The seven-year itch: Should I stay or should I go?

marilynmonroe.jpgMany bloggers are posting their resolutions this time of year.

I’m skipping that ritual, but after reading Tom Johnson’s post today on lists, I had to rise to the occasion and enumerate something.

According to Tom, the best formula is an attention-grabbing topic and image (enter Marilyn Monroe stage left), a common problem, and proposed list of solutions.

Here goes:

I’ve been working at the same place for over 7 years. That’s not much in “gray flannel suit” years, but it equals close to 25 in “the world is flat” years. (“And 49 in dog years!” says Abby.)

The career advice columnists warn about getting stale if you stay in one job too long. Is it time to move on or should I work at pumping some excitement back into my current job? If I decide to leave, what do I need to do to prepare?

Hence, two lists with 5 (a magical number) suggestions.

5 ways to rekindle the fire

  1. Look ahead.
    Don’t dwell on the “old days” because they are gone.
  2. Build new relationships with people at your workplace who inspire you.
    (Hint: No one inspires you? It’s time to leave.)
  3. Leverage your seniority.
    In many cases, higher seniority workers have greater value because of their tacit knowledge. Chances are, your management wants to keep you and will respond to reasonable demands. At last year’s performance evaluation, I asked for an office with a window. Bingo! Let the sun shine in.
  4. Move into a different role.
    You can combine of the advantages of getting a whole new job—different kinds of work, new challenges, new coworkers, new boss—with the advantages of staying on—knowing where the skeletons are hidden, who the go-to people are, and who’s got the best candy jar.
  5. Move out of or into management.
    Sometimes managers like where they work, but they just don’t like the hassles of being a manager. Likewise, some worker bees are yearning to move up out of the trenches. In most cases, moving out is easier to achieve than moving in.

5 steps to breaking out

  1. Update your resume. (Duh!)
  2. Put your resume out there.
    Post it on,,, etc.
  3. Apply for a job you are not quite qualified for just to practice selling yourself.
    You may be surprised and get an offer.
  4. Follow the job listings so you know what employers are looking for.
    Try some new keywords in your job search that describe what you’d like to do.
  5. Make up your dream job, then get someone to hire you to do it.
    Sounds crazy, but that’s exactly the message in the Bible on career change What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles. It was first published in the early 70s and has been updated yearly ever since.

Other suggestions in either category??


One Response to The seven-year itch: Should I stay or should I go?

  1. Tom Johnson says:

    I attended a panel discussion at the last STC Summit in Minneapolis that helped me make some recent decisions. One of the panelists said her biggest regret careerwise was not moving onto another job when she felt her current job wasn’t going anywhere. She encouraged people to keep moving forward when they’re not happy in their current situation.

    I think, if one’s job looks like a dead end, get out and move forward. But if the job has all the potential of any other job, it may be a grass-is-greener situation.

    Nice list!

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