Before you Say ‘I Quit’

A few days ago I received a LinkedIn notice to “Congratulate X person on their new job.” I clicked on it to see what changes were going on with one of my former employees. And I have to admit some surprise as wasn’t it only three or four months ago I saw a similar notice for the same guy?

Sure enough, he had “jumped,” and was again seeking the “perfect job” with the “perfect employer.” It’s been three employers now in six months. It seems like the first thing my old employee does when starting a new job is start looking for the next role!

Some people change jobs with strategic brilliance and develop a fabulous careers. And some become “jumpers” and move all over the place, falling prey to every whimsical urge that comes along.

There are indeed good reasons and a right time to seek new employment. And on the flip side, there are also poor reasons, and the job seeker can find themselves in a worse spot than their original role!
Few things are sadder than to see capable and talented young people make classic job-changing mistakes and never reach their potential as a result. When I reflect on the individuals who made these mistakes, it always seemed to boil down to the same three issues. So based on this, I formulated a series of questions to help a potential job-switcher reflect properly and ensure the move they may end up making is right for them:

Often one is so upset with their current situation (or boss) that they will leap at basically any opportunity that gets them away from it. Yet how many times have I seen people end up in a worse situation? That’s the truth about jobs — there is always a worse one than the one you currently have! Your current boss may be a nightmare, but what guarantee do you have that the next boss won’t be an even bigger nightmare?

A potential job seeker should never run away from a role. Work on improving the situation; put a plan in place. You only resign once you have a role in hand so enticing you are licking your chops to take the job! Run to a role, never from your existing job.

How do my job prospects look “plus-one” job out?

A job can enhance your marketability, have zero impact on your marketability, or harm your marketability as a potential employee. Any job seeker has to think ahead “plus-one” job and assume for a moment the new role will not work out and they will be seeking a new job again. As a result, it is important to consider whether this new role will enhance your job prospects or not. If it has zero impact or may even hurt your marketability (due to company reputation or other factors such as helping you develop new skills), you may find your best bet is to stay put until something better comes along.

Is money the overwhelming reason for changing jobs?

Believe me, I am not saying that money is not important. We all work to provide for our families. But money should not be the overwhelming reason to switch jobs. As they say, “Money cannot buy happiness,” and this is certainly true in the workplace! If you find yourself in a role you despise, within a company culture that grates against your values and principles, no amount of money will make up for this. Look beyond the paycheck at culture, role, development potential, and marketability, to name a few.

Bottom line, the days of “lifetime employment” are long over and the vast majority of us will work for at least three employers during our working life. It’s not a question of blind loyalty or staying in one place forever. It is more a question of great timing and moving for the right opportunity.  Not all moves are good moves, unfortunately.

Good luck!