We all have up and downs in our work life – it’s just part of the deal. But at a certain point something triggers the possible desire to look for a new job. It could be organizational changes inside a company, a new manager, bad economic outlook, mobbing through co-workers, dealing with a disgruntled employee, or simply boredom with the current job.
Often when an individual considers a change in venue (for employment that is) the search is done half-hearted at first so to speak. Checking what is out there often comes as the first step before really jumping into the job market as an applicant. Once the first feedback is received from a headhunter or recruiter, it becomes more serious and once the first interview is completed the employee starts imagining how it would be to leave the current job and to find something better.
I have been in positions where changes in the work environment (re-org + layoffs) kicked me out of my comfort zone and really motivated me to look around. I was still employed and slowly eased back into the job market keeping my eyes and ears open. Since I had a job I was able to be picky – which is always a good thing when looking for a new job. A friend referred me to a company that he really liked and where she knew people and so I applied for a new position over there. The interview process went well; I made it through 3 different interviews. The company started preparations to make me an offer and so I came to a point where I had to think about what to do when the offer would arrive.
I had not seen the entire package yet, but overall I knew that the offer would be in a range I wanted to be in. With this in mind, my mind actually started becoming very active and I looked at my existing job and the company I was working for. I also thought about the new opportunity, the challenges associated with it, and where it would lead me to with my career. I like challenges and of course I would not mind to make more money along the way. On the other side, my existing job had some benefits and a certain level of conveniences that I liked (not meaning job perks or benefits like that). For one with an existing job you are well established and settled into a comfort zone. Second, you kind of know what is going on and where everything fits in – you can say it is an predictable environment. As human beings we like stability and smooth sailing in our life’s – even if things are not necessarily perfect.
As a job seeker you have to put the different options into perspective and really determine which one is better. Every job change is a challenge in itself and naturally carries a specific risk. There is a risk that you do not meet the requirements of the new employer and they will fire you before you do not perform to their expectations. While this is more a problem of miscommunication during the interview process, it is a big issue because suddenly you would be out of work. Of course there are many more reasons why the new job might not work out as anticipated and the above is just one example. It could also be that your new job is the best thing since sliced bread and you wonder what took you so long to leave the old one behind.
Anyway, you have to make the decision about staying or leaving. However, make sure you know everything you need to know about the job offer in question. In my example from above I received the offer letter and the list of benefits (health insurance, life insurance, 401K, etc.). It turned out to be a bust – the new salary was good, but the benefits would eat up a lot of the additional money. Especially the health insurance was fairly expensive + came with much higher deductibles and co-pays. I went back one time to the company and explained very friendly and in an orderly manner that this would not work for me. They already were a little bit below my initial asking range, but that would have been Ok by itself (I am not nickel and diming for 1 or 2 grand). But combined with the weak benefits I wanted what I had asked for the in first place. They actually now seemed to be ones that were nickel and diming me and I decided that this would not be worth it. I walked away from a nice 6 figure income.
Anyway, it is important to really think about the possible step of leaving a company. It is not always easy to leave. You might have friends or even family there, or you are (still) not fully ready to leave. If you are desperate to get out, any job offer cannot come early enough. And while you can ask for advice about the new job offer, in the end you have to decide and make the decision yourself. You are the one who has to accept the consequences – good or bad.