Don’t Be a Frog: Check Often to Make Sure Your Job is Still Right For You

In our careers, we can feel like that frog which found himself in a pot of room temperature water, but as the heat increased, the frog did not react and sat in the water until his ultimate demise. Just like temperatures, careers can change for the worse, often gradually and without notice. However, if we pay close attention to the red flags, we can know when to jump long before the water starts to boil.

Determine whether your job position continues to meet your goals and expectations. We accept job offers for a number of reasons, such as the opportunity to gain skills or a better salary. However, time can change the organization and your position could plateau and even erode, causing you to miss out on vital career experience and advancement opportunities. If you’re not continually learning from your job, growing your skills and experience, and building a strong professional network, then perhaps it’s time to look for another opportunity.

Commit to an organization that both understands and is true to its mission. When we first begin our careers, we are less concerned with how well the organization we work for understands their strategy, builds well-defined target markets and lives up to their value proposition. Yet, as we are promoted through the ranks, those issues have a stronger influence on our careers. Before investing your talent and time in an organization, determine whether it clearly articulates, and is committed to, its mission and offers the opportunities you need to reach your career potential.

Look to the top when making long-term leadership plans. Many new employees have high aspirations of one day becoming a C-level executive or owner. First, ask yourself whether you would choose to work or socialize with the current and soon-to-be senior executives. A second, and equally important, question is whether you trust the leadership enough to sign partnership or other executive agreements that can commit you financially and professionally to them and the organization for many years to come. If you answered “yes” to these two questions, then congratulations, you have chosen an organization where you will likely be able to build your career.

It can be difficult to pass up a career opportunity when you’re unemployed and desperate for your next job. Sometimes, circumstances dictate that we stay in a less than ideal job longer than we would like. However, if you can recognize the telltale signs that the organization may not be a long-term fit for you and create a vision for your own professional path, you will be prepared to act when the right opportunity comes along, and leap from the pot before the water heats up.

Giving you another chance to make a better first impression.Dan Griffiths, CPA, CGMA is the director of strategic planning at Tanner, LLC, a Salt Lake City-based firm.