Should I change my job or stay put?

At some point, you will wonder if the grass really is “greener on the other side.” To answer this question, there are a number of factors to take into consideration such as finances, the overall job market, your chosen industry, as well as your personal relationship with your current role.  While it is scary to consider making this change, it’s a legitimate and healthy question to ask.

There’s no easy answer. We have a number of questions you can ask yourself.

While there is no one exact test that will tell you whether you should or should not stay in your current role, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself that may help you consider if this is a viable option.  Some of these questions include:

    • Have you been able to grow within your current job role or the company hierarchy?
    • Do you have the salary and benefits you need to survive?
    • Does your job negatively impact time with your family, friends or yourself?
    • Is a major change underway that could directly affect your position? (i.e. layoffs, buyouts, bankruptcy)
    • Has your work suffered as a result of your dissatisfaction with your job?
    • Do you simply want to switch careers or industries altogether?

What is good advice on changing jobs?

When it comes to changing positions, the keyword is “prepare.” Prepare for this dramatic shift as much as you can. This includes researching the job market or industry you wish to move into. Make sure there are jobs that fit your interests and skill set.  

Prepare your finances so that, while you are in transition, you won’t run into money troubles. Many times, when starting a new job, your pay schedule may take a few weeks to get set up.

Preparing your finances can help alleviate any unnecessary stress that would come as a result of waiting for that first paycheck.

Finally, you will want to prepare yourself. Prepare your image with a fresh haircut or well-fitted interview outfit. Make sure your resume is up to date and you prepare for interview questions.

Just like athletes practice for the big game, you too should practice and prepare for all the activities associated with seeking a new job.

Questions to ask yourself when considering a job change.

    • Why do I want to switch jobs?
    • Will switching jobs really help me to feel satisfied?
    • What about my current job is lacking?
    • What do I like about my current position that I would also want in my next position?
    • Am I simply staying in my current job because I’m afraid of the job search?
    • What will my work/life balance be like in my new position?
    • What will happen to my professional relationships when I switch jobs?
    • Will my reputation in the industry be affected by my decision?
    • How long will my new commute be?
    • Do I need to move to find my new job?
    • How will the pay/benefits differ, and how will the difference affect my lifestyle?
    • What challenges will I face in my new role?
    • Are there any skills that I lack for a potential new position?
    • What story will my resume show if I leave now?
    • Do you have a vision for your overall career?

When should I switch companies?

Sometimes it’s not the job but rather the company that causes great employees to leave. The company, not the particular position, may be the reason pay is low, benefits are lacking or that a work-life balance is impossible. If this is the case, it is likely time to break up with your current company and move on to better options.  

How often can I change jobs?

If you’re wondering how long you should wait before you switch your job, you’re in good company.

The sweet spot is anywhere from one year to two. Staying in a position for this long means you will have hopefully developed a positive, long-term rapport with your coworkers. This, in turn, can develop into favorable reviews and positive feedback if the company you’re interviewing with chooses to call your past employer.

Likewise, sticking it out at your job for at least this amount of time shows you can be trusted to work in a complex position. A company won’t be worried to invest several months of training into you because they know you’ll stick around to perform the job instead of absorbing knowledge and then departing.

Ultimately, these rules of thumb are – well – just that. Every situation is unique. Think about what makes sense for you, your industry and your career objectives. Even better, find a mentor in your industry to discuss your next career move with.

Does job hopping increase your salary?

It can, but timing plays a big role in your actual salary boost. If you’re underpaid in the current market, you could be due for a solid pay raise if you switch jobs.

Let’s say you’ve been in your position for ten years, and the average salary for your position in your area has increased by 30%, but you haven’t received much of a raise. You are in a prime position for a salary boost. As of 2019, unemployment is low, so many companies are in desperate need of employees.

Since few people are unemployed, this means there are fewer candidates to compete within the job market.  Essentially, it is a job seeker’s market, meaning that asking for higher pay or simply finding a higher paying position is a likely possibility.

What factors impact the average salary increase for switching your job?

Pay raises depend upon a few factors:

    • Your industry
    • The local job market – including demand for your skill set and pay rates
    • Your performance
    • Your level of experience
    • The type of organizations you work for/have worked for in the past

What is the best time to switch companies?

Changing jobs often never comes at an opportune time, but there are some ways to predict what timing may be best. As for leaving your current company, it is important to watch out for signs of difficulty or turmoil.  

These can include buyouts, layoffs, or bankruptcy. Any of these situations would be a convenient time to take your leave as you will be avoiding the rough waters ahead.  

When switching to a new company, it is important to consider the industry.  If you work in the retail sector, it is a known fact that positions are often in abundance during the holiday season. Accounting positions have their busy season as well.

You can also consider the age and growth of the company if you have a specific one in mind. Amazon’s workforce gained 150,000 employees between 2011 and 2016. Their acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 was a great indicator that the company would continue to grow and expand its workforce further.  

Watching for growth signs such as new start-ups, acquisitions or office space expansion can indicate that the company you may be considering is about to grow and prosper.  

What are some good reasons to change jobs?

