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 Michael Walker, chief academic officer at Dev Bootcamp.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average person has nearly 12 different jobs between the ages of 18 and 48. While this doesn’t speak directly to changing careers, it does reflect a growing dynamic in our country. Personally, I’ve had the good fortune to change jobs several times in my career. From becoming a stockbroker right out of college, to holding various marketing jobs after getting my MBA, to leaving an executive marketing role at Mattel (MAT) and co-founding a mobile app startup, to deciding at age 50 that I had a passion for learning to code and embarking on a new career in tech altogether—change is no stranger to me. Looking back on the points in my life when I decided to make the leap to something new, I recognize a few indicators that signaled I was ready for the next big thing.
In my current role as the chief academic officer and campus director of Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco, I work with fellow career changers almost every day who are ready for their next job and want to learn a new skill to get them there. From my personal experience and the stories I hear daily at Dev Bootcamp, I’m confident that these three signs indicate you might be ready for your next job:
You’re not growing your knowledge base
Many people are motivated by learning something new. Doing the same tasks day in and day out can get tiring and affect your job performance. Once you reach the point in your job where you are no longer learning, you start to get the itch for something more. Are there opportunities for you to work on a new project or shadow someone in a different department? If you’re the type of person that needs to be continuously learning and you’re not getting that from your current employer, it may be time to seek out a new opportunity. And, don’t assume barriers are immoveable. It may feel risky to go out and learn a new skill such as coding (even if you’re “not a math person”) before finding your next job, but I hear tons of success stories from people of all backgrounds who have made it happen.
You want to do something you believe is more important
For many people, a job is just a job. However, there are those who strive to marry their personal passions and their career. If you’re uninspired by the mission of your work or feel that you’d rather be spending your time making a difference, it might be time to consider your options.
My decision to break into the tech world was motivated both by my desire to enhance my traditional skillset and to help address the widening diversity gap I was witnessing at tech companies, despite concentrated efforts by major tech powerhouses to close that gap over the last decade. Having worked in several industries in various senior roles, I was inspired by the opportunity for software developer bootcamps to introduce a new source of talent to the tech industry.
You’re experiencing “career stagnation”
This may be one of the easier signs to spot. On an individual basis, there are three key drivers to career momentum: knowledge (your expertise), leadership (how you get things done), and results (your impact on priorities). If the key decision makers don’t believe you are excelling in at least two of these areas, then you need to take action to change those perceptions or move on to an organization better suited for your talent. Ask yourself: Is there a new skillset I can acquire that will help me advance at the company? Would my expertise be valued or more visible in another function, department, or company altogether? Is there a way to improve communication to make my contributions to these areas more visible?
Deciding to change careers is never easy, and you may never feel like there’s a perfect time to do so on your own. Unfortunately, if your organization isn’t large enough to offer you the resources or opportunities to grow, seeking a new career elsewhere may be your best option.