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Navigating a Career Crossroads: When to Move On

navigating career crossroads

In a week, there are 168 hours. While we devote roughly a third of this time to sleep, a significant portion of our waking moments is dedicated to work. For a job to foster success, it should ideally align with your skills, offer a healthy work-life balance, and provide fair compensation and benefits.

I count myself fortunate to hold a job that I’m passionate about. I find it fulfilling as I contribute meaningfully, and I’m respected within the workplace. The diversity of projects I’m involved in keeps my work engaging. Additionally, I receive appropriate compensation for my time and efforts. However, I’ve recently observed some friends grappling with the difficult decision of leaving their current positions for roles better suited to their needs. For some, the motivation to leave was driven by low pay and a sense of underappreciation. Another friend contemplated leaving a job they deeply believed in due to the presence of a toxic work environment and a narcissistic boss, turning each workday into a miserable experience.

Another common concern I’ve encountered is work-life balance; individuals feel that they don’t spend enough time with their families while being expected to work evenings and weekends. I can empathize with this as I once held a job that drained my enthusiasm and felt soul-sucking. As someone with ADHD, I thrive as a problem solver, but managing hundreds of small details all day was simply not within my skill set.

Factors to Consider when Navigating a Career Crossroads

Deciding to leave a job is a weighty choice, one that requires careful consideration of several vital factors.

  1. Assess Your Overall Job Satisfaction: Begin by evaluating your job satisfaction. Consider the workplace culture, your compensation, benefits, and work-life balance. Reflect on how these elements affect your overall well-being and happiness.
  2. Align with Long-Term Goals: Think about your career aspirations and whether your current job aligns with your professional objectives. Assess the potential for growth and advancement within the company.
  3. Mental Well-Being Matters: Examine the impact on your mental health. Toxic work environments or dealing with a narcissistic boss can significantly affect your mental well-being. Gauge the level of stress and its influence on your overall happiness.
  4. Financial Stability: Evaluate your financial situation, taking into account your pay, benefits, and financial obligations. Don’t forget to consider factors like health insurance into the equation.
  5. Explore Alternative Pathways: Research other job opportunities and market conditions. Gain insights into the potential for finding a job with a healthier work environment, improved work-life balance, and better compensation.
  6. Seek Support and Advice: Don’t hesitate to share your concerns with trusted friends, family, mentors, a professional counselor, or a career coach. Their external perspectives can provide valuable insights and help you attain the clarity needed to make an informed decision.

Remember that the choice to leave a job is deeply personal, influenced by your unique circumstances and priorities. If you find it challenging to decide, seeking professional advice or counseling can be a valuable step in the process.

Check out other articles in this series

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Ready to invigorate your creative career in 2024? Consider being a mentor – because nothing says “I’ve got this” like guiding the next generation.

Navigating Career Crossroads: When to Move On, originally published in the Reel Connections: GVSU Film & Video Alumni Newsletter, November 2023, by Michele Terpstra.

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