Although it’s something of a myth that Americans change jobs more than they used to, we do tend to move around quite a bit. In 2012, the average job tenure was just 4.6 years (keep in mind though that it was 3.7 years in 2002 and just 3.5 years in 1983). But, even though taking a new position and leaving an old one behind is a pretty common thing to do, it’s not an action you should take too lightly, particularly if you’re not just changing positions but actually leaving your organization. So, before you make your final decision and officially announce that you’re moving on, ask yourself these questions.
(Photo Credit: Marco Bellucci/Flickr)
1. Have you assessed all of the resources available to you at your current organization?
John Ambrose, SVP of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft, recently wrote a response to the question, “Wow do you know it’s the right time to switch jobs?” for the Forbes Leadership Insider network. In it, he spoke about how changing organizations might mean taking a step backward rather than forward, because of the time it takes to acclimate within a new company. Instead, it might be a better idea to consider a job switch with the same employer.
“It’s rare today to find a leader whose career progression was 100% vertical within an organization,” Ambrose wrote. “Instead it’s usually the horizontal jumps they made between teams, departments and more along the way that shaped them as leaders and equipped them with the skills to move up the chain of command.”
2. Is this about your boss?
Bad managers are the number one reason people leave their jobs, so if you’re thinking of moving on for this reason, know that you’re not alone. Before you go though, know that the situation might not be any better at another organization; there are no guarantees that you’ll get along with the boss there either. Also keep in mind that managers move on, too. If you decide to stay, your boss could end up leaving instead of you. If you love your job otherwise, it might be worth sticking it out with your boss a little longer, just in case the leadership tides start to turn.
3. Are you expecting too much too soon?
If you’re relatively new to the workforce, you are probably pretty eager to see your career progress, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when workers’ expectations don’t line up with the expectations of managers.
In a study done a few years ago by Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm, 66 percent of Millennials said they felt that it takes at least four years to become a manager, compared with 75 percent of managers who said the same. Whether you’re a Millennial worker or just new to your field or your workplace, remember that there’s value in being a little patient. If you like your job but wish you were advancing faster, consider speaking to a boss about your goals rather than just throwing in the towel and moving on. You could end up feeling the same way in your new organization.
4. Are you being impulsive?
It’s important to really think about big decisions like this. Some people are more impulsive than others. Are you someone who often acts quickly? If you have a tendency to get super excited about new ideas and then quickly move on to even newer ones before following through on your original plans, you might want to slow down a little before you submit your resignation.
It’s important that your future employers see you as steady, reliable, and loyal. If your resume reveals that you’re the type to wake up with a new idea and promptly change jobs (or even careers) you might not seem as hireable as you would otherwise. Take a deep breath and really assess whether or not this change is really in your best interest. Change for change’s sake isn’t always the best idea.
5. Have you taken a vacation lately?
It’s important to make decisions with a clear head. Unfortunately, over half of Americans haven’t taken a vacation in over a year and it’s having an impact on their overall health and happiness. It could also impact your outlook and cause enhanced negative emotions.
So, before you make any big life-changing decisions, be sure you get some rest. Maybe even take two weeks off if you can swing it. If you still feel you’d like to move on after your break, you’ll know you can trust your judgment.
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