From the “Gracious Defeat” Files: How do you know when it’s time to leave your job?|
How do you know when it’s time to leave your job?
1. When you can’t earn any more money
If you know for a fact that you cannot make any more money at your job no matter how you perform or how many degrees you have – then it’s time to leave. For example, if you’re working at a law firm and you’re not an attorney, you’re never going to make as much as the attorneys or partners (unless you’re a C-level employee). In this case, either get a JD or leave. Otherwise, your only option for growth is to wait for a superior to leave so that you inherit more responsibility. Though this is always a possibility – you can never know when someone is planning to switch jobs or leave the workforce. So be sure to explore all possibilities before you decide to leave your job. If your superior does leave, be the first to step up and offer to take his/her responsibilities. It’s easier for a company to promote within than hire someone from outside the firm.
2. When you’re no longer learning
There might be a cap on what you’re currently earning, but if you’re learning everyday and gaining valuable skills that you can apply at another company or later in your career, then you should consider this a form of compensation. Being given responsibility to manage anything and the opportunity to gain a skill set or exposure is plenty of reason to stay at a job. If, however, you are no longer learning AND the possibility of making more money with your company has diminished – it may be time to move on.
There are many things you can do to continue learning while at your job. Enroll in evening continuing education courses to acquire a new technical skill or read trade journals and periodicals to improve your industry knowledge. Include the Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, and Vanity Fair in your reading every week – and you’ll amaze your co-workers and boss with the perspectives you bring to your work.
3. When the company is facing economic hardship
The last four years have been tough economically, and changing jobs might not be an option for you. On the other hand, your company might be suffering financially, and you might be forced to find another job. If your company is going through rounds of layoffs or you are aware of financial hardships at your company, don’t wait until you’re laid off to start looking for another job – get your resume out there and start looking right away. You don’t have to leave your job to take another job, but protect yourself by starting to look for another job if you learn of layoffs and downsizings. If it takes 6-9 months to find a job, why would you wait to start looking until after you’re laid off?
You might be counting your lucky stars that you haven’t been laid off, and it might feel scary to start looking for a job before you’re laid off. You might feel extremely loyal to your boss and co-workers, making it hard for you to think about going to another “office home.” Remember these two things: 1) Just because you’re looking for a job doesn’t mean you have to take a job and 2) Even though your boss and co-workers might feel like family and you wouldn’t want to leave anyone in a lurch -you, even you (no matter what you do), are disposable and replaceable. If your company needs to replace you, they will do so in a heartbeat. Looking for a job while you have a job is simply shopping for insurance.
4. When you can increase your earnings potential
You might have a great job and a great salary. So why would you consider leaving? There is one reason to leave a good job or salary – to increase your earnings potential. You can do this by getting degrees, certifications, or education that will allow you to command more responsibility or a higher salary. Another way to increase your earnings potential is to make an “outside of the box” career move, such as taking a job opening overseas or moving to another office within the same company. In the short term these changes might cost money or be uncomfortable if you need to relocate, but in the long term, they will allow you to command more money and responsibility because you have the education or experience “to skip a few rungs of the ladder” than if you had stayed in the same job in the same function in the same location.
Increasing your earnings potential is never a bad choice, but remember – it is an upfront sacrifice whereby you might be making less money or no money for a couple of years. And after you graduate (if you go to school), you will need to find a job, and once you land a job, it might initially be for less money or a more junior position than the job you left. Your payoff comes years down the road with the greater responsibility and higher salary you are able to command – but this might not occur right after you graduate or return from a company assignment abroad. Remember, your career is a marathon, not a sprint.
[Read the original at bSmartGuide]
The author of this article wishes to remain anonymous.
Photo by Michelle Burrus