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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

09 Dec 17:00 by Peter Fitzroy

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The end of the year is nigh, bonuses are soon to be paid out, and recruiters are buzzing in your ear with ‘a great career opportunity’.

Whether you are a CEO or a receptionist, everyone at some point gets that feeling of itchy feet. Is now the right time to move to a new challenging role and find something ‘better’ or should you stick it out and see what 2015 brings? The grass might seem greener on the other side, but have you thought through all the pros and cons?

Here are some simple things to consider first before making a career move and regretting it.

1. Self-assessment

Why are you leaving? Is it your current position or is it your working environment that motivates your decision to leave? What have you achieved this year? Are you being challenged or have you stagnated this year? What are you not getting from this job that you are hoping to get from a new one? Is your decision purely based on financial factors or is there no job satisfaction to be found?

Too often people make the decision on leaving OR staying in their job in an uncontrolled irrational manner. Find out what is the motivation behind this decision first.

2. Set your career goals

What do you want to do, and where do you want to be in five years’ time? You are considering leaving for pastures new, but have you taken this into account? Perhaps this new company cannot satisfy your long term goals?

Plan by working back to front starting at year 5. What do you aspire to? How long will it take? What role or company can give you the skills and experience to help get you there? Set your career goals otherwise you could end up in the same situation in a couple of years’ time.

3. Is there scope for career growth and progression?

What has been discussed at interview stage? Be sure your career is important to your potential new boss. It should be if he or she is career driven. If they didn’t bring it up then perhaps they are not looking to develop their own career further in which case further promotion could be difficult. You want someone who supports your professional development. Options like personal development plans, mentoring programs, training, support for further education, and opportunities to attend industry conferences can keep you moving forward professionally. Does the new job put you closer to achieving your long-term goals?

4. Don’t accept an offer too quick!

You’ve had your interview and now you have a job offer on the table. Things are moving pretty fast. Last week you weren’t ‘actively’ looking and suddenly now you find yourself under pressure to accept a new job. Take control, don’t be afraid to take time to decide.  Reasonable companies understand and will allow you a week or two. Feel good that the new company are so decisive about wanting to hire you, yet at the same time question why the move so fast? Are they desperate? Do they make all their decisions fast including firing! Speak to your friends and family first, do your due diligence otherwise you could end up jumping from the ‘frying pan and into the fryer’!

5. Do you fit the company culture?

Absolutely critical! No matter how suitable you are for the job, if you don’t fit in, it won’t last in the long term. We are not talking personality necessarily here. Diversity in a work place can be a key element to innovation and should be pushed. What you want to measure is what drives these people in this new company? What’s the environment like? What are the values? Is the corporate message applied locally? Is there synergy with your own ideas and values? Try to get a chance to walk around your prospective workplace, and speak to potential colleagues. Look how the people interact and what the professional atmosphere is like. Speak to your recruiter, use social media to research and engage with people. Look at websites like Glassdoor which is making it easier to get a feeling of a work place before actually joining them.

6. What impact will changing jobs have on your personal life?

Will your new commute be more time-consuming than your old one? Just one seemingly small question that can have huge downside on your new job and quality of life. Sometimes this can be over looked in the haze of making a decision. You’re so pumped up with the new role that you may neglect the smaller details like overseas travel, early starts or traffic jams! Getting the work/life balance is different for everyone but like your career, your personal life is equally important. How will the new job fit into your lifestyle? Make sure you consider these factors, again talk to your friends and family who can help support you in making the right decision.

7. Don’t make the decision solely on money

Of course, money is a factor but don’t make it the primary factor. That can be hard, what do you do if someone is offering you a 50% rise!?! That’s going to be difficult to ignore, but it doesn’t make it right either!  Money is everywhere we turn in society from business to politics to popular culture. And whilst I’ve heard, ‘Money never sleeps’, and ‘Greed is good’, I’ve also heard ‘Money can’t buy me love’!  And it the latter you need to consider before accepting a job just because of a nice pay-rise. What is it that you love to do? Is this new job going to test you, and push you to achieve more than you do now? Don’t be the fool that takes a new job and leaves within 3 months, destroying your career. Consider what you ‘need’ to earn rather than what you ‘want’ to earn. That way anything more than your ‘need’ is a bonus allowing you to focus your decision on more important factors such as the challenge of the job, company culture, and career development.

8. Maintain professionalism

If you plan to quit, make sure you maintain the same level of performance in your current job. Just because you are leaving doesn’t mean you should lower your standards. When you decide to leave, you want to leave on good terms with good references. Don’t get into situations where you could become involved in gossiping or complaining to colleagues or customers – you’ve made the decision to leave, so why create a tense, awkward atmosphere? Better to leave on good terms, you never know where the future will take you.

As you can see moving jobs requires a lot of thought and consideration. Working out whether to take the safe option and stay, or take the risk for something potentially better is for you to work out.

Take time to think it out because this might just be the most important decision of your life…