It’s January, the quintessential time to start a diet, quit smoking, check your horoscope and break-up with a boyfriend. It’s also a good time to make a career change. For cleared job seekers, this is particularly true. The defense industry is finally on the rebound and many cleared contractors say their bottom lines are moving up. There’s still a lot of hesitation (we’re far from being in a confident market), but overall signs are positive. Hey – Congress even passed a budget! So if you’ve been facing flat salaries, negativity and more, it may be time to make a move. Here are four signs you should dumb your boss in 2015.
1. He never takes your calls.
Bosses are busy – I think most employees get that. But if you have a supervisor who ignores you over a period of months, that may be a sign it’s time to move on. There are multiple reasons for a boss to ignore you – some are good, some are bad. Your boss may be stretched too thin, taking on more work thanks to having fewer employees, or he may just think you’re a rock star and you don’t need any feedback. But, if you’ve specifically asked for time on your boss’ calendar or made requests that haven’t gotten a reply, it’s time for a chat. A busy boss alone isn’t a good reason to quit, but one that ignores you over the course of a career probably isn’t going to promote you either. It’s something to think about.
2. She doesn’t let you leave.
It’s a workplace, not a work house. If you’ve made requests for leave and been denied repeatedly, it’s time to look elsewhere. Work-life balance is very important. If you get a guilt trip every time you ask for a sick day or are denied vacation for arbitrary reasons, you have problems. Same goes if you’re working 12-hour work days, every day, with no end in sight. Not letting employees take leave (or leave) is a key sign of a toxic workplace. If you’ve earned the time, you should be able to take it. That said, we all have to play nice when it comes to which days we take vacation. Don’t ask for time around critical company days, and be understanding if a co-worker has made a request first. But if the answer when it comes to time off is always ‘no,’ then it’s not your request that’s the problem, it’s your boss’ perspective on life outside the office.
3. He’s a gossip.
Parents need to be the parents, and a boss needs to be the boss. A supervisor who constantly slams your co-workers is making for a volatile workplace. And you can bet he slams you when you’re not around. Be particularly aware of discriminatory comments about moms taking leave, office scandals and affairs. It’s a bad idea for you to talk about it with your co-workers, but if your boss is the one dishing every time, he’s forgotten his place, and is setting himself up for a lawsuit. A good boss will build a friendly rapport and familiarity with those under him. A bad one will create a culture of gossip and competition.
4. She’s unwilling to take it to the next level.
Does your boss have commitment issues? Is she unwilling to discuss the future? It may be a sign she doesn’t see you in it. If you’re due for an annual review or up for a raise, that’s a good time to evaluate both the company and your boss. If you’re the one doing all of the talking, and your boss seems unwilling to consider your future with the company, it’s a good time to look elsewhere. For the first time in several years many professionals are expecting a pay raise in 2015. If you’ll be asking for more money, also ask where your boss sees you in the company. Is a management position in your future? Are there opportunities for you to expand your skills? Would you benefit from professional development? Would you like to travel? Narrow down your top asks, present them to your boss, and see what she has to say. If she dodges the question or shuts you down entirely, it’s time to start playing the field.