Q: I’m not very happy in my current job, and it doesn’t seem like there is much opportunity for movement or advancement at the company where I work. What should consider when evaluating if this is the right time to make a move?– Boston
A: Don’t start packing up your desk just yet at least not before you’ve fully evaluated your current situation.
You’ll want to determine if the problem is really with the job and the company or whether there’s something else at play such as your energy level or dissatisfaction with other areas of your life.
Judah Kurtz, a Chicago-based career coach and management consultant explains: ‘Changing companies or roles may not be enough to make you happy. Do the deep work to explore [your situation],’ he says. You’ll want to have clarity before you pull the plug.
There are a number of important questions you’ll want to ask yourself, advises Mr. Kurtz. For example: Have you explored all of your options at the company? Have you taken the time to fully evaluate your development and career track with your manager? Could there be other non-work areas affecting your level of engagement and fulfillment? What do you like and not like about your current situation? What do you want in your career moving forward?
Even if you already know the answers to these questions and still feel like you’re ready for a move, there’s no need to rush, says Mr. Kurtz. ‘Reach out to your network to explore what opportunities exist and consider making a strategic move,’ he says. ‘If you want to explore another kind of work, it may be wise to stay put for a time while you evaluate [your] next steps.’
Also important is evaluating what you can offer a new company. To do this, you’ll want to take a hard look at your brand, professional reputation and any other qualities and skills you bring to the job.
Forget for a moment that you are a company employee and instead picture yourself as a ‘business-of-one,’ says J.T. O’Donnell, CEO of CareerHMO.com. ‘Businesses who decide to ‘fire’ a client that gives them the majority of their income must make sure they have a strong brand or reputation they can market, know their ideal target audience and the best way to reach them, and be certain there is enough of a demand for their services,’ she says.
Next, you’ll want to get clear on what it is you want and make sure that your career materials reflect that, says Ms. O’Donnell.
Finally, identify at least 25 companies where you would want to work and ensure that they have people with your types of skills on staff. ‘From there, I would try to network with individuals who were recently hired at these companies to see if they can shed some light on what is valued by the organization and the best way to get considered for a position,’ says Ms. O’Donnell. ‘This kind of networking can often lead to learning about ‘unpublished’ jobs and a recommendation on behalf of the person you connect with.’
If you can’t or are unwilling to do these steps, then you’re not ready to move on, says Ms. O’Donnell. ‘Sadly, I’ve seen far too many people jump out of a bad job and into a worse one.’