Most new employers will ask about your reasons for a job change. But beyond the need to answer that interview question successful, you really should ask yourself first why you want to change jobs. Since leaving one job and starting another, especially in a different career or industry, can be particularly stressful, your motivation for a transition really needs to be a good one.. There are many good reasons to change jobs, but before leaving a position it is important to think about how this change will benefit you personally, professionally, and financially in the long run.
In some cases, it may make sense to discuss the reasons for the change with your immediate supervisor. Communication with your employer can make a difference in future references and, in some cases, might lead to a different position or greater pay within the same company. Even if you have to relocate, a transfer could be possible but your employer has to be aware of what is happening.
On the other hand, there are several great and definite reasons to leave your current job, career, or company in search of something bigger and better. So, how do you know when it’s time to submit your two week notice and change jobs or even careers?
Many employees attend graduate school programs while working at a full time job. If you’ve just finished your Master’s Degree or completed law school, you may want to take your career in a different direction to take advantage of your new credentials, knowledge, and skills.
One of the most important aspects of your transition should be clear and honest communication with your employer. If you are pursuing a graduate degree, let your co-workers and employer know. You may be surprised how supportive and helpful they can be in providing references and leads to help you find another job more in line with your newfound ambitions.
Even if you haven’t completed a graduate degree, you may have reached a point in your life where you want to change careers and pursue a new passion. In the end, be clear about what you want and how you plan to achieve it. This kind of change should only come after a lot of thought, discussion, and research into the best careers for the future.
The start of any career is accompanied by a learning curve – getting to know the company’s processes, systems, software, projects, and your co-workers. When you first start, your job is new, exciting, and stimulating because you are constantly learning and pushing yourself. However, after a while, you lose this momentum.
If you’ve reached a point where you feel you are stagnating and the job does not offer enough challenges, it could be time to find a new position that will add unique experiences and expand your skill set and knowledge. Most people completely master their daily duties and responsibilities over the course of 2 to 3 years, unless they are constantly promoted to positions with greater responsibilities, goals and challenges.
If you have been at your current job more than three years and are looking to grow personally and professionally, it may be time to see what other employers have to offer.
Increase In Income
Not all companies are equally profitable or even operate on the same business model. Accordingly, the salary ranges for the same jobs in different industries can vary widely between companies and changing positions from one to another can give you a huge salary increase. There are many examples of individuals who have jumped from one company to another for 20% to 30% pay increases, nearly doubling their income in a span of 5 years.
If you feel your current employer is paying you less than you believe you are worth, checking out the competition could help you find a job with a higher salary and/or better benefits package. Sometimes larger companies offer average, but steady pay; whereas smaller businesses compensate you more for additional responsibilities you take-on, especially if you are an executive. In my experience, however, larger and more profitable public companies usually pay the best salaries and offer the best retirement and benefit packages.
Just remember to “look before you leap” and check out the employer and the job before making the switch. Consider discussing the offer with your current employer since they may be willing to make a counter offer to keep you with the company.
If you love your job, think hard before leaving it just for a salary increase. Job satisfaction may be a more important factor than you originally thought.
Bail Before The Company Fails
Companies fail all the time – whether they are large enough that we all hear about it is a different story. Some business failures are due to market forces such as declining demand, stiffer competition, or new technological shifts, while others are simply a matter of corporate or financial mismanagement, fraud, or illegal business practices. Ultimately, as a corporate insider, it is much easier for you to spot these eventual disasters.
If you know your employer is in financial difficulties and may fail, claim bankruptcy or have to downsize, it is a good idea to get out before the axe falls on you. It is always easier to find another job when you are already employed so start looking around and networking with business contacts. You might think the company will overcome its problems or that you are essential to their operations, but if you need to stay employed, it is better to find a job now than wait and potentially end up in the unemployment line.
Conflict With Your Boss
Every job has stressful moments and that’s why it’s called a “job” and not “fun” or “vacation”. But when you have problems with your boss, your stress level ramps up. It may just be different working styles or a personality clash. You may just need to phrase your questions or statements differently, or stop being sensitive and appreciate your manager’s honest feedback.
Or maybe it is something a lot more serious than that, such as a fundamental breakdown in communication, the fact that your boss is a horrible leader, or blatantly takes credit for your hard work. When stressful moments turn into strained interactions, distrust, verbal abuse, bitterness, and general resentment on a daily basis, it’s time to move on and look for a new position.
Analyze why it did not work out with your previous supervisor and try to find a manager that is a better fit. Ask these questions during an interview to gauge his/her expectations, management style, and character type. Leave your current position on a high note without criticizing your boss since this could cause problems if you need a reference later.
Hostile Work Atmosphere
While this problem is less common than it once was thanks to equal employment opportunity laws, there are still places where employees create an atmosphere that is hostile to a particular employee or group of employees. If an employer encourages this behavior, the employer may be in violation of the law.
If you believe you have experienced hostility in the workplace because of your gender, sexual orientation, race or religion, you may have grounds to file a complaint with the EEOC. An EEOC complaint will not endear you to your employer or co-workers, so it is usually best to find a more congenial workplace as soon as possible.
On the flip side, if your co-workers are bonding over a common interest, such as a love of sports, cars or celebrity gossip, consider finding other co-workers who are also excluded from the group. This type of nonthreatening exclusion may not provide you happiness or comfort in the workplace, but if you have a great job, it’s hardly a reason to leave.
Relocation For Personal Reasons
While you may be happy with your job, there could be factors in your personal life that make relocation necessary. If your spouse has been offered a promotion or a much better job in another city or state, or if an elderly parent needs someone to help with daily living, moving might be necessary.
Discuss your reasons for relocating with your employer and if it is a large company, find out about the possibilities for a transfer. If a transfer is not possible, leave your current job on good terms because contacts from this job could help you find your next position.
Whether you just got married, had a new baby or have a parent who is elderly or ill and needs your time, you may have to cut back on your working hours, at least temporarily. You should keep your employer informed about life changes like these, but if they are unsympathetic to your need to balance your work and home life, it might be time to look for another job or start making money from home.
Keeping communication lines open with your current employer may help you find a less demanding position within the company or get you a good recommendation letter for future interviews.
Even under the best circumstances, changing jobs is stressful. You are voluntarily putting yourself in an unfamiliar work environment with unknown variables and people. Before deciding it is time for change, consider your reasons and whether simply changing jobs will resolve your issues.
If you dislike your work, it may be time for a career change and if you feel stuck without the opportunity for advancement, additional education may help. If it is just time to expand your horizons, get your resume out there and good luck!