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In the past, finding and following a career path was easy. Once an individual selected their specific life track, they simply followed that singular choice through to the finish line. Unfortunately, today’s world is much more complicated, with the average individual making approximately four to seven career changes before settling into a more permanent position. Especially with the current emphasis on achieving a solid work-life balance, finding the perfect job is critical in achieving absolute happiness and life satisfaction. As a result, it feels like everyone is constantly changing jobs, making a lot of us wonder if it is time we do too.
But how do you decide whether to change jobs? Jumping from one career to the next can seem like a risky move, particularly for those already well established in their original field of choice. However, some circumstances may make it necessary for those seeking advancement, benefits, and so much more. Before polishing up the old resume with the top 7 trends in résumés to watch out for, take a good look at these questions before deciding that it is truly time to make a change.
What are your skills and are they being utilized?
One of the most frustrating feelings is winding up in a position that fails to utilize your full abilities, especially for those coming directly out of college. After spending four years honing in on education and training only to be relegated to an incompatible position, many look for opportunities in which they can truly shine. Before going into the career search process, consider completing a strengths analysis to see what you can offer your current or future employer, as well as what makes you unique as an employee. In addition, start looking into how much the average individual makes for your specific skill set. Perhaps your abilities are being used to the fullest extent, but you are simply not being adequately compensated at your current job. If you truly believe that your skills are being underutilized or undervalued, then it may be time to start a new job search. Underutilizing employees can be one of the ten signs you're working for a failing business, so be on the lookout for the other signs before you make a decision.
What are your needs and are they being met?
Whether you are just starting out or already highly established in your career, benefits are a huge necessity in deciding whether or not a job can be right for you. For some, needs may include mentorship, challenging development experiences, intellectual stimulation, and opportunity for advancement. Others may be more tangible, such as a higher salary or more flexible hours. Make sure your benefits bucket list is realistic, but also be honest with both yourself and your superiors. While your next gig may not check off all the boxes on your list, perhaps looking for something else will help open your eyes to what is most really important.
What would make you stay?
Companies that preach employee loyalty are more than open to negotiation, as long as you know your exact career goals. Particularly for those new to the company, many of the larger corporations are willing to work with employees straight out of college to switch them from their current role to new positions in different departments. In fact, some even offer career coaches or mentorship programs through human resources to make sure that their younger workers are content when first starting out. For those a bit older with more experience, a promotion or even a bit more responsibility might be the perfect shake up from the regular routine. Consider reaching out to your supervisor to ask about upcoming advancement opportunities, particularly if you have been stuck in the same position for quite a while. Although it may be intimidating to ask your superiors about promotions at first, many bosses are open to discussing opportunities once given some notice, especially if you know how to ask for a raise properly. The majority of the time, they probably did not realize you were unhappy and were simply oblivious to your situation.
If you are not looking for something as drastic as an upgrade or a totally new position, consider if there are some little changes that would make your time more enjoyable. Maybe you simply cannot stand the person in the cubicle next door or need more flexible hours and alternative work options to make your schedule more compatible with your children’s lives. If you have seen your employer make similar deals with other outstanding employees, it might make a bad situation significantly better. A small change might completely refresh your feelings and make it easier to stay with your current company.
Does moving make sense in the long-term?
Like anything in life, a career is a much longer journey than expected. Changing jobs can have a plethora of unexpected backlash. As loyalty is one of the most important values employers seek in potential employees, jumping between multiple companies too quickly may make you seem uncommitted. A resume that portrays you in a negative light will most likely end up in the “toss” pile in human resources, meaning that even if you had excellent reasons for leaving each of your positions, you most likely will not even have the opportunity to explain your reasoning at an interview. If you do not see yourself staying with the new company for at least five years, it might not be worthwhile.
In addition, consider the long-term benefits of each position. While a new company may offer immediate gratification every day such as more money, free lunches, or ultra modern workspaces, they may not have the same type of longevity and stability as your current position. Especially for those just starting out, the climb up the corporate ladder may be steeper at the very beginning. Sincerely consider if you are genuinely stuck, or if you simply have to pay your dues before it gets better. If you truly must switch, make sure you have your professional priorities aligned before heading into the job market, as this will ensure that you will be able to find a new place that better suits your needs without being enticed by superficial perks.
In today’s day and age, a career is so much more than a job; it truly is a lifestyle choice. No longer does your position define you professionally, but your career speaks deeply to your individuality and personality. As a result, it is absolutely critical to find and follow a path that truly makes you happy and satisfies your need for fulfillment. If you are unhappy at your present company, and you're wondering how to decide whether to change jobs, deeply consider the above questions before jumping into something serious. Every day is an opportunity to make your life better, so why not start today?