7 tell tales signs that show it may be time to invest elsewhere
By Maite Barón, CEO, The Corporate Escape™

Maite Baron
Maite Baron

Financial professionals know that a regular investment review is not only prudent, but essential if you are to get maximum return from your assets and shield yourself from future losses.
Yet when it comes to evaluating the personal investment they’re making in their own career, many aren’t quite as diligent as they should be.

Perhaps that’s understandable. After all, there’s often a natural reluctance to give up what we know for something different and uncertain. The massive investment in time and effort they’ve made in getting to where they are is a burden that leaves many who could and should be making important career changes sheltering in the perceived safety of their present employment.

That leaves them exposed in a rapidly changing world of work, as well as guilty of the cardinal mistake of pouring even more time and effort into a job that will never repay their investment.

If you feel that you may be in that position, while you don’t need to do anything radical, or make a final decision about your future, it is worth at least exploring your options, something you can do while still in your job.

In fact, it’s something you can begin to do right now by assessing the risks you face in your current position, the potential for growth that it offers and the ‘return on your investment’ you’ll get, if you continue to stay where you are. In other words, what’s really in it for you?

After this, if you’re still not sure whether it’s time to move on, here are seven signals that it may well be time to cut your losses, close out your current career position and look for another opportunity that’s going to give you a much better ROI.

1. When it comes to stress, you’re on an upward trend.
You’re exhibiting more and more of the classic signs, including irritability, poor sleeping patterns and constant fatigue. Don’t dismiss these symptoms as ‘just going with the territory’. If you suffer from them for any extended period, you will put yourself physically, emotionally and mentally at both short and long-term risk. You probably know colleagues who are already casualties; learn from their mistakes and you get different results.
2. You’re placing an increasing reliance on inappropriate ‘support mechanisms’.
For instance, maybe your position has become a little more ‘liquid’ than just the couple of drinks you once needed to help you unwind at the end of a long hard day. Add smoking into the mix, and you could be sitting on a potential health time-bomb.
3. Your personal market conditions aren’t getting any better.
Every day seems miserable, much the same as the one before, only worse, with never ending commutes, long hours and unrelenting pressure from a job that no longer gives you any pleasure at all. On top of this, you’re also having to compete against ‘newcomers’ without your experience but willing to take less for doing the ‘same job’. That leaves you vulnerable.
4. The fundamentals of your relationships are becoming increasingly strained.
You’ve little time to give to others. When you have, you’re too stressed or tired to enjoy any time off. ‘Me’ time is absent from your daily routine and your irritability is increasingly showing day by day.
5. You’re aware of the opportunity cost.
When work is all-consuming, there’s no space to do anything better or more enjoyable with your time and energy. You know that’s blinkering your view of the world, which means that you’re missing out on chances that could be yours, if only you weren’t too busy to notice and grab them.
6. You’re also suffering from an unremitting sense of dread and uncertainty about the future.
As far as you’re concerned, there’s only one direction you can see things going and that’s down. But despite being in your own long-term bear market, you hang on in there, waiting for things to get better. However, with all the redundancies that are happening around you know for sure there is no such thing as job security any more – whatever you do, no matter high up the pecking order you are. And if you know that, then what steps are you taking to protect your professional future? Probably none.
7. You feel as though you’ve lost control in and of your life.
The predominant feeling you experience constantly is that things are moving too fast, that life’s got you by the throat, and not the other way round. Despite all of this, you can’t see what else to do, so you keep on doing the same, too scared to do something about it.
But staying put isn’t a way forward. It’s not an answer.
Increasingly, taking charge of your life means getting out of the rat race and setting up on your own. That way you take back control from others.
As the retirement age rises along with job uncertainty, it’s really worth thinking about your current position and whether you should get out before you’re forced to by circumstance.
You may be asking yourself if you really could set something up on your own after the structure of a corporate career? Of course you can.
In fact, properly directed, your talents and experience have equipped you in many ways to be a success as a business owner, or as a ‘New Entrepreneur’, someone who is able to create their own destiny outside the organisational straightjacket.

What do you need to do first?
Just because you’ve invested so much time and effort getting to where you are right now, doesn’t mean you should keep on doing it. So start to believe that there are opportunities out there waiting for you and allow yourself to ‘think the unthinkable’ and create some time and space to start looking for them.
If life’s not what you want it to be, then cut your losses, get out and find a better way to invest in yourself.
By Maite Barón ‘author of ‘Corporate Escape: The Rise of the New Entrepreneur’. You can download ‘The 5 Keys To Help You Take Control Of Your Working Life™ – Leaving Uncertainty, Confusion and Fear Behind’ here: http://maitebaron.com/ln/gbf/09_13