This question is the tip of an iceberg with a lot of substance beneath the answer.
Whether or not you’re happy at work typically depends on a combination of practical needs and motivations. On the practical side, money, hours and travel are critical but relatively simple to assess. Overall career aspirations are generally more important than money longer term.
So what does your dream job look like? Have a think about where you want to be in the future say three years from now. Is your current job taking you toward that destination or further away? What’s stopping you achieving what you want? Can you do something about this or is it all down to the place you’re working?
Let’s get to the heart of the matter with a few deeper questions:
- Are you working on what you want to focus on? If the tech or genre is not aligned with your passions you might need to accept the need to move.
- Is your job keeping your skills up to date? Future-proofing your skills is a career-long task. You can develop new things in your own time but the the value of working experience is huge to employers.
- What projects are on the horizon? What you are looking for might be coming up already, this is something you can easily discuss with your manager.
- Is the environment right for you? Even the best projects can feel empty if you are not enjoying the studio. This could be anything from crunch to how well you get on with your boss.
- Do you feel valued? Not only financially but getting the recognition for your contribution is of huge worth to most people.
- What would make you happier? Analyse the work-life balance adding time, money, travel and stress in to that equation.
- Are you growing? Sometimes being fully utilised is enough, but if you are unsupported or unheard you might need to find a new way to step out of your comfort zone.
If you’re struggling with ‘what motivates me?’ use the tried and tested method of writing a list for and against a job move. Note all the positives and the negatives that come to mind about your job and mull over them, acknowledging how you feel about each point.
It’s absolutely the right thing to do to give your manager the opportunity to support you in your career rather than your resignation being the first time your boss hears that you’re not happy.
Once you’ve identified your drivers you can readdress the question- can your core motivations be met where you are? You might need to have a chat with your boss about this to get a full picture. Broaching this subject with your supervisor can feel like a daunting prospect, but a bit of bravery and a frank and positive conversation could save you a lot of upheaval if you can find what you want by making a few changes in your current role.
It’s absolutely the right thing to do to give your manager the opportunity to support you in your career rather than your resignation being the first time your boss hears that you’re not happy. Come to the table with a view to making a positive contribution, highlight the pro’s from your list and talk about your con’s sensitively. If you believe there is opportunity where you are then demonstrate that you are committed to doing what you can to make these goals happen. Look at this discussion as a way to make sure that your personal goals are aligned with the objective of the business and work openly with your manager on setting your objectives.
If there really is no opportunity for fulfilment where you are, make sure you choose your next opportunity carefully to avoid the same frustrations somewhere else. This means being picky about your next job, and being frank with your agent about what you want. Be realistic and balance this with your skills, abilities and your competition in the job market. Use the eyes and ears of your Recruiter to help you do this.
So when is the best time to make a move? Answering this question for yourself is a career assessment process. Even if you’ve not even thought of a move, it’s a healthy exercise to go through from time to time to make sure you’re in the right place for you.