By Jack J. Kelly
The following may sound crazy coming from a guy who earns his living as a Recruiter placing people in new jobs, owns an executive search firm, manages job boards, and currently writing a book advising people on how to find a new job.
You may automatically think blatant self-interest would dictate that I would always encourage someone to switch jobs since that is what pays my bills. That is categorically not the case; I would rather you not switch jobs if the move is made for the wrong reasons.
It is imperative that before you even commence drafting a resume, spruce up your LinkedIn profile, and embark upon a job search, please make absolutely sure that you are leaving your current job for all the right long-term reasons.
Working at a company is similar to being in a romantic relationship. You enter into the relationship with the expectations that it will last. Inevitably there will great times and challenges that will test your resolve to stay committed. Relationships, especially marriages, require fortitude, patience, understanding, give-and-take, and the will to make it work.
How many couples can you think of off the top of your head that have broken-up what seemed like a wonderful romance for a petty reason or silly spat? Conversely, we all know couples who intensely despise each other yet forever remain unhappy in a toxic relationship.
Too often I have seen employees abruptly quit their jobs due to one bad interaction with their boss or for some other inconsequential perceived slight. Your career is considerably too important to leave a safe and well-paying job based upon some flimsy or temporary problem confronted in the office.
Think of yourself in a relationship with your employer, and then analyze if it is worth fighting for to keep or are there rational reasons to part ways.
Even when you find a new job there will inevitably be headaches, bad days, and jerks at the new firm. You can put a gun to my head and I would not be able to find you a company where the sun is always shinning, the company is constantly doing financial well, executives are warm and caring, and the coworkers happy and supportive each and every day.
It is imperative that you carefully weigh the motives and reasons for moving before you start the job search. Acting out of momentary anger and haste will all end in a poor decision making cycle that will take years to get your career back on track.
I have noticed when employees leave over a non-essential matter; it is usually based on temporary emotions. The company is in the midst of merger, a new management team has arrived, your manager, who you like just left, some other jerk was given the promotion, we lost a major client are all events that inspire fear, uncertainty and anxiety. These pent-up visceral emotions tend to take over. You also become surrounded by fear mongers who hysterically hype up this new event.
If you base your job search on a knee-jerk reaction it could have serious long-term consequences. Since the person, in the midst of the turmoil, may not be acting rationally, often times he will procure a job too soon and accept a position at an inappropriate level in the haste to get out of a perceived bad situation. By acting hastily he may also accept lesser money then he could have procured if the angered employee embarked on a more measured and thoughtful approach.
Additionally, the anger, resentment, and seemingly not-well-thought-out sentiment becomes obvious to the human resources and hiring managers during the interview process. Offers may not be made due to their discomfort with the person’s rash judgment making abilities. This dynamic also leads to the person taking a lesser role since other better opportunities become unavailable.
Before you know it, the person is six months into a new job, realizing that is beneath them, either starts to look again or languishes for the next year until the move looks a little better on the resume.
To extricate oneself from this bad new job made from acting impetuously, the now job seeker feel pressured to find a new role quickly to get their career back on track.
Hiring managers will inquire about the reasons for both moves and may not be comfortable with your thought process and lack of self-restraint. The prospective manger will wonder if you will also quickly leave her if you feel slighted six months into working for her, and she may not want to take the chance by hiring you.
Therefore, I strongly urge you take a fair amount of time considering why you want to move and if the motives are real, prudent, and forward career thinking.
There are many rational reasons why people decide to leave their jobs. Some of the most common reasons we have seen through the years include:
- You Are Being Overlooked: You are not being fairly compensated and the firm’s executive management and/or your immediate boss is not mentoring you. Also, the firm is not properly financially rewarding you and unfortunately you see no increases in raises or bonuses coming in the foreseeable future.
- No Growth Potential: You want to move forward in your career with your current organization but feel a lack of growth within the company. The company is bringing in new people from the outside instead of promoting from within. During the annual review, you feel like you are being undervalued.
- Feel Stagnant: You feel that you are not being intellectually challenged and will be unable to reach your full potential with this job. Deciding when and why to leave your current job and look for a new one is not a scientific process; rather, it’s based on feeling, intuition and gut instinct. However, there are some very poignant signs to look out for that can aid your decision. If you can check off most of the following, it’s a good telling sign that it’s time to pursue other opportunities.
- You have a Mean, Vindictive, Jealous and/or Narcissistic Boss: Dealing with someone like this day in and day out will not only drain your spirits, but also your work productivity. You may feel resentful or angry at your boss on a regular basis, which will prevent you from communicating well and doing your best. You shouldn’t have to report to someone who isn’t respectful and makes life miserable for you.
- Management Doesn’t Care about your Division: This doesn’t bode well for your personal sense of value or your job’s security. As soon as profits go down, you and/or your department are in the crossfire. Additionally, if management isn’t on board with your suggestions, you may feel that your job lacks meaning or that you are not afforded the opportunity to make any difference. Not only do you deserve to feel important and valued; it’s necessary for your financial security as well.
- No Raise/Bonus for Two Consecutive years and/or No Discussion of Promotions: One of the aspects of a good job is that you feel there are opportunities to move up the ladder and take on new challenges. If this is not the case, your professional growth may be stunted, and it might not be worth your while to stay. If you did not receive a raise for one year, fine, maybe there was a good reason but two years in a row gives you the right to wonder whether you’re being treated well enough or if your job is as valued as it should be.
- Few Internal Promotions for Key Roles: If management is always hiring new people from the outside for the top jobs, you may feel perplexed as to why they didn’t choose you or a great colleague you work with. This point is particularly important when the firm didn’t even interview or consider you or your colleagues for the role. This is a sign that it might not be a place that sufficiently rewards company personnel.
- The Firm is engaged in Unethical Activities: You may object to this on a moral level and feel uncomfortable working with and for the people around you. And if your firm gets caught, you all could be out of a job.
- Other People Leave and Are not Replaced: This is a sign that the firm is looking to shed people it deems as unnecessary expenses. Beware.
- You are Given More and More Work without Recognition: You might not want to spend much longer at a place that overloads you with tons of thankless work. Career satisfaction demands recognition of hard work.
- Absence of Camaraderie and Company Spirit: If no one at your firm talks to each other, likes each other, or is excited to be there, work will feel like drudgery every day. This will negatively affect your happiness and work productivity (as well as everyone else’s). The day-to-day spirit of a company is more important than many people think.
- Lack of Collaboration with Other Divisions: The future of work involves collaboration. If you’re not making connections and learning how to work with other areas, you might not be getting the training you want from your workplace.
- Excessive Politics/Infighting: This makes the workplace feel tense and possibly terrifying. If you’re not already in the muck of it, be prepared to be dragged down.
- No Meaningful Work: It’s hard to sustain yourself day in and day out when you find your work empty. Passion is what drives greatness, and if you don’t have passion you will be lost.
- You see No Light at the end of the Tunnel: If you don’t feel that you’re growing and you can’t see your job changing in the next few years or how your job is going to lead you to your next step…it’s probably time to leave. You don’t want to stall and get older and more cynical; because taking the next step will be even harder.
- You don’t want to leave based solely on an emotion, crossword or an uncomfortable conversation with a co -worker. It is easy to get frustrated in your day-to-day activities.
Remember to think long-term.
Sit down and go through the pros and cons of your current job.
Then, ask yourself if it is worth your career to move.