Karen Appleton

Sometimes, the reasons for restlessness in a job are clear, but that's not always the case.

By Karen Appleton
September 1, 2015

Leadership Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How do you know it’s the right time to switch jobs? is written by Karen Appleton, SVP of industry at Box.

We all have those moments in our career. There isn’t exactly anything wrong, but something just isn’t right. Sometimes, the reasons for restlessness in a job are clear, but that’s not always the case. You may love the job, believe in your company and have a great team, but still have a nagging feeling that you’re not as fulfilled in your role as you were when you first took on the position. Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to knowing when the time is right to move on, but in my experience there are some tried and true approaches to identifying new opportunities. And it could be in your best interest to first look at your current role and search within–not outside–of your company for your next big gig. Here are a few indicators that could help make your decision to move on easier:

You can identify new areas of opportunity
To date, I have held three different roles at my current company, Box. When I first joined the company, as vice president of business development, the role suited my background perfectly. I was passionate about the company’s mission and product, and I was good at dealing with and understanding people. But as in many small companies, there is always a lot to do and there were areas of focus within this fast-growing startup that sparked my relentless need for new challenges, but didn’t necessarily have a dedicated leader to drive the specific business initiative.

Actively seeing new areas for opportunity, as well as taking the time to incubate your ideas around organizational pain points and challenges, can often lead to the development of new responsibilities, business solutions for your customers and new revenue streams. If you can spot business opportunities and turn them into growth channels that would benefit both the business and your professional goals, it’s time to further explore those options.

You enjoy stepping out of your comfort zone
It is very likely that at a certain point in your career you will be anxious to find new ways to match your professional aspirations by expanding your area of expertise. This will likely mean stretching your horizons to learn the professional skills that you have not yet acquired. The choice to view this as an opportunity, not an obstacle, is a wildly freeing moment. It’s the chance to redefine your career path.

So why might shifting internally be the best first move? Well, hopefully you’ve gained the trust and confidence of your colleagues so that they encourage you as you take on new projects. By moving out of your comfort zone to gain new skills and capabilities, you will likely be re-invigorated by the unfamiliar (albeit, exciting) challenges that you will inevitably face. Making an internal move will also enable you to work with new people and new teams, providing you the chance to raise your internal visibility while making you all-the-more marketable in the future.

You’re confident in your ability to succeed
While moving from one position to the next might seem daunting (especially if it is a new area of focus) trust in your own abilities to accomplish something new. If you have taken the time to carefully weigh the positives (and sometimes the negatives) of tackling an unexplored venture — and have openly communicated your interests with your colleagues and manager — that confidence will make your transition even easier, and ultimately, help you become more successful in the future.

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