Your job is okay. It pays the bills, they treat you well, and you don’t have any major complaints. But you’re wondering if you should start looking for something new.
You’re not alone in thinking the grass may be greener elsewhere. Around 80 percent of workers in their 20s want to change careers. For workers in their 30s, this number is still high at 64 percent, and a little over half at 54 percent for workers in their 40s.
Introspection–examining your attitudes and feelings about your current job–can help you a lot when you’re thinking about changing companies or careers. Find out how you really feel about your job, and you might even surprise yourself by wanting to stay.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
People change jobs an average of ten to fifteen times in their lifetimes. There are many reasons to change, including pay, stress, and not feeling recognized for your work. A 2015 study by Randstad found that most employees leave their jobs because of a lack of career growth in their current position.
But there are equally many reasons to stay, including seniority, stability, and increased benefits, such as vacation time.
This is where introspection comes in. Here are some exercises to help you learn more about how you feel about your current position. These exercises will help you whether you decide to seek a new position or if you stay in your current one.
Take some time each day to document your work story. What things would you like to improve about your job? Take note of all the things that frustrate you. What problems do you face, and how do you solve them? Have you established workarounds for ongoing issues? This information could help you answer interview questions from potential employers.
Don’t forget to write about the things you like about your job. Are there aspects of the work you’re passionate about? It’s sometimes easy to lose track of these positives when you’re dealing with problems and stress.
Keep journaling for at least a week. If you like writing about your work, continuing to write in your journal may help you gain additional insight. An article in Forbes detailed the ways keeping a journal can help your career. These include learning from your mistakes, keeping track of ideas, venting frustrations, and keeping yourself on track for future goals.
Connect with What You Like About the Job
Now it’s time to explore the parts of your job you like best. Join groups related to your work interests. You can find these on Meetup.com, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Groups can help you keep up with current trends, learn more about career options, and network with others about job opportunities.
Are there skills you’d like to develop more based on your professional interests? One way to do this is to find classes or workshops to help you with these skills. Many classes offer certifications, which you can list on your resume. If you know someone who excels in these skills, shadow them or ask them for career advice. Another way to develop skills is to read as much as possible about your chosen topic. Read everything you can, including books, magazine articles, and professional journals.
Developing skills can make you an expert in your field, which can help you advance your career. Companies seek experts because they have specialized knowledge and skills. This knowledge base can help you if you decide to change careers or companies, or help you advance at your current company.
Analyze What You’ve Learned
After completing these two exercises, determine what you’ve learned. About half of those who complete these exercises choose to stay in their current positions. This may be because the process of introspection makes you more connected to your job. Exploring and learning more about the things you like about your job gives you more value in the eyes of your employer and the rest of your team.
If you choose to look for another position, you will be armed with personal and professional knowledge. That’s the beauty of introspection exercises–they’re a win for whatever your future holds.