Of course there are lots of signs that it is time to move on to a new job: your boss undermines you, you haven’t been learning and growing, etc… but this is the one sign you really, really need to pay attention to:
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: “What I want to do today is just share with you a signal that’s probably the biggest signal that you could get that it is time to change jobs. And before I get to what the signal is, let me just share a personal experience around that signal and what it looked like for me and how we got there. I was in a role that was extremely high pressure, extremely high visibility with lots of visibility and pressure from the C-suite and just constant demands, and those demands went on and on and on. They were sort of incessant, right? And that takes its toll on you over time.
I was stressed, I was on my iPhone weekends, nights, pretty much all the time and at the same time my son was about 11- 12 months old. And for those of you who are parents you know that that’s sort of a difficult age, that kids are at. Maybe all those first couple of years are difficult but it was a difficult age and this particular morning I woke up, my son was screaming, it was probably around 5:00 in the morning, and I am not at my best when I haven’t slept that much.
So, I hadn’t slept a lot, it’s early in the morning and I was changing my son’s diaper. And my wife came by and said, “Hey, don’t forget to move the car seat from my car into your car so you can bring him to school today.” And it’s a fine request, sort of a normal request, and I grunted, “I got it” kind of thing and kept working on his diaper, of course my son is screaming and all of that and maybe 2 minutes later she comes by and she says, “I want to make sure that you move that car seat from my car to your car.” and I just snapped and I said, “I’ve got it. I’m not retarded, right. I’ve got this.” And I didn’t yell, I didn’t swear, but it was way uncharacteristic for me. I’m generally a pretty easy going guy who, something happens, and it is kind of like, it doesn’t really affect me much at all.
For me this was like a really kind of a sharp signal and so maybe 5 minutes or so later I went and I apologized to my wife. But that incident just sort of stuck with me through the day and through the weeks and I thought a lot about it.
So, the following week I was in front of a food truck and, I don’t know how you feel about food trucks. Personally I think they are ridiculous. But in Southern California, for whatever reason these gourmet food trucks are kind of the thing, and they come in front of your office and you can buy a $9 hot dog.
And that’s what I was doing because I didn’t have time for anything else and one of my colleagues was there next to me and I explained to him what had happened and he said, “Something similar actually just happened to me recently.” and I said, “What was it?” and he said, “Well, my kids were getting into some trouble and just doing some things they shouldn’t have and I yelled at them.” and he said, “and then my wife heard me yell at them and came down the stairs and kind of took me aside and said what was that about, why did you yell at them?” and he said, “so I explained to her what it was and she said, “That wasn’t really an appropriate response in any way to what they did.”
He had that similar moment and what I realized in talking to him and thinking about my own experience is that I’ve got some kind of emotional capacity, and let’s say this is it, and when work takes out this much of it and so there is a very small bit left, the smallest thing can send you into a reaction that is just not at all appropriate. And the worst thing is we tend to take it out on those people that we really care about and love because we sort of know they’ll be there for us, right?
What is the signal to you? If you find out that or you realize that you are responding or reacting to people that you really care about in kind of snappy short ways that are just uncharacteristic of the person that you are, chances are it’s the stress from your workplace coming into your personal life and it’s really time to make a change. And the interesting thing is for both that individual and myself, we both made changes soon there after and we sort of decided at that point that we would make changes.
In my case I navigated to a different role within the same firm. In his case he left the firm and went and joined a startup, but what is interesting is that for both of us, that was the real clear signal that something had to give and something had to change and to preserve our families, it was essential that we sort of change what we were doing. I have talked to a number of people since then who have had similar kind of situations where they had the sudden realization and then they made a change and the thing that they tell me is that generally their spouses say, “When you changed, you moved companies, you took a new role or whatever, I got my husband back or I got my wife back.”
That’s really important because frequently what happens in careers and relationships too is you sort of get involved in a relationship when you are sort of more nascent in your career or your career is newer. You don’t have as many responsibilities on you and as you rise up that corporate ladder the level of responsibility really gets much higher and at that point, slowly the frog gets boiled if you will, right? You end up in a place where you don’t want to be, being short with people you don’t want to be short with, and just not really living the best life you can.
My advice to you is if you see yourself behaving in an abnormal way, take some action, do something, make a change but don’t just sit there and live with it because the worst thing that can happen is that you lose those relationships that mean so much to you as a result of doing something that you are really not suppose to be doing.
Thinking of hiring a career coach? Before you do, be sure and check out my webinar Stop! Before you hire a career coach and avoid a potentially costly mistake.