Our family loves to watch action adventure movies, especially if they include an exciting car chase scene. The chase is especially gripping if the hero runs into a roadblock and has a split second to figure out a way around it. In real life, it’s just as gripping but not so fun when you hit a roadblock in your job and are faced with the question, When is it time to change jobs?
There are many reasons to consider leaving your current job–probably just as many friends and family members to offer conflicting advice about the subject! As a 57-year-old recruitment agency, we’ve heard every reason imaginable. Here are a few true scenarios where employees have decided to leave their current employer for another position (names have been changed for privacy):
Although there are many possible reasons for leaving one’s job, not every roadblock is a reason to switch jobs. If you’re thinking about leaving yours, the real question to ask yourself is, What do you hope to gain by changing jobs?
If it’s more money and a better title, think again, cautions a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article by Amy Gallo. While these may bring temporary satisfaction, they’ll rarely make you as happy as autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Making a lateral move may not sound flashy, but it could provide more interesting or meaningful work, which would provide longer-term satisfaction.
Several decades ago, people switched jobs very seldom, sometimes even staying with the same company their entire career. But the number of job changes has increased with each subsequent generation. According to Gallo’s article, because of the current candidate’s market, today’s employer may not only expect you to leave them, but could also be willing to hire you back later if you leave in good standing. That safety net could take some of the angst out of leaving for a better opportunity, especially if you both understand the long-term benefits of your taking another position. But this only works if you have a good relationship with your current boss.
We believe that, as a professional, you’ll benefit by trying to make your current situation work before throwing in the towel. Your recruiter will tell you that employers always like to see longevity on a candidate’s resume, even if many accept that job-hopping is a characteristic of today’s workforce, particularly with Millennials. But at some point, it may be prudent to leave.
In today’s candidate-driven market, your current boss may make a counteroffer when you announce your resignation. Now you’re faced with another difficult choice! HBR suggests asking yourself which opportunity will give you what you want in the future. Keep in mind that your current boss may doubt your loyalty from this point on, however. Plus, whatever made you consider leaving will probably not magically be fixed just because you stay. If it were that simple, you probably could’ve already affected the change you desired. Also, if you already gave your word to a new employer to come on board, your credibility is now at stake. If you back out and accept the counteroffer, you may burn a bridge with the new employer—a bridge you may wish were still in place a few months from now should your current position continue to frustrate you.
You’ll know it’s time when the good you leave behind is outweighed by the better you’ll gain by moving ahead. Here are some examples of better:
Photo by Risto Kuulasmaa