How long has it been since you considered changing jobs? If it's been more than a couple of years, you may be overdue.
You see while there are often good reasons to stay with an employer, it’s also always wise to know your options and be continually on the lookout for ways to improve yourself both professionally and personally.
And chances are good that you’ve heard all of this before. Yet many people refuse to act on the advice and remain firmly rooted (well kind of!) in their current job.
While I’m certainly not advocating that everyone change jobs tomorrow, I do think it’s very healthy to understand the “real” reasons you haven’t jumped into the job market head first.
So as you read through the reasons below, keep in mind that some offer validity, but others are simply an excuse to keep your life in the same place it is right now. And perhaps that is exactly what you want…or is it?
1. Loyalty. While you may feel that your employer “deserves” loyalty, I would caution you to think differently. Loyalty once defined the employer/employee relationship. Unfortunately times change and more often than not, the single employee is now often overlooked for the greater good of the corporation.
Keep in mind that there are certainly companies that may deserve your loyalty, but give away this piece of your heart (and career) very carefully. And if you do offer the loyalty card, periodically check and make sure you still feel the company is worthy of this awesome gift from you.
2. Satisfied. As a society, we typically find it difficult to be satisfied with anything. In fact, marketing executives count on our inability to settle for status quo. And in most cases their trust is aptly placed.
I’ve always found it interesting that our quest for more (and better) can’t be satiated on a personal level, yet professionally many people are “satisfied” with their current position.
While there are certainly some situations where a status quo job is ok, it’s rarely acceptable for those with big career plans. If career success is truly a top priority for you, chances are good that no job will “satisfy” you for long.
3. Lazy. Make no doubt about it, changing jobs takes work. A lot of work. From updating your resume to locating job opportunities, participating in networking activities, preparing for interviews (and rejection), it’s simply not an endeavor to jump into lightly.
And in many cases, it’s likely a whole lot easier to just go to work and continue to do your same boring or unchallenging job every day. While it may be easier, I seem to hear my dad’s voice saying something about anything worth having is worth working for….
4. Fear. The job market simply isn’t for the faint of heart. And in fact, fear keeps many employees firmly rooted in their current positions. Sure your boss could find out that you are looking for a new job and then retaliate against you in some way. Or perhaps you are lucky enough to get a new job only to be the first one let go when business slumps.
Of all reasons to stay put, admittedly fear is the hardest (and most rewarding!) to overcome. Granted fear can be paralyzing. But if you can find your way through the fear, you will find an incredible sense of confidence on the other side. If not, then ultimately you are allowing fear to control your life. For more on this topic check out, “10 Ways to Increase Your Self-Confidence at Work.”
5. Working your Plan. Of all the reasons on this list, staying in a position that fit’s with your overall career plan is without a doubt, the winner. In fact it shows a maturity and the element of strategic thinking.
You see, chances are good that your career will span 30-40 years. And while you probably don’t have a crystal ball to anticipate every opportunity that will come your way, you certainly don’t want to just float through it either.
Instead, you want to have some short-term and long-term goals. And then you want to make moves that help you be ready to for the next opportunity. For more on goal setting check out my earlier post, “Six Secrets to GREAT Goal Setting.”
Okay, let’s look at an example to help this make a little more sense. Let’s say your short goal is learn about computer programming and your long-term goal is to be in a leadership role for 50 tech employees.
Which of the following positions makes the most sense to achieve your long-term goals?
- Accept an IT role with a small start-up company
- Stay in your current job as a Marketing project manager
- Take an entry level management position in the Accounting area
While you may be surprised, depending on specific circumstances each of these positions could move you closer to your goals and hence be a great career move.
Accepting an IT role with a small start-up, puts you squarely in the IT field. Add to it that start-ups usually require folks to wear many hats, and you could learn a lot!
While initially you may think only those that are “lazy” or “satisfied” would stay in the role as a project manager, it’s worth a closer look. If you are able to request the opportunity to work specifically on tech oriented projects, then this decision could fit nicely into your overall career plan. This decision would give you the opportunity to integrate yourself into the culture and subject matter.
And while a management position in Accounting is totally unrelated to the IT world, it provides you the opportunity to develop management experience and begin to build your resume in that arena.
So yes, there are admittedly MANY reasons for not changing jobs. And ultimately without a plan for your career, decisions about making a move can simply feel confusing and overwhelming.
If you haven’t developed an overall career plan, I challenge you to make that a priority for your coming year. And if you’re not sure where to start, perhaps it’s time to contact a career coach. While career coaches aren’t necessarily cheap ($50-300/hour), they do represent an “investment” in your career. The International Coaching Federation is a great resource to learn more.
Bottom line: Sometimes the best career move in the world is right under your nose with your present employer. But if not, it’s time to dig deep and confront the fear, satisfaction and laziness. Get out there and find that next position that moves your career one step further.
Have you changed jobs in the last 5 years? If not, why?