Recently, I found myself wondering about people’s career choices, particularly those who stay in a job for long periods and those who change jobs frequently. I once assumed it was more about the employee’s personality than it was about a deliberate strategy to stay or move. For instance, a risk taker would choose to move, taking the chance to get whatever better deal they thought existed elsewhere. A more calculated person would rather sit still and rise slowly through the ranks in one well known work environment.
While I think my uninformed assumption has some merit to it, I have come to learn that the reality is not quite as simple as that. There are a number of factors people consider before they move jobs or stay in a place.
In this post, we have framed some of those factors as questions, so that if you ever find yourself at a crossroad, you will have a compass to guide your decision.
What Are You Getting From Your Job?
Is your current job affecting your wellbeing negatively? Do you love your current job but need more money? Are you well paid but bored and unfulfilled? Is there an option offering more security or more challenges? Can you grow where you are currently or is there a ceiling? Is your issue with your job a constant or a temporary phase? Are your expectations of your current or potential job and employers realistic? How well does your industry tolerate job mobility?
What Do You Need?
Do you thrive on taking on new and unknown challenges or is job security a big deal for you? What does security mean to you — more money, flexibility, or career longevity/permanence? What’s a challenge to you — greater complexity, competition, or high risk? Do you need to slow down or speed things up? Do you need a totally new career or just another job in the same industry? Can you afford a job change physically, financially, or emotionally? Do you have dependents? Do you have a backup plan in terms of savings and investments, or an understanding with your current employers? Have you worked long enough anywhere to gain the level of expertise and depth of experience to be truly valuable to a new employer?
Have You Weighed The Decision?
Your decision will ultimately depend on a unique matrix of your answers to all the questions raised above. This will show the gap between what you need and what you are getting. Some people thrive precisely because they have moved around quite a bit, while some others because they have stayed with the same company/corporation. Regardless of whether they have stayed or job hopped, their success has been based on their consistent excellence.
Find the right combination of environment and effort that brings out your best, and watch your career flourish!