Short of being handed your walking papers, there are often telltale signs that it's time to look for a new job. You haven't been promoted since the Clinton administration. The most exciting assignments are routinely handed to your peers or underlings. Your desk keeps moving farther and farther from where the action is.
But some indicators are less obvious, such as subtle shifts in an IT organization's structure that can result in career stagnation. A variety of career experts, headhunters, recruiters, CIOs and IT staffers shared their takes on when it's time to move on.
1.Your role has become marginalized.
If you're being bypassed for promotions or interesting assignments or they're consistently being offered instead to IT workers in subordinate positions, "that would be an obvious sign," says Robert Rosen, CIO at the US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and a past president of Share, an IBM user group in Chicago.
Often the handwriting is on the wall. You just need to stop, step back and read it. "If you feel like you're no longer contributing, there's a good chance you may not be," says Frank Hood, CIO at Quiznos.
2. You've stopped growing.
"If you're not learning every day, if you're not doing new things, and if you're not improving" it's time to move on says Sara Garrison, senior vice president of product and solutions development at Sabre Holdings in Texas.
Red lights should be flashing if you've effectively been in the same role for two or three years and haven't taken on any significant new challenges during that time, says Umesh Ramakrishnan, vice chairman of CTPartners, an executive recruiting firm in New York.
3. You're missing from the big picture.
Most CIOs assemble a road map of where they intend to take their organizations over the next 12 to 60 months, including the top IT/business projects they plan to work on, notes Joe Trentacosta, CIO at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative. So, if there are a lot of upcoming projects that don't include your area of expertise or in which you figure to play a minor role at best, "that's a warning sign," he says.
Further, if you've been relegated to a commodity-type IT function that offers little value to the organization or can easily be outsourced, "it's time to move on to a new opportunity," says Hans Keller, chief technology officer at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
4. You're being excluded.
If you're a CIO or other senior IT manager, the warning signs can include not being asked to participate in new business decisions or being excluded from formal or informal executive committee meetings, says Craig Urrizola, CIO at Saladino's, a California-based food distributor.
The view is equally bleak if you're an IT staffer whose input on new projects is no longer requested or is sought out on just a limited basis.
5. Your level of influence is waning.
A CIO certainly has more clout within an organization than a network engineer. But all IT professionals possess some level of influence within their work teams or at least among their own peer group. If you see your powers of persuasion shrinking, it's time to move on, Keller suggests.