Some years ago, I made a significant mistake in job choice. 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 it was by all accounts a successful company. As you can probably guess, things did not go so well … three months later I walked out. 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. Here are some lessons that I would share with anyone thinking of changing their situation:
- If you have been in your current job for a while and are doing well, then you have some status with your current company. That can be important.
- When you start at the new company, then as the new kid on the block you will be under scrutiny.
- You know the “warts” in your current organization … nowhere is perfect, you just don’t know the “warts” where you are going yet.
- 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:
- Develop a career plan … one that takes you 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 warts will come later so make sure you understand what they are likely to be.
- 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 I like the people?
(f) Have I 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) Am I going to be able to be successful in this role?
(i) Have I checked references? Lots of them.
(j) If I had the same interview with my current company what would be different? Is it enough?
(k) Is there enough time off? Is the new employer going to be accomodating to my needs?
(l) Are the hours going to work … with my commute, my family, my 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, that grass can actually be greener … but it is definitely not always the case!