“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” – Lewis Carroll

Most of us have experienced that point in a job or career where your workplace isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps you crave more of a challenge, you’re seeking more validation as a valuable employee, or maybe personality clashes are coming out between you and others at work. Whatever it is, there is discord within your work realm and something needs to change.

If your work culture allows for a constructive conversation with your superior(s), perhaps it’s time to meet with them and discuss your concerns, wishes, and expectations. They likely won’t know the reason for your unhappiness unless you explicitly tell them. If your concerns are expressed thoughtfully, a reasonable employer would take them to heart and work with you to reach a solution best for all parties. Let’s face it – your happiness and productivity helps them achieve their bottom line.

However, some employees may not be as fortunate to engage in an open conversation with their employers, and could be suffocating in a stagnant or even toxic environment without the tools to fix it.

Whether you are on one end of this spectrum or the other, or just gainfully employed and open to opportunity, here are some ideas that everyone can consider when contemplating their workplace satisfaction.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch

Change can be exciting or absolutely terrifying. Preparing to talk to your boss about re-examining your position/status, or actively seeking new employment can be a nerve-wracking process, even if this initiation of change is by your own volition. However, growth and advancement don’t occur without some discomfort.

Changing positions under the same employer is not as much of a culture shock as changing companies, but it is still a major adjustment. New routines, conceivably even a new department or supervisor with new expectations will all take some getting used to.

With a new job brings a new environment, a new set of coworkers and superiors, new routines, challenges, and more. Your whole work life is essentially upended, but it shouldn’t be long before you get a solid grip on your new responsibilities.

Many people seek change because they desire advancement in their field. It is up to you whether it is worth negotiating a new arrangement within your current workplace, or exploring new options outside of your company.

This is your chance to start anew, to employ and expand upon the conglomeration of workplace skills you’ve acquired throughout the years. It is also your chance to impress upon a new and captive audience with your unique qualifications and value as a proactive employee.

“That’s the whole point of life, right? To meet new people.”  – Sherman Alexie

Whether you change companies or just a department, you’ll be the fresh face in the mix and everyone will be curious about you. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, make new connections, and expand your networking possibilities. While it may sound premature to scope out other possibilities when you’ve just begun a new position, the point is to establish yourself in a positive way and prepare a foundation for future leads.

However, don’t forget about your former coworkers or team as well. If not for friendship, you may want to stay in touch with at least a few of them to keep an ear out about other opportunities they may encounter or even offer you. You never know what old or new connections may bring into your life. In any case, it’s always best to keep your mind and the lines of communication open for any news your network of people can bring.

“There is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come back with some sort of balance or sacrifice.”  – Simon Sinek

Often times, a change in job or career is led by incentives such as an increase in salary, benefits, flex time, workplace flexibility or even just personal fulfillment. Finding a position that meets your criteria is gold.

However, there is always a counterweight to our decisions. While a new or prospective job may boast all of the bells and whistles, don’t forget to consider what you are giving up as well. At your current position, you may have spent years establishing your reputation regarding your work ethic, field expertise, maybe even earning senior status over a team of employees. Your new position could require you to build these intangibles from the ground up. Are you ready and willing to work for this?

As intimidating as it may sound, considering these factors can help you weigh in on what’s important to you in your career. If you’re ready for the next step and a new challenge, this can help put your new direction in perspective. You may need to exert extra effort to establish a positive reputation in the new workplace.

Don’t let change scare you away from a great opportunity. Just remember to remain realistic about all of your options to ensure you are truly taking advantage of the best opportunities.

“If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk.”  – Paulo Coelho

After much reflection and weighing in on the positives and negatives, it is ultimately up to you to make your decision. While remaining in your current position may not be all that bad, a proactive approach to your career will ultimately reap the biggest benefits and fulfillment for you.

Consider consulting with an industry-specific recruiter to help take a closer look at your possibilities. Not only can they give you a broader perspective of your position in the industry, but you are freer to discuss possibilities with an expert without potentially compromising your status in your current workplace.

“It’s the possibility that keeps me going, not the guarantee.”  – Nicholas Sparks