How will you know when it’s time to change jobs? It’s so easy to become lethargic and miss the signs that your job no longer provides you with challenges that make it exciting to get up in the morning. Albert Schweitzer said: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” In our hearts, we all know this is true. Life is too short to not enjoy going to work each day.

Yet, the prospect of a job search, preparing for interviews, and the possibility of actually moving can seem like an extremely heavy lift. So much so that many of us determine not to do it either through procrastination, denial, or both. We begin to tell ourselves a variety of stories:

  • “Ok, so maybe it does not tap into my talent enough but at least I have a job.”
  • “My boss is going to retire in a few years. Then I can move up.”
  • “This industry will turn around. It has been in a slump for too long.”

Move up

Maybe you really do like your current organization but are bored in your role and have not had the opportunity to move up. That is an easy fix with new skills. Before you do anything, ask around and find out what skills are valued at your organization. Are the new skills you’re thinking about acquiring a good fit for the organization? Do you need a certification course? Would a degree give you greater prospects? With all of the educational options available today,”up-skilling” is an option for almost anyone regardless of personal needs.

Move on

Sometimes a fresh start in a new organization may be what you need. The longer you are with an organization the more difficult it is for the organization to see you outside of the box that it has painted for you. You may or may not need to think about increasing your skills, but here is an important suggestion. Before putting your resume together, do some research on both the job that you want and the organizations where you may want to work. It will not take you long to determine if you need additional skills before moving on and which skills would give you the best advantage in your negotiation.

Move over

When you finally recognize that your chosen industry is never going to provide jobs at the same rate it did twenty years ago, you may decide to move over to an industry that can’t hire enough skilled employees. In order to do that you will most definitely need to acquire new skills and credentials, however, you must be strategic in your acquisition. Think about what you already know how to do and find a position in a new industry where you can build on experience while building new skills.

A former manufacturing payroll clerk had a great deal of computer experience and enjoyed auditing payroll records and keeping them in good order. However, she was tired of factories closing and searching for work that was becoming increasingly more automated. Therefore, she set her sights on the job of medical coding. Yes, she had to go back into a learning environment but she was able to leverage her computer and auditing skills and make the shift into the healthcare industry.

It’s not easy to realize that your current job no longer suits you. But the options available can be employed strategically. The most important thing is to do your homework and research all of your options. Remember, always wanting an MBA is not a good enough reason to get one, especially if you have alternatives that make more sense for your life situation.

A wise man once said: “Don’t worry. Be happy”. We want you to be happy too.

The Towson University Center for Professional Studies draws upon the talent of faculty, staff, and a broad network of alumni, we identify subject matter experts to develop and deliver dynamic programs that help to create an educated and professional workforce.