My attention span in job tenure is two to three years. Three years is the longest time I stayed at a job and the average is two. Considering the fact that I built my career during the era of lifetime employment and during the time when security in employment still meant something, I was too advanced in my career thinking (or so I like to think as an excuse). Nowadays, lifetime employment is just a Japanese management thought and security in employment is just a labour union issue. While jumping between jobs in a span of a few years was frowned upon before, it is now a smart career strategy, even a necessity to some.
Always keep your ears open for new opportunities. Constantly be on the lookout for a better career break. Keep your name in the market or on the shelf, so to speak, for people to find you and provide you with good leads. This is not about jumping ship at the first chance or having one foot in and one foot out. This is about positioning yourself well in the market while delivering the best performance at your job to keep yourself attractive outside of it. This way, you have a number of options available and will get the best offers when you need them.
Early on in my career, I was in my third year at my job as a Training Officer for a big retail chain when I felt the urge to attain something better and move to a better place. I wanted to expand my competencies and thought I should develop myself in an HR Generalist role. I started getting cranky at work; every little thing about my job suddenly annoyed me. My tasks seemed to be repetitive and boring. I was in this kind of funk for a few months, when one morning on the way to work, I had an epiphany.
Nobody was forcing me to stay at this job, and I can go anytime I wanted. What was oppressing me was neither the job nor its regimen. What was oppressing me was the thought that I had no options and I had nowhere to go. I was stuck (or so I thought). Opening my mind up to all the possibilities made the idea of quitting exciting and gave me the extra push to finish my projects and leave excellent work results behind.
Quitting is always an option—your option. The push button is in your hand. When you feel that it is time to go, clarify in your mind the reasons why it is a smart thing to do. Have three good reasons for yourself and have another three good reasons for the company to lose you. Neither you nor the company benefits from your half-engaged performance. Sometimes, the biggest favour you can give your company is to leave.
Go back to the drawing board and look at your personal vision and mission. Reassess your options, scan your environment, and revise your career plan. Review your set of values and see if leaving will get you to where you want to be. Are you closer to your long-term goal? Identify a new set of short-term objectives. Create or review your career strategies. Write an action plan.
Create an action plan. Quitting a job is an emotional and nerve-wracking decision. You will experience major separation anxiety. It will bring forth some primal fears and anxieties. Being clear on where you want to go and having a plan on how to get there makes quitting easier, positive, and productive. Being clear on how to leave your company in the best possible way creates goodwill all around. That is the best way to go—on your own terms.