What started as a perfect fit has become a sales funnel that you didn’t sign up for.
The team you loved has dwindled to a skeleton crew whose tense dialogue wears you down.
The monthly travel that once sounded glamorous now has you feeling disconnected from your community.
If you have faced situations like these in your career, you know how quickly you can find yourself considering a change. Should you stay?
These days, it’s acceptable — and even expected — to switch jobs frequently. If there are better benefits, cooler culture or more vacation days elsewhere, it’s reasonable to want to try something new. Plus most millennials will seriously consider opportunities to work for organizations that align with their values.
When job dissatisfaction, doubt or boredom creeps in, how do you decide if it’s time to move on? For Christians, are there factors to consider that go beyond career benefits or personal gratification?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may help you discern when it’s time to make a change.
How do you pray for your work today?
Spend some intentional time praying for your workplace, your coworkers, your manager and your clients. When you bring your workplace to God, do themes or particular people come to mind? Ask God to be with you in places that feel difficult and tense. No matter how long you stay in your position, make the choice to pray regularly and specifically for your work, and believe that God is with you in it. Your daily tasks, your relationships and your own growth will be changed as a result, and you will be in a posture to hear from the Lord when it is time to make a move.
How are you currently using your time?
If you’re bored or overworked, see if there are changes you can make to keep yourself healthy in your current position. Would it help you to start your day earlier and have some quiet work time before coworkers come in? Could you move your workstation to surround yourself with more positive influences? See if there are small changes you can implement to improve your daily wellbeing. Do what you can to relieve stress in the short term, and that may help you determine if can stay in your environment long-term.
Can you implement small changes today?
Sometimes the things that feel most overwhelming or defeating in our jobs are actually malleable, or are based on changing personalities and dynamics. Ask yourself if there are new ways you can serve your current coworkers or clients, and consider steps you could take to improve the situation for yourself and others. Ask God to show you how you can use extra time or stagnant energy to add value.
If you are unhappy with the culture in your workplace, are there things you can try to build camaraderie or develop connection?
Can you ask for more time to work on projects that interest you? Does your office have extracurricular activities or volunteer opportunities that would help you feel connected to a community of peers? See if any of these opportunities alter your mood about your employer and daily work. Although these activities won’t change the details of your job, you may find yourself energized and refreshed. And if you find yourself in a circumstance that is constantly draining or unhealthy, and it doesn’t seem likely to change, accept that it is okay to step away.*
Why did you start in the first place?
Take time to write down what drew you to your job when you first started out. Was your position going to help you work toward a bigger goal? Are there aspects of your role that you haven’t yet explored? Did you set out hoping to reach a particular milestone? Compare your initial hopes to your current situation and see where your expectations have not been met.
Are you setting aside time for your own personal goal setting and dreaming?
It is always healthy to be thinking about your own goals and dreams outside of your role. Networking, keeping up hobbies, and asking for informational interviews in industries that interest you will help you remember the passions you have outside of your job. You can also use this time to explore whether there are chances to work toward your future goals from within your current organization.
Ultimately, the way we make decisions is just as important as the decisions we make.
If you are considering a job change, take this season as an opportunity to evaluate your current situation with the posture of a listener and learner. As you ask hard but important questions, believe that God will show you new ways to serve him and others — no matter how long you stay.
*Work environments that are abusive or dangerous to your mental and physical health and safety are never acceptable. If you need to report an unhealthy situation or incident, seek out your company’s HR representative. Also make sure you involve a trusted friend, mentor or family member who can care for you while you work through the situation.