moment on, your motivation will fade. You have first doubts regarding the company’s strategy and more and more often, you feel you are not on the same wave length with your boss any more. The separation process has started, at least from your side. For the first time since you joined, you seriously think about changing jobs and you wonder if the grass may be greener elsewhere.
Phase 7: Your motivation is on the bottom. You feel bad already on Sunday afternoon because you know you have to return to the office tomorrow and are worn out and de-motivated even before arriving in the office in the morning. Small things upset you. Maybe, you start talking badly about your boss or your employer to friends, colleagues or – even worse – to clients. The people around you notice something is wrong with you. Your unhappiness starts having negative impacts on your private life, maybe even on your health.
Most people leave when their motivation is fading
In phase 6 your career starts going downhill rapidly – if you stay too long, it will be in free fall. Your career in this company has come to its end. Either your find your motivation again by re-energizing your job, or you leave – and both should happen fast. Most people leave now, during phase 6 or 7. However, this is not the best moment to go. After all, you want good references and leave heads held high, right? Staying on board through phase 6 will have a negative impact on your results sooner or later. You are in a downward spiral and this is a lose-lose situation for you and your employer. Try to leave before, ideally in phase 5 leave and go away as an admired, regretted colleague, boss and manager.
Conclusion: I am a headhunter! So when I call you, don’t tell me „Thanks, it‘s going great and I am not interested in a new job. Call me again in one year”. In one year, you might be in phase 6 or 7 and your chances to make a huge step forward are lower than today!
About the author
Jorg Stegemann – headhunter, certified coach and business writer – is Managing Director of Kennedy Executive Search & Outplacement, a boutique firm that covers the 360 degrees of career management: Executive Search, Coaching during the integration period (included) and Outplacement. In addition, he gives career advice, amid others on his company career blog and, daily, on Twitter www.twitter.com/kennedyexec.
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