Auckland-based life and career coach Allison Fisher worked in the corporate world for 14 years and admits she stayed in the job too long.
"I work for myself now and love the flexibility and work-life balance," says Fisher. "In the corporate world, it was sometimes difficult to put boundaries in place and say no to working late."
She worked in human resource management and recruitment within the banking, finance and service sectors and saw many people who stayed in jobs for a very long time.
"It's about assessing what value people continue to add," says Fisher. "In some areas, it's healthy to have long-serving employees who have organisational knowledge — particularly in customer-facing roles. But in the marketing side it could be healthy to have fresh thinking more often."
Her advice when you're feeling fed up is to focus first on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours in your current role.
"Are you feeling unhappy, joyless, frustrated? Are you getting annoyed easily, watching the clock at work or critical of yourself in the job?" says Fisher. "Think about what you would be doing if you were confident that you could do it?"
She advises to consider what you would change in your current job — is it your manager or colleagues, the work itself, the industry, or are you just bored? She says people often do their jobs well and get into the justification arguments around it being "not too bad".
"At the end of the day, are you getting joy out of your job and are you enjoying it?" says Fisher. "That really needs to go to the top of the list, because there's only a matter of time until it will impact you physically, mentally and emotionally if you're not enjoying your job."
It's also important to recognise whether it's time for a change or whether you're just in a slump, so she advises having a timeline such as thinking: "I'll give it a go for now, but will review how I'm feeling at the end of the year."
During that time, it's important to focus on the good things about your job to get you through, such as asking what you're going to enjoy today, or this month.
If it's still a niggling feeling that you're in the wrong job, then you can talk to your company and see how they may be able to help with new projects or a new role, or whether it's time to seek work elsewhere.
Changes at the top of a company, such as a new chief executive, often mean the old ways of doing things needs to change or a new skill set is required. So, sometimes employers are the ones who decide you've been in a job too long and "restructuring" happens.
"It's a shame to lose all the knowledge people have built up, but change is continuous in organisations now — it's what happens," says Fisher. "Some people can develop and learn the new skills and if the new strategy is shared, why not give them that chance?"
Ideally, she recommends rolling out a new strategy over a 12-month period, so people have a chance to think about how they can develop within the new structure, rather than expect people to accept change overnight.
"Some leaders think of their people as commodities, rather than people as a whole — they forget that employees can be retrained and developed," says Fisher.
She says the cost of recruiting a new person is high and warns that organisations don't necessarily "look beneath the hood" of their current employees to see their potential.
"Many people decide to move on because their potential isn't being tapped," says Fisher. "But, I know organisations with a budget for external training that isn't being proactively talked about and used."
And if you're an employer with someone who has been in the job too long and is no longer productive, it's important to face the issue.
"Many organisations won't deal with issues and it's human nature to avoid speaking about difficult topics, but, quite often, people prefer honesty," says Fisher. "There will come a point where there will need to be a tough conversation."
There are signs for bosses when their employees are no longer engaged — such as them coming in late, leaving early and managers generally not knowing where they are during the day, as well as changes to their patterns of behaviour, for example, not contributing in meetings and not being as social with their workmates. There may also be a drop in productivity or the quality of their work.
Change can be hard, so if you've decided to give your job one last chance, notice your mind talk and what you focus on about your job, to try to make work more enjoyable.
"Are you concentrating on what you don't have or what you do have? That's the number one question," says Fisher. "Success creates enjoyment, so think about what you can do to make your job more enjoyable and therefore create more success."
Sometimes, though, it's not the job you dislike, so much as being exhausted and needing a holiday — especially if you're in a role that is demanding and taking up lots of your time after hours.
"It's hard to enjoy any job when you don't have that time off," says Fisher, who suggests trying to recognise when you're feeling tired and taking some time off to re-energise before you throw away your job.
National staff turnover rates for 2018 were high at 20.5 per cent, so, if you're looking for change, you're not alone. Remember that friends and family may have their own stories to share that can help you make your mind up about your job.