Is Your Job A One Hit Wonder?

by Ron Haynes

Another TurnIn a lot of ways, jobs are like pop singers, some stand the test of time and some are just one hit wonders. And since the days of lifetime employment have gone the way of the record player, how do you know the difference? When should you stay the course and when should you pop out the CD or delete that song from your iTunes account?

Of course making a decision to leave your job is a lot more serious than picking out a song, but there are some definite signals that should raise red flags. Assuming that you are compensated fairly and your boss hasn’t mistreated or harassed you, here are a couple of ways to know if you need to polish up the resume, connect with your references, and begin networking.

Are you learning?

If you sense that your learning curve is beginning to flatten out, are there any training opportunities that can bring you some fresh challenges or chances to demonstrate your abilities? If you find that you’ve gotten all you can out of this job, hanging around means coasting for a little while and then stagnating. Stagnation isn’t a good career move and it could cause you to slip into a “who cares” attitude. Performing well in your current job will help you in future jobs since most hiring managers believe that past performance will be indicative of future results. Do everything you can to keep learning … even if you have to pay for it.

Are you having fun?

If you dread going in everyday, it may be time to move on. When a job is pure drudgery, the longer you stay, the harder it will be to perform well and eventually move your career forward. If you’re hitting the snooze button too many times in the morning, if your hair starts getting kinky at 4:55PM, if you plan your lunch break for late in the afternoon so you’ll have less time to work when you return, if you call in sick for any reason you can think of, it’s time to start looking.

Is your life at odds with your job?

Even if you enjoy your job, if you cannot maintain your current lifestyle needs, it may be time to move on. Sometimes life throws us a curve: your parents need care, your spouse or children require more time than your job will allow, you need to make extra money, or you simply don’t want to accept a move to keep the job, you’ll have to make the decision to move on occupationally.

Your job may be interfering with something you’re passionate about. If you feel strongly that what you’re doing for an occupation is getting in the way of how you wish to live life, it’s time to move on.

Are you jealous when a co-worker accepts another job?

When your cubicle buddy accepts an opportunity to work for another firm, are you secretly envious? If you find yourself checking out job boards or the career sections of other companies, that’s another indicator that you’re ready to move on.

Does the thought of working somewhere else energize you?

This is the key indicator that you’re ready to move on. When you daydream about doing something other than your job for most of the day, or if you perk up when you hear a voice mail from a job recruiter, you know you’re ready to look for employment elsewhere.

Sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is actually making it. If you find that these indicators accurately reflect your how you feel about your job, accept it and take the next reasonable action to move you toward finding that other position. Make wise moves and you’ll find that you can accomplish whatever you decide.

How do YOU know it’s time to look for employment elsewhere? Let us know what factors you rely on to propel you toward making that decision.

photo credit: Orin Optiglot

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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Ron – These are some great questions to ask yourself. About three years ago, I was considering leaving a business I helped to start to take another position. I used some of this logic to make my decision. I think you have nailed this down pretty well. Life is too short to stay in a job that doesn’t suit you anymore!

Frugal Dad

Timely post, as I’m going through some of this now myself. My problem is that I have other things going on in my life that make a job hunt an unappealing task. It appears I’ll have to stay in this rut a little longer!


Nice post, Ron. But here’s a question: what if you think you’ve made a bad mistake by going down your current career path? I was laid off after 9/11 and got a job as a lab technician. I had some experience doing this before. But, I also toyed with the idea of going into computers (networking or programming), which I did not really have background in but have loved since middle school. Fast forward 7 years later: I have an Associates in Chemical Technology now and have moved up the ladder a little to being a chemist, but dislike the work because 1) chemistry is fun as an academic subject but it did not prepare me for work that is way over my head, or 2) I’m just lazy.

How do I determine if my situation is truly #1 or #2? Changing careers may mean junking 3 years of tech school. But…my imagination always seems to go back to programming. And now I wish I had made a different decision back when it would have been easier.


Changing careers is not something to take lightly, but if you’ve discovered that you are truly dissatisfied with what you’re doing, take steps to find what you are interested in. If you, like you say, are interested in computers and programming, check with a local university or community college to see if they offer career identification strategies just to verify that this would be something you’re suited to do.

Things change when you do them for a living. Sometimes it isn’t what you thought!

Should you change careers? Only you can answer that, but if I were in your shoes, I would not want to spend my entire life doing something that didn’t appeal to me anymore. Take a night class or an online class. But don’t think anything has passed you by. The Chinese have a saying that goes something like this: “If you want a HUGE oak tree, the best time to plant one was 100 years ago. The second best time to plant one is today.”

I would recommend that you outline what it is that appeals to you about programming … big picture. Then I would break those things down into small attainable steps that will move you in that direction. Ask yourself, “What’s my next step?” and then take that step.

You may not be in a position to quit your current job cold turkey and plunge into programming, but I bet you could find some free online classes and take those. I bet you could check out every book in the library and teach yourself some of the basics. From there, not only would you be in a position to know if it really is all it’s cracked up to be, but you would be starting the foundation of making that move.

Keep me posted and if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I’ll help you all I can.


If someone was to ak my advice at the moment, I’d say they’d have to be mad to leave their job with a recession imminent – so why do I feel so much like jumping ship myself?


I`ve kept very few jobs in my life for longer than 6-9 months. My main reasons for leaving usually included boredom or not liking my co-workers or boss. Often, if there is a switch in bosses, the new one is not as considerate and I would leave. Some people say that`s flighty, but on the other hand, I`ve thoroughly enjoyed my life so far and have experience in a number of different industries . . . and I now work for myself.

Sara at On Simplicity

This is a perfect list. These questions cut to the core of how we really feel about he job, not how we think we’re supposed to feel. This is one to bookmark and keep on hand to check every quarter or so!

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