Is it time to change jobs?
I was teaching a “Personal Branding” conference and someone from the audience asked the following: “Antonio, when do we know if it’s time to change jobs?”
At first, I thought I couldn’t provide them with much guidance since there isn’t really a general rule valid for everyone. Each person has different motivations, ambitions, worries… Therefore, the right moment to decide to make a change in our professional career is motivated by different factors depending on each person.
Nevertheless, I snapped out of it and gave my opinion, which isn’t good or bad. And it doesn’t necessarily have to work well for everyone. These would be my tips regarding this matter:
1. Search for a change if… you don’t feel your are aligned with your company’s culture, if they don’t meet your values. This is the most important factor to be taken into account in case of any change. Because, in the sort-term, you might change your role, your boss or salary, but it will be much more difficult to change an entire company’s culture.
2. Search for a change if… even being aligned with the culture of your company, you feel you stopped learning, that your are not having fun, that you have no challenges, that you are not developing yourself. If you are sure that no internal movement is going to change that, if you have that feeling of having accomplished a cycle, the love has gone, and neither the company offers any learning nor you offer any value to the company… release the hand break and go ahead to get a new project that makes you feel good.
Currently, there are hundreds of professionals that are not aligned, they are understimated in their current companies. They can find a better match on the market. With the objective of finding the best fit to the job, those professionals reach firms like ours and then both parts build a new prosperous path.
Needless to say that changing just for the sake of it will not ensure a better result… I have met many cases of professionals that took decisions that made them enter into a turnover spiral and end up being penalized by the market. The mistakes in the decision taken might be summed up in the following “Dont’s”:
Do not change jobs if… 1 and 2 don’t apply. That happens when you are culturally aligned and you feel you have a challenge / development / positive environment, but the company offers a salary improvement with no hierarchycal change. Any decision based only in the economic criteria is not just a risky decision but a bad decision.
Do not change jobs if… 1 and 2 don’t apply and they offer a salary improvement + hierarchy change… but you haven’t researched about the company that you might join. Everything might look amazing but before your “Yes, I will”, talk to ex-employees, with people with knowledge about the sector of the company. And don’t forget to collect all the inputs that your are able to ensure that the culture of your prospect company equals or improves your current project. Also, review their financial data to ensure they are trustworthy. In a nutshell, do a complete research before taking the final decision.
Two last tips:
- Value the possibility to improve your current situation (role, conditions, etc) inside your company if there is any factor causing dissatisfaction.
- Although it is very obvious: you are the only and unique responsible one to take this decision. Our personal and closest environment has normally something to say. Despite their good intentions, their vision is normally short-sighted due to the fact that they don’t know the company’s culture, reality of your current project or of your future project. That is why you shouldn’t let them get in the middle of you and your future only because the don’t like taking risks. On the other hand, don’t let them either push you forward to a suicidal decision just based on having a more attractive title on your business card.