Should I quit my job to rest?

Job cycle: 7 typical phases in every job

Every job is different: work environment, colleagues, boss, tasks, expectations. Nevertheless, almost all employees go through a typical job cycle - in seven phases, according to a regular pattern. That sounds strange, but it offers enormous opportunities. By becoming aware of which phases there are and which job cycle we are currently in, acute frustration or waiting for a career change take on a completely different weight. And what's more: We can steer and strategically advance our professional career in a more targeted manner. From cycle to cycle.

Unfortunately, that rarely happens. Most employees let themselves be drifted or remain in a position that suggests security and forget about developing themselves. That is why we show you the 7 typical phases in every job and explain why job cycles and job changes are a natural way of managing your own career ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Are we wrongly clinging to a job?

Most employees want one thing above all from their job in addition to satisfaction and decent pay: security. First and foremost, to secure yourself financially. After all, bills and rent have to be paid, loans paid and livelihoods made.

Often, in addition to the salary, it is also about mental and emotional security and stability. Humans are creatures of habits. Open-ended and long-term employment relationships create routines. They in turn give us the comfortable feeling that it could go on and on. The daily grind also has a certain cosiness: We could change, but don't have to.

The uncertainty, on the other hand, scares us: it could work, but it doesn't have to. And so the desire for certainty and security lulls us dangerously and often leads to a career dead end. Instead of taking the risk of change and personal development, we stick to a job that has not fulfilled us for a long time, perhaps even makes us unhappy.

It is better to continue as before, because it is used to taking advantage of opportunities. Too bad.

Feelings that something is no longer right at work are veritable warning signs. Perhaps you are currently in a typical phase of the job cycle in which a professional reorientation would be the better step. Making them aware of this is already 50 percent of the solution.

Job cycle: 7 typical phases

Admittedly, it sounds a bit simple to divide every job into seven phases. However, simplification and categorization help to recognize the big picture behind the everyday, small and small, and to regain an overview. This is also how the job cycle should be understood: you will neither be able to set the clock accordingly, nor are the individual phases set in stone. There are too many individual factors for this and therefore differ in their duration.

In spite of this individuality, such a pattern can always be recognized in countless careers and careers, which essentially consists of seven phases. Pretty much every employee experiences it in his or her profession or job. Therefore, we will go into it in detail below:

1. Enthusiasm and motivation

It's that exhilaration after you've signed an employment contract. The efforts of the job search have paid off, someone knows you, your experience, knowledge and skills and has chosen you over all other applicants and decided that you are the best person for an open position.

It is difficult to put into words the motivation with which one spends the first time in a job. Everything is exciting, every task is tackled with the utmost vigor, you want to get to know every colleague, understand the working methods and processes and get involved in every question.

Exhaustion or problems? Not at this stage! You could uproot trees and above all you want to show the boss and all employees that they were not mistaken about you and that you can not only meet expectations, but exceed them by far.

Typical signs for this job cycle:
➠ Sustained motivation, euphoria and zest for action, a good mood, excitement and anticipation for what is to come.

2. Disenchantment and doubt

At some point the initial euphoria will evaporate. Everyday life returns and you may have to admit that the new job is not all positive. You encounter the first problems or disagreements and realize: The new job is also sometimes stressful and nerve-wracking.

Disenchantment follows the realization that some high expectations of the new position cannot be met. Some things are different, better. But not everything. There are also new downsides for this. The question arises here and there: Was the step here the right one?

Typical signs for this job cycle:
➠ Disenchantment, routines, thoughts about the past, insecurity and occasional self-doubt.

3. Adaptation and learning

In the third phase, you get used to the job. You learn what is important; know what requirements are made and how you can meet them. You also get to know your colleagues better and better, have gone beyond the initial small talk and may have made private friendships.

You have overcome the short-term low of disillusionment and come to terms with the circumstances. To do this, you identify more and more with the position and with the employer. You now want to prove to the boss that you are one of the top performers. You are a solid pillar in the company - further advancement including more responsibility cannot be ruled out.

Typical signs for this job cycle:
➠ Positive mood, ambition, arrangement with the environment.

4. Trust and constancy

At this point, you are not only an integral part of the team, but are in the middle of the routine. It works for you: You have a clear field of activity and areas of responsibility that you take on and in which you regularly present good performance and success. Fortunately, this does not escape your boss, who has words of praise for it.

In this phase you will develop a lot of trust - from customers, colleagues and executives who will notice that you can be relied on and your performance is convincing. If you have any questions, they will be happy to turn to you, your specialist status in the company will grow.

However, you are not completely satisfied with yourself and the situation: You know that you are actually able to do more and want to show this too. That is why you are now increasingly looking for opportunities to become more involved.

Typical signs for this job cycle:
➠ Security, constant performance, recognition, appreciation, inner drive to do more.

5. Achievements and growth

This is the peak of every job cycle. You are at the zenith of your productivity, delivering one success after another, which is reflected in salary increases or promotions. You become a role model for colleagues and are given ever greater responsibility.

