Here are a few signs that it is time to start thinking about changing your job:
The good news is, there are tons of opportunities for chemists everywhere, both in traditional R&D/Lab roles and non-traditional roles. Consider a different function within the same organization, if possible. Once you know the products and processes, it'll be easy for you to transfer over to something different like sales/marketing, regulatory or project management. Such a transition often comes with a bigger title and more responsibilities making it a win-win situation.
For most of us who are employed in chemistry or related science fields, an ideal job is interesting, challenging, rewarding, and provides opportunity to make important accomplishments that add value to the organization we work for. Not surprisingly, those job descriptors have a very high correlation with job satisfaction. However, our jobs often involve varying degrees of stress, frustration, conflict, time pressure, and work overload that can greatly detract from job satisfaction. I believe that the key to knowing when it is time to leave a job is understanding the short term and long term balance between these positive and negative attributes for your current position.
During my career, when I have considered whether it was time to leave a job, I have asked myself a few questions to determine if it was really time to leave:
I’d re-phrase the question to ask, “How will I know when it is time to start looking for my next role?” Ideally, you have been thinking about what you might like to do next, gathering information and building skills to move you toward your next step.
You will know it is time to start actively pursuing a new role when your current job no longer excites you, or when you feel there are no further opportunities to grow or learn.
This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.
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