Change and when it’s needed


It’s coming up to me having been in my current job for 4 months, and it’s flown by, but it’s also starting to feel a little dull and repetitive. So the thing that’s on my mind at the moment is how do I know when to move on? Do I need to make more effort in my current position to get more out of it, or is it simply and genuinely not right for me and it’s ok to try something else?

In a lot of aspects of my life I don’t cope well with change. Despite recognising that I’m emotional and my emotions will pass, in the moment I still panic and regret and question my choices. However when it comes to jobs (well, my so far fairly limited experience of jobs through studying, part-time work, unpaid internships and my current role), change is everything. I always want something new – new work environment, new colleagues, new tasks, new goals, new experiences.

So I either hate change or I love change and there’s not very much in the middle. Gradual change has to be best – small steps towards a bigger goal. I need to find a balance.

I received some good advice from a blogger called Ryan Balboa almost three months ago:

One of my mentor managers at where I used to work suggested that I keep a list of the top 10 things that were important to me in my life and career, with a ‘satisfaction scale’ ranging from 1-10 next to them.

Every 6 months (roughly when performance reviews and stuff were) she’d get me to fill out the list, and compare the list I filled out from last time. I find that it really put things into perspective for me, and framed my emotions in a more objective, logical way (btw, it also helped me convince myself logically that it was time to move on).

So that’s exactly what I did, and at this relatively early stage of my career I think a review every three months works pretty well, so I’ve just updated my numbers. It’s not good news. Most of the numbers have gone down, so now I’m trying to work out whether I should wait until I’ve had an unusually good day at work to fill it out again, or to trust that, at least relative to my last numbers, this is indicating some sort of change is needed (don’t worry, I’m not planning on quitting my job just yet, but currently my 6-months-from-now plan is to find something new to move on to).

changecomplainIt feels as though being in any job for less than 12 months shows nothing more than a lack of commitment, yet from the start I knew this job wasn’t quite for me. It’s a tough one, but I don’t do settling so it’s going to need some serious thought.

The question seems to be:

Do I want change for the sake of change, or because I feel there’s little room for growth in my current role and I want to keep experimenting and growing?

6 comments on “Change and when it’s needed

  1. I always suffer from a low boredom threshold so it is hard for jobs to keep me engaged. Its a problem which has dogged me my whole working life. Finding a career which challenges and engages you is one of the great objectives, and if you succeed you life can be transormed

    • I think I might have the same problem as you – as soon as I become familiar with things I lose my interest. Finding a job that does both engage and challenge is definitely a worthwhile objective. Have you come close to finding one?

  2. Are you being challenged? Are you gaining anything from your current role other than “real world” work experience? I think the best way to determine this is to picture yourself being interviewed for a new position. Can you talk a lot about what you’re doing now to convince the imaginary interviewer that you’d be perfect for this new job?

    If not, I think a change is in order. If you weren’t so sure about the position from the beginning, and you still aren’t into it, you might want to start applying for different jobs. I’m in a similar situation, but I’ve been working for almost a year now, which is nuts. It might be a good idea to stick it out a little longer, but I’d recommend beginning a job hunt or at least looking around to see what else is out there now. Think about how long it took you to land this position. It could take just as long to find something else.

    Good luck with your decision!

    • An imaginary interview is such a great way of looking at it! I have been thinking for months now that if I was to go for a new position I’m really not sure how much at all I could make use of my experiences at the moment to get the job.

      I think you’re right – change really is needed. My plan now is to stay in the job for 6 months, which sounds ages but gives me time to build up some extra experience on the side, look at what other jobs are out there and get a plan of action together. I think part of the reason it took me so long to find and accept this position was because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. Now I have a better idea I’m hoping I can focus my search more.

      I’d be interested to hear more about your own situation as we seem to be in pretty similar positions at the moment – are you applying for other jobs?

  3. I love Ryan’s advice. I had to bookmark yet another of your posts because of it!

    As for your situation, keep an eye on what you have control over changing in your current position. First identify the sorts of tasks and responsibilities you’d ideally like in your next job. Then think about how you could inch your current job toward that place. Are there new roles you could ask to take on? Are there ways you could innovate your existing roles and responsibilities? I don’t believe our “dream job” exists “out there” somewhere but rather comes about through very active and deliberate actions on our part.

    Now I’m not saying that this job is the end-all be-all for you, nor am I advocating for not leaving, but as Lauren said, the process of making change can take a while, so it doesn’t hurt to try to mold this position around in the meantime. It’ll also make you more qualified for the position you want in the next round of employment.

    • I know you’re right about looking out for the things I can change, I just feel that my options for change are limited – a lot of the work I do is the sort of work I don’t want to be a big part of my next job. I completely agree with you that we have to create our dream job and it’s not just out there somewhere to find, but I’m worried this job is too far from my ideals.

      The main thing I dislike about it and struggle with is the work environment. It’s not a very sociable atmosphere and I feel like I want to be talking to and working with people rather than simply getting on with my own work while sitting behind a computer screen.

      Really appreciate your advice, I definitely have a lot of thinking to do!

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