Estimated reading time: 7 mins
We are living in a time where many people stick to a job for only a few years. In fact, a 2014 article on Forbes titled ‘Employees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% less’ created a lot of drama. In this blog, I will talk about all that goes in deciding when to change your job and all the considerations that you should keep in mind before making any switch.
The first thing that you need to be sure of is whether this is the right time for you to change your job. While jobs and contracts can be much shorter these days, it is still a good idea to stick with a workplace for at least a year. There is something about the ‘1-year’ mark that makes your resume look serious and professional. It also signals your commitment to your potential employers that you will stick with the company for at least one fiscal year to see the projects to completion. Having a resume with too many short projects of just a few months might make you look less reliable or even raise a concern on why your employers and/or clients didn’t extend your contracts (that doesn’t mean you have to stay at a hostile workplace).
On the other hand, staying with just one employer for too long might also be counter-productive. A resume showing you working for years for just one employer in a single department might signal your incompetence. It can show that you are content with your comfort zone. Usually, a person who is serious about progressing and improving his/her situation and adding value for his employer will stay for shorter stints, as such individuals are difficult to please and they stay only if they are learning something new. Staying too long at a workplace signals that you are too afraid of change and lack the confidence to embark on a new adventure.
Therefore, you need to look at your situation exclusively and decide if the time is right to change your job. If the learning curve is stagnant and if you have not had good increment in the last 12 months or no promotion, then I think you should start looking for other gigs.
I would also like to add here that it is not a crazy idea to look for a different job role. I myself started my career as a content writer and worked myself through almost all departments of digital marketing agencies before joining a more conventional, brand management team at a semi-private organization. You can look for opportunities in other fields, provided you have the education, experience or true passion for it. Of course, there is always the risk of failing; however, a resume full of experiences is far stronger than one that only demonstrates one set of skills. Changing career is far more common these days and employers like the daring ones more these days, just because of the variety of experiences such people bring to the table.
Let us now look at the 5 important considerations when changing your job. Of course, these are not the only considerations but in my opinion, you should be very careful of them when you decide to move on:
- Be True to Yourself. If all that I have said above has not been clear on this point so far, let me say it again: you need to invest in yourself to get complete clarity of your passions and your limitations. You really need to be true to yourself; you really need to know what you want. Many times, I see people being too hasty about deciding on what they want in their next job that they end up regretting it within a few months, if not weeks. Remember that you do not have to go for a job that only pays well and you do not have to opt for a job that is your passion but has no value in the market either. It is all about finding the balance, using both sides of your brain. What you need to do is think 5 years ahead to understand if a specific career choice will be good for you in the end. You should also not shy away from learning new skills to improve your chances of landing a dream job, as long as learning this new skill really interests you.
- Do Not Let Fear Get the Best of You. I have fears about something at one stage or another. That is just part of being human. The only thing that you can do is not give in to the fear and take control of your condition. You will need to confront your fears and take resilient actions to move on. This fear can be anything from moving out of your comfort zone, risk of losing your job and not getting the money you need to pay your bills or relocating to a new city or even country in search of better opportunities. Once you take care of these insecurities, you will feel much more energized, motivated and confident. Fear is the killer of opportunity, and prevents us from pursuing the very things that could make us happy, including joyful employment.
- Make Networking Your A-Game. You will need to learn how you can manage your relationships and connections more effectively. To be honest, networking should begin from your existing workplace. Ideally, you should have a fantastic relationship with your employers so when the time comes to leave, they should be the ones recommending you to the right people. However, we all know that this not always the case (you can learn how to do the exit interview like a pro here). What you need to do is that when you know that you want to change your job, you should connect with your circle – your friends, their friends, you clients, their customers etc. Attend events and send out emails and calls to people who you think can help you. Even get the LinkedIn Premium account if that helps (it is sweet!). It is equally important to exhaust your contacts smartly; sometimes there is just an overall slump in job opportunities; so be careful about this. I find New Years to be great for new job opportunities.
- Focus on the Culture. If you have set your sights on a few employers then the most important thing for you will be to understand their culture. If you have worked for a few companies so far, you will surely understand the importance of working for someone who can provide you the kind of culture that compliments your personality. There are companies that have a bureaucratic culture with hierarchies and protocols. There also are companies that offer a more agile environment with open door policies and flexible working hours. I personally just cannot work at a place where the culture does not compliment my personality (and I have had bad experiences, so I have learnt it the hard way). What you can do is ask ex-employees, look for the company reviews on social media and websites like Glassdoor. Moreover, while you are at it, you should look into the company’s leave policies, benefits and pay scales. It helps to know a friend who works there so you can get honest opinions. Just do not trust the company HR!
- See What Is On Offer. I have talked about all that you can do when deciding to change your job. You can get more help on how to nail the interviews here. During the interview, you need to check all that is on offer. Start by checking the job title and description. You should know the exact scope of your employment and if that reflects in your designation. I have seen different companies have different designations for the same job (what might be a director at one company might just be an assistant manager at another). Carefully read the bonuses, salary deductions, and benefits policy. Do not be put off by a salary lower than what you are already getting because many companies offer many benefits and bonuses that help fill that void. You should also carefully look at the holiday and sick leave policies and allowances and the clauses for termination and discuss with the HR if there is anything that sounds funny. Finally, confirm the notice periods that you will have to serve and if there will be a probation period. What you need to do here is to make sure that you are safe and are not in a vulnerable position.
There you have it – 5 of the most important considerations to keep in mind when changing your job. If you are considering moving to another city or country, you will have to see if the benefits outweigh the issues. I encourage you all to keep building your portfolio and keep learning new skills that can help you stay away from becoming a commodity. Embrace change and fight your fears. Always know that you are destined for greatness and that you should not settle for your current state just because you are comfortable where you are. You need to be satisfied and at peace from the inside.