Many people looking for a new job, when they are already employed, need to first examine why they are interested in making a change! What are the reasons, and are they good reasons… Why jump jobs?
There are many good reasons to look for a change… and many poor reasons as well. As a recruiter, when I find someone qualified for a position I'm trying to fill, I'd almost always prefer them to be willing to make the move. However, I understand that when I encourage someone to make a change when it's not really in their best interest, I risk losing the opportunity for a strong long-term relationship with them. After some discussion, I will sometimes tell them they are better off passing this opportunity in order to continue their successful career track where they are.
What should you consider before taking the leap? Here are some observations…
Money? Money alone, is rarely a good reason to make a change. More money is virtually never an equitable reward for a poor work situation. Seeing, and facilitating job changes in over 25 years as a recruiter, I've consistently seen people that make a move primarily for more money, leave those new jobs in short order. When it becomes miserable to get up and go to work each day, the extra compensation doesn't seem to matter much. It's also common, that companies with poor work environments pay very well… sometimes it's the only way they can attract people to the organization. So beware!
That's not to say changing jobs for more money is never good. If you've done due diligence on the new organization, and are sure that the environment will be at least as positive for you and your career as your current situation, then making the move for more money can be a great move. Examining the opportunity without the rose colored glasses of a larger paycheck however, is key to making the right choice.
Frustrated? Temporary frustration in your current role, is not likely to be a good reason for a change. Everyone experiences times in virtually any job when they just don't like going to work each day. Certainly in many jobs it's a basic mismatch between personality and corporate culture. Or it may be stressful or unrealistic work expectations that are not going to change. However, many times it's a temporary set of circumstances that will pass in time. Changing positions during those times often results in jumping from the frying pan into the fire!
It's not at all unusual for someone not to evaluate a new opportunity realistically when their primary motivation is to get out of their current situation. They don't notice the issues that the new opportunity faces, because they believe (usually falsely), that anything has got to be better than what they have now. Every company, and every job has flaws, just as all human beings have flaws. Without checking out a new opportunity realistically, it's very possible to end up in a worse situation than you left. It's often better to ride out a temporary negative set of circumstances that you know, than to jump into negative circumstances you don't know.
Title? People, especially those younger in their careers, often think they are ready to move into more senior roles, or into leadership positions before they are ready, or without truly understanding what the role entails. Managing people usually looks easier and more desirable from the outside than it is in reality. Jumping into a role with greater responsibility before you're ready can often result in a career upset. It's often true that people that aren't given growth opportunities in their current organizations, are being passed by because people that know better than you perceive you're not yet ready. While they certainly may be wrong… be sure before you take the leap.
Job Content? Most everyone has some aspects of their job that they enjoy more than others. Sometimes when they focus on the responsibilities they don't enjoy, they envision leaving to a new job where they think they may be able do more of the things they like. While that is certainly a possibility… it's imperative to make sure that's the case before making the change. Every job has undesirable, but necessary aspects to it. Don't make assumptions. Ask the right questions in the process.
How will it affect your resume? While very few employers expect candidates to be at each job for many years anymore, there are too many people that do jump jobs too often. If you've had 3 jobs in the past 3 years, it's likely to do you more harm than good to make a job change again within the first 2 years. Some sense of stability is an important factor to virtually any potential employer, and a string of relatively quick job changes certainly raises red flags and doubt. Sometimes it's best to stay in even a poor situation a while longer, in order to firm up a shaky job history.
There are many good reasons to seek a new job. More money, more responsibility, improved title, more attractive job content, better work environment, better co-workers, more fulfilling work, more opportunity for career growth, better opportunity for balance between work and family, greater sense of purpose or mission, and more, can all be valid reasons. The more reasons a particular opportunity holds, the greater chance that it will be a good career move.
While it's not realistic to seek "lifetime" jobs anymore in todays job market, it's also not wise to be too mobile either. It's difficult to achieve real growth over longer periods of time when you're constantly starting over. Examine your reasons for considering a move. Determine if issues can be addressed where you're at, and choose wisely!