How to Know When It's Time to Switch, Pivot, or Quit
November 9, 2018
When I decided to quit a highly-coveted sports entertainment PR position to write a book and travel the world, most people thought I had lost it. Who would dare to make such a gutsy decision with little to no security?
A few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought the answer would be me.
I had been raised on the idea of finding total security in life: the good job, the steady income, the 401k, the health insurance, the works! But when I finally secured all of that, it didn’t make me feel secure at all—it made me feel lost. I desperately knew that something in my life needed to change, and because it was the place that I spent most of my waking hours, it was likely my job that had to go.
That’s when I knew: I either had to Switch, Pivot, or Quit.
At its core, making a Switch, Pivot, or Quit is all about change—recognizing that something is no longer working in your favor and then taking action to go from where you are to where you want to be.
After going through my personal Switch, Pivot, or Quit transition, I realized in looking back that there were key signs that could have helped me sooner—if only I’d noticed them.
Although the signs may not be in-your-face obvious, you will likely recognize immediately if they apply to you and your circumstance.
If you’re feeling a need for change, you’re not alone. You don’t need to have it all figured out before making such a revelation. The reality is that an ambitious person will likely feel a need to level up in their professional life every few years, which is more natural than we think.
Here are some signs it might be time for you to have your own Switch, Pivot, or Quit moment.
1. Feeling Discouraged Daily
When thoughts like "Why should I?" or "It doesn’t matter anyway" become the norm, it can be a glaring sign that you are in need of change.
The feeling of “Why should I bother?” begins to creep in when you have been passed over, undervalued, and disappointed one too many times. When your personal ambition outweighs the companies implied vision for you, then it is easy to become discouraged.
The good news is that you can find the positive in your discouraged feelings. The presence of such feelings means that you are still driven enough to want better for yourself. Your fire for success is not gone.
2. Your Attitude Changes
If the commentary from friends and family is such that you have been acting different, maybe even distant, it’s an indicator that your professional life may be creeping into your personal life. Interactions outside of work should not be largely determined by what happens or does not happen at work. But your attitude outside the office can become negatively affected by your 9-5 when it’s time for a Switch, Pivot or Quit.
Think: Are you now distant and removed where you used to be engaged and the life of the party? Do you get agitated with those who care about you when they ask simple questions, especially related to your job?
Being in an environment that is no longer favorable for you will eventually impact you and potentially bring out the worst in you rather than the best in you. This is where we have an option to take our power back and begin identifying opportunities to change our outlook, which will change our behavior and ultimately change our circumstance.
3. Lack of Professional Advancement
Meeting professional goals or reaching specific benchmarks for success feels good. Being recognized by your peers and professional community provides confidence that you are valued and worthy of acknowledgement.
On the other hand, consistently being passed over for promotions, awards and opportunities signals a lack of perceived value in your person or the work that you deliver.
There are many reasons why you may not get what you feel you deserve out of your professional environment. Unfortunately, there are instances where none of those reasons have anything to do with you or your output. It may not feel fair, but it may be your reality.
I eventually learned that staying in a situation for too long where you are experiencing a lack of professional advancement will eventually begin to negatively impact your self-esteem. Unfortunately, I did it for years as do many people out of fear of shaking up what is comfortable.
When you realize a pattern, you can only blame yourself if you continue to allow yourself to be undervalued or underutilized. You can take action by taking inventory of your skills and making a plan to shop around said skills to people and companies that will value them and you.
4. You’re More Excited Outside of Work
If your side-hustle, drinks with friends, even a trip to the grocery store excites you more than the duties of the day job—then you’re over it. If you would rather be anywhere but where you are supposed to be, or doing anything other than your designated professional responsibilities, then you owe it to yourself to honor the truth in your feelings.
Your interests can and will change, but it’s up to you to recognize and assess said changes. We feed off of our engagement with the things that interest us, so a lack of interest will eventually cause negative feelings.
This is an opportunity to assess your skills and take note of what excites you outside of your current responsibilities. Survey friends to help identify strengths that you may have overlooked. Try to uncover if the lack of interest is situational, related to the specifics of the company or management, or is it personal, a result of your individual interests changing.
Change can be intimidating. Change can also be tricky if you are unsure of the initial steps to take to maximize your efforts. I always say that before you make big changes in your life, you need to make sure that you understand you—in other words, you need to do the personal development work to avoid making choices that will not serve you in the long run.
Gauging how you’ve been feeling and if you notice these signs will help you understand where your head’s at. And, once you see a change is in order, that’s when you get the chance to ask yourself: Should I switch, pivot, or quit?
Read next: How A Career Break Changed My Life