Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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KNOW WHEN TO 'HOLD 'EM'--WHEN TO LEAVE

SOMETIMES YOU FEEL as though you can't take any more of the treatment you're getting on this job. You weigh and balance the pros and cons of your salary, your "perks," and the "happiness level" in the office, but you still can't decide whether or not to bite the bullet and actually start looking for another job. 

After all, it's a tough economy and everyone says you should be grateful to have full-time employment with benefits. But should you settle for that?


Jayne Mattson, senior vice president of Keystone Associates, career consultants, says it's time to leave your job if the following things are happening to you.

1.         Your relationship with your boss has changed - For years you've had a fabulous working and personal relationship with your boss, but you begin to sense a shift in the organization's culture and the boss's leadership. You are being asked to take on more responsibility and do more with fewer resources. The relationship is deteriorating and you feel like you are losing your support system, confidant, and advocate within the organization.
 
2.         Work/life values are no longer being met - When you were hired, you knew the organization and role was a good fit that met your work and life values. However, with the changes in the organization you've noticed you are no longer feeling satisfied with your work. The culture has shifted and you are not able to perform at your fullest potential. Ask yourself: If you were to interview at the company today, would you want to work there?
 
3.         You are left out of decision-making meetings - A business decision has been made without your input and you don't agree with the direction. You're losing influence with upper management and are no longer "in the know." Your subordinates begin to ask others for input and decisions, which further diminishes your authority.
 
4.         You are not being asked to take on high visibility assignments - What about me? You begin to notice that your subordinates are now in the spotlight and being asked to lead a major project working directly with your manager. Your high performing team is being broken apart and moved onto other teams to maximize their strengths. Not only are you not being put on high visible assignments, your team is being broken apart.
 
5.         Becoming frustrated with the direction of the company and have become more vocal than normal - The company is changing its focus and you do not support the decision. You are becoming more vocal about your disagreement. You are feeling frustrated; your input is not being heard because what management is hearing are undertones of dissent in your voice versus the content of what you are saying.
 
6.         Staying awake at night with an anxious feeling replaying conversations - The pressures of work assignments, tight deadlines or disagreements with your manager have resulted in not getting a solid night's sleep. The anxiety over work has increased and the lack of sleep has prevented you from performing at your best.
 
7.         You are managing the political arena more than performing your job - There are rumors the company may be bought and "every person for himself" seems to be the mode of operation, which doesn't allow time to do the work. At the end of the week, you have spent more time managing the politics than accomplishing something on your "to do list".
 
8.         You are no longer passionate about your work and dread going to work each day - Do you wake up in the morning energized and look forward to your day or do you dread it?  If getting out of bed each morning is becoming a challenge (other than staying up to watch those late night movies) then you need to listen to your instincts and ask yourself "why?" We spend a majority our lives working, so don't ignore the signs that say, "It is time to move on". You will find another job where you look forward to going to work each day!
 
Accepting that it might be time to leave is the first step toward finding a job that is in alignment with your values, skills, and interests. Finding the courage to leave is the next step, so before you do, make sure you plan an effective exit strategy.
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