The decision to make a job change can create a great deal of stress. The last thing you want to do is make a bad decision. In almost twenty years as a headhunter, career coach, and human resources executive, I have developed a framework to help thousands of people make a decision to stay or go. It’s best to know where you stand before you initiate a job search, so get out that mirror and take a look what where you stand:
How is the relationship with your boss?
Research shows that the majority of people don’t leave companies and jobs. They actually leave bad bosses to go to better bosses. It’s not to say if the other three components of this model are bad that you will stay in your job for a great boss, but you need to take a hard look at how good things are and how good your direct leadership is for your career.
What’s your career plan?
If you have been keeping up with my work (mradamo.com), you know I am a big advocate for creating and maintaining a career plan. The decision to leave a company should be grounded in a solid career plan. If you don’t have one, this is a good time to start that process. Another measure of this is to ask yourself if you know what the next step in your career is once you achieve the goals you have for your job. If you don’t have goals and a next step, this would be a pretty clear sign that you don’t have a clear career path at your current employer. It’s time to create one with your amazing boss or update that resume.
How long have you been there?
Job hoppers ultimately become less attractive candidates. If you want more on this, check out a job hopping article I wrote a while back. Generally, there is a major problem if you’re ready to look for a job less than three years after joining a company. While you can get away with this once in your career, it’s better to ask yourself did I make a bad decision? On the other hand, if you been with a company for more than seven years, you may just want to start planning a change even if the other components are not that bad. Staying too long at one company can be a major career killer.
What is the future outlook for your company?
Now that you have analyzed the other three components that are about you and your boss, it’s time to look at the big picture. What is the future of your company? If things are bleak, you may accelerate your plans; however, if things are looking up, you may want to look for another internal opportunity or work harder to resolve some of the areas previously described.
So now you have the knowledge to go from impulsive to calculated. These four components work as a system. Sometimes one is a deal breaker, but often it’s the totality of the picture that drives your ultimate decision. The final piece of advice I will give you on making the decision is from Yoda. “Do or do not. There is no try.” If you make a decision to find a new job, stick to it and get it done. Don’t be dissuaded by challenge or adversity. It’s hard work to drive your career forward. If you make the call to stay, work hard and stick it out. Going back and forth or worse, interviewing and accepting a counter offer to stay, is another major career killer