The success confirms your attitude and your course - and so you carry on routinely. Here and there a few training courses, there a special project. You are also one of the makers in your private sphere and can afford a lot more than others. Feel good.

Typical signs for this job cycle:
➠ Success, growing responsibility, motivation, recognition, pride in one's own achievements and achievements.

6. Decline and Desires

Once at the top, there is unfortunately only the way down. At some point the successes that have almost become a habit do not materialize. Or they can no longer be increased. Your own achievements stagnate. You can still draw on your hard-earned reputation. The status balances out some things. But contentment sinks inside.

Where there was previously a high level of motivation, an increasingly stronger feeling of doubt arises. The job doesn't seem to fit anymore. Is that up to you - or is it the options? They secretly start looking for ways out - internally and externally. The desire for a career change is growing.

However, the impulse for change is still opposed by the need for security. After all, the job is well paid. You would have to rebuild the status that you have here elsewhere. Why the effort? Perhaps there are more convenient alternatives ...

Typical signs for this job cycle:
➠ Stagnating performance, growing dissatisfaction, doubts, looking for change, defending one's status, fear of failure.

7. Conclusion and consequences

At this point you have definitely passed the zenith. The descent has begun and can no longer be hidden. The new and hungry people have long since moved up from below and saw on the chair, there are hardly any alternatives up or to the side. Now you have to face the harsh reality: you will no longer be happy in this job. Instead, every day is associated with more stress. The work becomes more and more of a burden. And 50 percent of that are politics and internal intrigues anyway.

The longer this last phase lasts, the worse the possible consequences. If you force yourself to stay in a job that makes you unhappy for a long period of time, you will soon no longer achieve any noteworthy performance. And what's worse, he or she is putting his or her health at risk.

With increasing age, the risk of a third-party dismissal by the employer increases. Here the maker of yore becomes the hunted and the victim. Fatal! What remains are the stresses and bitterness that you take with you even into future work relationships, where they can become a stumbling block.

Typical signs for this job cycle:
➠ Lack of motivation and drive, frustration, fear, stress-related problems, resignation.

Job cycle: The 7 phases as PDF for download

To save, print and remind you again and again, we have made the job cycle with its seven typical phases available for you to download as a PDF document. Put the job cycle in a place where you can keep reminding yourself of the points. So you can always check for yourself which phase you are currently in:

Download job cycle (PDF)

Job Cycles: Using Each Phase Correctly

Please do not misunderstand the job cycle above: It is not about robbing you of any motivation right from the start or showing that the fun at the job and the satisfaction with the work are only temporary and evaporate after a few years.

Rather, the job cycle should be an example for you that you are currently doing like many other employees. All of them are either in one or the other phase, which can also take longer and shorter times. The job cycle also makes it clear that you have to be active in the last two phases in particular. Wait and see is not an option.

Hope is not a strategy

Rather, you should deal with a job change in good time. Internal or external is secondary. But this works better in the fifth or sixth phase - from a position of strength - than in the seventh phase as a kind of emergency exit.

This has several advantages:

  • On your résumé, it is ALWAYS better to take the next step in your career on your own initiative than if you were forced to do so. For example, because you were given notice by your employer. Or because you need to fill a growing gap on your résumé.
  • The second advantage: you avoid all negative consequences of the last phase. You do not expose yourself to the constant stress, act before the dissatisfaction covers everything else and face new challenges and tasks.

Make yourself aware that changing jobs is not a sign of weakness, or an admission that you can no longer make it. Rather, they are a conscious, professional decision. You are still behind the wheel, acting proactively and independently. Consequently, your successes are no coincidence or fate, but self-made. Chapeau!

Of course, the attitude cannot prevent uncertainties, fears or doubts, nor is there a guarantee of success. But there are even less if you remain passive and hope that everything will change for the better at some point. Seldom or never does it.

Luck is not a coincidence or a stroke of luck. It is also done.

Job cycle: do you leave when it is most beautiful?

You know the saying: “You should go when it's most beautiful.” But does that also apply in a professional context? We think so - and therefore encourage you to the following thoughts:

As a rule, it does not occur to anyone to look for a new job when things are going particularly well. Why also? Things are looking up, your career is still making some progress - and somehow you want to enjoy it and savor it.

Precisely at this point, however, there is a danger: Success lulls you. This is called the “Icarus effect” in technical jargon.

All too quickly we begin to rest on our successes. Or to be satisfied with what we have achieved. As if you could withdraw from this account forever. Dangerous!

Not just because we're missing out on so many opportunities. We often saw on the branch that we are currently sitting comfortably on.

Whoever leaves when it's at its best (even when it's difficult) keeps all the trumps in hand. You go on a search for new challenges with increased self-confidence and the image of a real high performer. It is the perfect starting point for moving forward by changing jobs.

Study: job changes make you happier

The benefits of changing jobs have now been proven by several scientific studies. For example, the management researcher Shoshana Dobrow Riza from the London School of Economics was able to show in her studies: The longer the employment (with an employer), the less satisfaction with the professional situation. Regular job changes, on the other hand, make employees happier.

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