    • You are simply dealing with your current job because you fear the job search. Jump in! If you need to make a change there is no time like the present.
    • Your benefits and pay are not covering your cost of living, and you can make more in a different position.
    • Your hours or job function don’t allow for a satisfactory work-life balance.   Whether you are working long hours and missing time with your family or you feel like your job has you at its beck and call and is otherwise making you miss out of your social life, it may be time to seek a new job that will give you a better work-life balance.
    • Your commute is a nightmare. Three hours on a subway may just not be worth it to stay at your dream job. It may be time to consider a position that lets you use roads less traveled.
    • You want to move. If working remotely is not an option or it’s simply not the best option, a need to find a job in another location or even another state means it’s a great time to switch companies.
    • You want to switch careers. You’ve lost your passion for your current career, and it’s time to find it in another industry.
    • You can’t grow in your position, and there’s no room to grow elsewhere in the organization.
    • You don’t make the money or benefits you need, but you could make them at another company.
    • Your job is stressing you out. Whether you just aren’t compatible with your coworkers or the work is giving you gray hairs, your stress levels have been impacted by your position over the long-term.
    • You feel unappreciated. Sure, you make a salary, but the lack of affirmation in your current job is hurting your morale.
    • Your job doesn’t work with your family needs. Whether you lack the flexibility to pick up your children from school or care for an ailing relative, your current job doesn’t allow you to meet your personal obligations.
    • People in your organization have misled you or others. Whether commission was promised and then withheld or a raise has been promised, but then denied on multiple occasions, you are losing trust with your employer.
    • Your company is undergoing layoffs. Enough said. It’s wise to start searching for another job before the bad news hits your desk.
    • Your company is being bought out. If this is your situation, there’s probably a lot of chaos and politics. It can be better to escape a tumultuous and uncertain situation for more stable ground.
    • Your company just lost a major client (or several). Times are about to start getting tough. If the layoffs haven’t started, you have reason to think it’s just a matter of time.
    • Your current company isn’t willing to negotiate with you. Whether you want a better salary, more flexibility, or another arrangement, your current company isn’t willing to bend, but another company might be.

What kind of mistakes can you make from quitting your job?

    • It can hurt financially if you quit before you find another job. It really is easier to find a job when you have a job. Make sure you have enough money saved to meet your needs while you look. It’s best to prepare for the worst and assume the job hunt will take a little longer than you expected.
    • You are running from yourself by trying to change jobs. Maybe you feel desperately unhappy. You think finding a new job will help you find fulfillment, but the truth may be that you are simply running from a problem that external circumstances won’t change. Before you try to switch careers, make sure you are addressing everything that’s broken about your current circumstances – relationships, your self-confidence, investing in your skills, time management, becoming ever-more competent – right now before switching jobs or your career.  Before you make a big career change, really explore the reasons why you want to move in your new direction.
    • Another mistake is giving up on your current job too quickly. Every job, just like every human relationship, will go through rough patches. If you’re experiencing a difficult time at your position, but you’ve had many pleasant moments at the same place, it may not be time to throw in the towel quite yet. Likewise, if your current position is difficult, but you’re working your way to something meaningful, assess whether the reward is worth sticking it out.
    • You expect to see immediate results by making a job change. Making a change takes time, hard work, long-term commitment and, oftentimes, money. Big changes don’t happen quickly. Be smart and strategic when making a change.   
    • Not quitting soon enough. Staying in a bad situation because you’re afraid to change isn’t the right answer either. If you don’t have room to grow or your environment is toxic and hurting your emotional or physical health, it’s time to leave. Finding the job that’s right for you will come with a little hard work and persistence.

Job change statistics

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an individual will have an average of 12 jobs in their lifetime and spend about four years in each position. Those who often move from job to job have been termed “job-hoppers,” and it’s no secret that Millennials are notorious for job-hopping.  

This term, however, is starting to lose its stigma as companies start to realize the benefits.  While there is something to be said for those employees who stick with a company for many years, it is also beneficial to have employees who move on to other jobs.

Job hoppers can prevent poor performance that comes with stagnation and help make room in a company for candidates with new and varied experience.  Also, those who job hop have been found to make more money and gain more desirable benefits as a result of changing positions rather than waiting on natural raises from their current role.  

What are the benefits of job hopping?

As with most decisions, there are pros and cons. Job hopping is not immune to this and while there are many pros to switching jobs there are also risks to consider. The benefits of job hopping include:

      • You can gain a diverse knowledge and experience background as a result of job hopping.
      • It is likely you will gain a vast network of peers that may also span across numerous industries.
      • There is a chance for higher pay or better benefits than where you currently work.
      • Waiting to be fired as a result of your unhappiness is never a great idea. Job hopping allows you to step away from your position with your integrity intact.
      • You may find a job you are truly passionate about by exploring the job market.

What are the risks of job hopping?  

The risks of job hopping can be terrifying but are just a normal part of the process. Don’t let these possibilities dissuade you from leaving a terrible job, but do keep them in mind and be prepared for these possibilities so that they can be navigated properly:

      • You may not enjoy your new job, especially if you switched career paths altogether.
      • If you have switched jobs a number of times in the recent past then potential employers may see you as a flight risk.  
      • The new company culture may not fit your personality.  This can include dress code or even the adoption of technology.
      • You may damage relationships with past employers who feel you didn’t commit to them.
      • You have to start from the bottom again. You may be last in line when it comes to seniority or training in a new company.