Change is a constant in our lives, and I am a big advocate of being the agent of change before the change happens to you! Having said that, I also believe that it is important to have a plan for the change you implement.
This kind of rationalization can apply to almost any aspect of your life, whether it is your job, your relationships, your health & fitness and/or your mental & spiritual well-being.
Changing jobs can be one of the more common changes that people undertake, and it can be a good career move, or if done without the right due diligence, it can be a disaster. A number of years ago I made one of those “disastrous” choices and ended up staying at the new company for just three months. I was at a vulnerable point in my current role due to a change in circumstances, and I was approached about an “exciting” opportunity. The new job came with a great title, good “potential” income and the company looked good, on paper. As you can probably guess, things did not go so well and I chose to leave three months later. The bottom line was that their corporate culture was not a good fit and I was never going to be happy there. I had some good sales success in a short period of time and could likely have done well financially … but I was miserable.
Mistakes are easy to make as we pursue our careers but with a little care they can be avoided, but you may need the benefit of advice from someone who has been there. Here are a few things to consider before choosing to move companies.
- If you have been in your current job for a while and are doing well, then you have some status with your current company. People take that for granted sometimes, and only miss it when it is no longer there.
- When you start at the new company, as the new kid on the block you will need to rebuild credibility. This is not a bad thing as long as you recognize and understand this in the context of what you gain from the move.
- You likely understand the culture and inner workings of your current company … and along with that, all the things “bother your”. Be cognizant of the fact that all companies will have their “foibles”; you just don’t know what they are in the new company.
- Most people don’t fully explore the opportunities in their current organization before they leap … remember what happens when you “ass-u-me”!
Some things to do that can help you with a job move:
- Develop a career plan (it doesn’t have to be fancy, and you can add over time). It should be a guide along your chosen path (or paths) as far as you can envisage (it might just mean visualizing your ideal next situation).
- Give everything you can to your current job … the experience will be yours forever, the reference will be invaluable and that is what you are paid to do.
- Be very clinical in weighing up your options. The new company is on its best behavior, the “foibles” will come later so make sure you understand what they are likely to be. In the same way that they will check you out, I suggest that you reference check the company!
- Develop a list of criteria for your new job that will tell you if it is “good enough” to make a move. Things to consider might include:
(a) Is the income real … or are there lots of promises? Compare it with your real income today (T4) not what you “perceive” is your income.
(b) Does the new role give you the advancement in your career you need?
(c) Does it have room for growth?
(d) Is the location going to work? An awkward commute wears thin with time!
(e) Do you like the people?
(f) Have you met enough of the people? Arrange to talk with peers.
(g) What is the culture like? Does it come through in their actions … or is it just words?
(h) Are you going to be able to be successful in this role?
(i) Have you checked references?
(j) If you had the same interview with your current company what would be different? Is it enough?
(k) Is there enough time off? Is the new employer going to be accommodating to your needs?
(l) Are the hours going to work … with your commute, your family, and your other needs?
A new job can be one of life’s most exciting times, but it can also be a disaster. Do your due diligence before going to a new job and don’t give up on the old one too early! Done the right way, you can find some greener grass … but it is definitely not always the case!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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