If you’re planning on leaving or changing your current job, this blog is going to help you in a certain way. Given what’s going on right now, some of you might be saying that the last thing you’re thinking about is changing jobs. I totally understand. But there are companies hiring today. And they’re looking for the best talent. So, deciding whether to change or leave your job remains a very personal decision.
There are three things that I would suggest to someone who’s trying to make the decision about changing jobs. I can’t answer these questions, but I do think the answers will help someone figure it out for themselves.
- Your job is impacting your health. First and foremost, if your job is making you physically or emotionally sick, you need to step back and think. There are jobs where risks do exist, and individuals take those roles knowing that. Jobs in health care, construction, etc. come to mind. Individuals in these industries are taking as many preventive measures as they can.
- Your work doesn’t make you happy anymore. This could be one of two things: 1) You love what you do but you don’t love the company (or your boss) anymore. OR 2) You’ve fallen out of love with the work. Maybe you used to love traveling as part of your job and now, not so much. It’s important to understand which one you’re dealing with. (NOTE: It’s also possible that the answer is both #1 and #2.)
- Your career doesn’t make financial sense. I don’t want to simply say that the job doesn’t pay enough. Because maybe the pay is fine. It’s possible that the benefits package doesn’t suit your current situation. Or the cost of maintaining your professional license is getting expensive and the company isn’t reimbursing. The question is “Does your current position adequately cover your living situation?”
Once you honestly and seriously answer the above questions, it might help you decide if you want to make a change AND more importantly, what you might want to make a change to. There is some truth to the saying that the best time to look for a new job is when you have a job. I realize not everyone gets that opportunity which is why it can make some sense to always be thinking about your job wants and needs.
If you’re thinking about a new opportunity, I want to give you something else to consider. Now is the time to start planning. Don’t wait until you have to make a move to start planning for it. Here are three action steps that will help you find your next job. Also, there are some other important questions that you might want to ask yourself before taking the big step :
What specifically about my current situation is frustrating to me?
Pinpointing the issue is the first step towards solving it. Kimberly Bishop, recruiter and chief of her eponymous career management firm based in New York, advises employees to identify how their job is failing them. Is the problem the people, the environment or the work itself?
After you’ve defined the frustration, consider the scope. If you decide you’re creatively stifled, for example, you may not need to quit to fill the void. Seek an outlet outside of work or raise your hand for another department or project.
Have I taken every action possible to make my current job workable?
If you realize your situation is not abusive and could be manageable, consider the steps you might take to improve it. Try taking a positive attitude, altering your time management or work habits, and communicating more clearly with your manager. Perhaps a schedule change or clearing an item off your workload will make a big difference.
Ultimately, what do I want for my job, career, and life?
“A big mistake: When people decide to quit they think they’ll just update their resume and start networking,” says Bishop, who advises being more thoughtful about what you really want and how you’ll get there.
Define your priorities. Going to law school may be intellectually stimulating but will not help you achieve the flexible schedule you’ve been craving. Similarly, if you’d like to make a career change, think about all the necessary steps.
They may include more school, a pay cut, or working your way up from the bottom–again. Once you know exactly what you want, you may want to ask: How much do I want it?
Have I saved enough to cover nine to 12 months of expenses?
Susan Hirshman, financial planner and author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat?, says a few years ago she told people to save enough for six months of expenses. Now she tells people they need nine to 12 months. “If you’re
quitting, you won’t get unemployment,” she cautions. Hirshman suggests mapping out fixed expenses like mortgage, credit card, and loan payments, transportation, and food, as well as factoring in the “what if” costs. You may need a little extra to cushion against the unexpected, like car or appliance repairs.
How might I cut expenses or earn income while between jobs?
After completing a detailed budget, you may realize you’re coming up short and need to create some cash. Often, income is easily supplanted with a part-time service job. However, Hirshman warns that even waiter jobs are difficult to come by in the current economy. You only have two options: Cut expenses or bring in more money. Figure out what will work for you and be honest with yourself, Hirshman says.
Have I timed this appropriately?
Agryie suggests that employees who’ve decided to quit consider their timing. Firstly, are you in the midst of the busiest season or working on a big project? You may want to honor your commitments so that your team isn’t left in a bind and you’re able to leave on good terms. Secondly, “maximize the money,” he says. If you’d like to get your quarterly bonus or the holiday vacation, it might be smart to wait a few months.
So after answering all these questions for yourself, you’d be able to decide if you’d want to continue with your old job or career or switch to a new one.
Put together a job search plan. Grab a notebook and start plotting your strategy. Think about your skills. Make note of the knowledge and skills you want to work on before starting to interview. List your must-haves and nice-to-haves for your next company and job. Start thinking about your professional network, both online and the one on one type.
Identify the resources you need. It’s possible that you would benefit from taking a class, joining a professional group, or reading some books. Make a list of everything you need and roughly how much it will cost. Start budgeting for these items. Also, think about if you will be out of work for a while and if you will need to cover health insurance in-between jobs. That needs to be budgeted as well.
Ask for support. Once you have a plan, reach out to your network. Start reconnecting with them. If you’ve been doing that all along – fantastic! If you haven’t, it will take some time before you can ask for favors. Also, be sure to speak with your family and make sure they’re prepared to support you through this transition. Changing jobs will impact them too.
Regardless of where you are in your career and what’s going on in the economy, the job search process is hard. It takes time. The best suggestions I can give someone is to think about why you’re considering a change and create a plan to get from where you are to where you see yourself. The worst thing someone can do is react too quickly and find themselves in another toxic workplace. I know that the current work situation is tough but remember it’s tough you know.
Have a plan and work the plan out. You’ll definitely succeed. All the best!