Avoid complacency at all costs.
The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What are some signs that you should be looking for a new job?” is written by Stav Vaisman, co-founder and CEO of OurPlan.
Changing jobs might be tough, but staying at a dead-end job is its own kind of torture. Every job reflects tension between the employee and the firm: Each party is trying to maximize its relative position. That’s why your bosses might refuse to offer promotions or pay bumps if they don’t think you have a better option elsewhere. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you should always test the job market waters.
Do you require extrinsic motivation?
The lack of intrinsic motivation is one of the best signs that you’ve hit the dead-end point in your career trajectory. If you fail to feel inspired by your job, it might be time to move on. If all that keeps you at your job are the extrinsic motivators of advancement and/or compensation, you’ve lost that internal energy vital for your performance and career success.
In the startup world, intrinsic motivation is one of the hallmarks of employee performance. Workers gain inspiration from the opportunity to tackle new challenges. They often forego job stability and high salaries because they see an alignment between their personal aspirations and the unique nature of work at a startup.
But startup owners can see the signs of burnout as this inner drive declines among some of their employees. Predictably, performance becomes the next victim of the loss of intrinsic motivation. If this sounds like you, do your boss and yourself a favor and start looking for another job. Find one that gives you that same kick in the pants as your former lost love.
Are resentments building?
Resentments in the workplace build as we grow frustrated with the actions of others. Sometimes those resentments are legitimate—if you can tell that your co-workers or bosses are trying to take advantage of you. In other cases, however, resentments originate simply because we’ve lost our tolerance for behavior that used to merely annoy.
If you feel your resentments with your peers, subordinates, and superiors are building, examine the behaviors that elicit your resentments. If these behaviors are nothing new, your tolerance for them has diminished. This is a likely sign you’ve lost your patience for your coworkers. Don’t wait for these behaviors to change, because they won’t. Start updating your CV instead.
Do you find yourself daydreaming?
The smartest kids in the classroom are often the ones paying the least attention to the teacher. They’re staring out the window thinking about particle physics or the nature of human existence. If you find yourself daydreaming at work, there are two possible explanations: Either you have an undiagnosed learning disorder, or you’re bored with your work. Daydreaming is a sure sign that you no longer feel challenged. This sign is particularly illustrative if your performance doesn’t suffer as a result of your daydreaming. Your job isn’t fulfilling, and it’s time to look elsewhere for the next challenge that will command all of your attention.
The point is to avoid complacency at all costs. I know more than a few individuals who never stop looking for a job. They are always looking for new opportunities to improve their skills and expand their knowledge in new positions with new firms. While I don’t necessarily recommend this mindset, there is something to be learned from these career opportunists. They recognize that optimal performance comes from intrinsic motivation, love for the workplace, one’s fellow workers, and boundless curiosity. If you go to work with these qualities, stay put. If not, start looking.