As admins, we all begin new jobs with open minds and the best of intentions. We want to learn everything there is to know, create good professional relationships with our executive and colleagues, and show up for work every day knowing that we’re a valued member of the team.
But sometimes, as the months and years pass, things change. Maybe you’re no longer happy in your position because you feel undervalued and unappreciated. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your job and need new challenges and opportunities. Or maybe you just want a fresh start someplace new. Regardless of the reason, you might start to wonder, “Is it time to change jobs?”
So, what do you do when this happens?
Sometimes it can be solved by chatting with your executive, practicing some focused self-care, or eating half a pint of chocolate ice cream. Other times, the only solution is to look for a new job. The following are some scenarios where changing jobs maybe your best option.
The Environment is Toxic
When I worked corporately, I supported a really good executive. Unfortunately, he was the only thing that made the job tolerable. It was the first time I encountered workplace bullying, and I began to dread walking through the doors each morning.
Still, I tried my hardest. I worked with HR and the bullying co-worker. I meticulously documented everything over the course of 18 months. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, nothing changed. The environment was toxic, and I knew I was just beating my head against the wall, so I made the decision to look for other opportunities.
None of this is to say that you should head for the door at the first sign of conflict. In fact, being able to work through the conflict can make you a stronger admin. But if you’ve availed yourself of every resource, assessed how you may be contributing to the situation, and sought help and advice from your higher-ups with little or no result, leaving might be your only option.
You’re Overworked and Undervalued
At another corporate job, I had been given more responsibilities and was finding myself unable to keep pace. I was doing the duties of two people in two very different roles: developing marketing materials for a major insurance company while still being responsible for my regular admin duties.
I went to my managers, explained my situation, and offered some solutions. Could we hire someone to take over my admin duties? Could we change my title to reflect the work I was now doing? Was there room in the budget to give me a salary more commensurate with my new workload? The answer was “no” across the board. Although I enjoyed the work, I left the company. It wasn’t worth running myself ragged and dealing with burnout. (After I left the company, I heard that they ended up hiring two people to replace me, which was validation that I’d made the right choice.)
In this situation, the first step is always to talk to your managers. Come armed with several potential solutions and a detailed list of what you do each day. (You might consider tracking your time and tasks for a week or so before the meeting.) If a resolution can be reached, great! If not, you need to decide if you’re willing to stick with it or look elsewhere.
It’s Just Not Working Out
Sometimes, there really isn’t one single thing you can put your finger on, but you know in your heart that the job just isn’t right for you. Maybe it’s a personality conflict with a manager, a merger or acquisition that changes the culture and climate of the organization, or just a result of you growing and changing on both a personal and a professional level.
Regardless of why you decide to leave your job, it’s important to properly prepare for your departure. If possible, find a new position before you quit – it’s far easier to get a job when you have a job. Make sure your professional portfolio and resume are up to date. Give proper notice (two weeks is standard, although it can vary by industry).
Consider having an exit interview with your executive or HR department so you can politely voice your concerns. When you frame it as an attempt to help them make a better culture for your replacement as opposed to just a gripe session, you’ll be seen as the respected professional you are!
Have you ever left a job due to a bad manager or work environment? What happened, and was it the right decision? Let us know in the comments or email us at AdminSuccess@AllThingsAdmin.com!
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.