Changing a job can be essential for personal and professional growth. Unfortunately, too many do it carelessly. Read this blog post to find out the questions you should ask before switching jobs!
In this blog we’ve already discussed the trend known as the Great Resignation. Increasing numbers of people are leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons. Some may simply want change, others are changing industries to something more reliable and stable. Others still have seen their priorities shift entirely, and have decided to devote more time to family instead of having a high-powered career.
Regardless of the reasons, Americans are quitting their jobs in droves. And this is not just an American phenomenon. According to a recent Microsoft survey of 30 000 workers worldwide, 41% revealed that they are considering quitting or changing professions this year. Research on British and Irish workers also found that as many as 38% of respondents were planning to quit.
Unfortunately, not everyone partaking in this fad has genuinely considered whether switching jobs is necessary, reasonable, and justifiable. The YOLO and FOMO mindsets tend to replace the rational assessment needed before even considering such a major step as changing a job.
Luckily for you, this blog post is here to offer some help in determining whether switching jobs is the right thing for you at a particular moment. Stick till the end and you’ll discover the three major questions that have to be asked/considered before making a change.
According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of years an employee has stayed with a particular employer is 4,1. It probably varies between industries, but as an average, this number actually is pretty optimal for both the employer and employee.
The reason is that switching jobs too often can give bad signals to potential employers about an employee’s reliability, judgment, career goals, and performance. Imagine their perspective – they invest quite heavily in the hiring and teaching processes as well as salaries and benefits. Were they to see a frequent job-hopper, they might pass on the job offer simply because of all the risks.
Conversely, three to four years is rather optimal for the employee too. It shows plenty of commitment, allows them to implement some major projects, and gain as much experience from the job as possible while also providing genuine value for the employer. While staying on longer is fine, moving on to new challenges will not leave other potential employers doubting your resolve.
Hopefully the previous paragraphs didn’t discourage you. While staying at a job for three to four years is optimal, you shouldn’t suffer through stress, damaged relationships, and ruined health only to get to that threshold. Leaving in and of itself is not bad, if it doesn’t contradict or undermine your overall life goals or career trajectory. This is why a careful assessment is needed.
This seems like a no-brainer, but often we forget to really dig deep into this question. Sure, you feel that something is not right, but acting spontaneously without understanding the underlying reason can do more harm than good.
The main reason for this is that the problem could partially be within you, not the employer. If that is the case, the risk that you’ll wound up in the same place a year or two later only with a different employer is pretty high. If the problem is not fixed then, the cycle will continue indefinitely not just damaging your career and financial prospects, but also taking a significant toll on you both physically and emotionally.
Now all of this is not to say that employers are off the hook. Often the job environment aggravates an individual’s tendency for overwork, anxiety, or miscommunication. However, if you are aware of those risks, most employers will be willing to find a mutually satisfying resolution to any problem, especially if there is a risk of resignation.
If, on the other hand, you see that the problem lies with the employer (toxic boss, unbearable pressure, poor work environment, inflexibility etc.), it remains persistent, and the boss is unwilling to change or make improvements, then move on to the second question.
The impact of switching jobs will vary from person to person. What is clear, however, is that it is a decision that should not be taken lightly.
First thing to understand here is whether it is the right time to leave? Depending on the broader economic trends (economic growth, employment figures etc.), your particular skill set, and the state of the job market for your profession, you can pretty easily get a taste of whether it is a good time or not to leave your job.
For example, if you are an engineer in a booming economy with lots of job openings and miniscule competition – go for it! Conversely, if you are a political science student working for a state institution during an economic downturn, it may be better to hold on to that stable position.
Just as important is understanding your financial position before making such a major decision. If you don’t have any savings or an emergency fund built up, switching jobs needs to be carefully considered. Sure, if you get a better paying job right off the bat – all the power to you! However, if the path ahead is still unclear, I would strongly suggest getting your finances in order.
Finally, weighing up the gains and losses of switching jobs is essential. Compare the salaries, 401(k) or stock options, training possibilities, vacation days, and all other benefits between any number of positions. Consider not just the job you do, but also the boss, the colleagues, the workload, and the work environment.
For example, while a different position may pay better, it could also be more demanding and stressful. Or maybe a new job despite a lower salary would offer a more relaxed schedule and a possibility of a side-gig.
Salary often drives the desire to change jobs, but it is hardly the most important thing. Once you reach a certain pay threshold, there is also a desire for meaning and fulfillment. After all, we spend about a quarter of our week working. Doing it just for money would make it a wretched existence.
So when looking for a new job, think about what would make you happy. Remember your job is an integral part of your life. If you truly strive for contentment, these two cannot be separated.
My suggestion is to do two things. First, do your research beforehand! Nowadays, you can learn the basics of everything online. If you don’t like what you are doing now, invest some time in testing out other professions. Be bold and try out as much as possible! Whether it’s creative writing, coding, or carpentry – you can find what suits you best and then take the big step.
Second, model your perfect day! Sometimes people feel emotionally and physically drained after switching jobs, because the new position doesn’t align well with their priorities. If family is important, working at a top law firm will not be the best call. If work takes precedence – then all the career doors are open. Just remember to do what really makes you happy over the long haul.
When it comes to switching jobs – careful consideration and planning is essential. However, even if all the things are lined up just right and there is a clear vision for the path ahead, some may still feel reluctance or unease. “Why rock the boat? It’s just too risky.” one might think.
To those people I say – don’t postpone your future! We as human beings tend to be averse to change. There will always be something in the way, something making things inconvenient or uncomfortable. The most successful among us have overcome fear and discomfort to become the best versions of themselves.
Remember – life doesn’t have a do-over! Be the best and happiest version of yourself right now!
Author: Lote Steina