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Is the grass really greener? Things to consider before changing jobs

Everyone, at some point, will wonder if they should change jobs. It’s a normal feeling, whether you’re thinking about pay, opportunity or just doing something new.

If you’re a younger worker, you’re more like to actually change jobs than if you are an older worker well-established in your career.

Regardless of age, here are seven key things to consider before making that leap:
  1. Why do you want a change?

    Knowing why you’re not finding fulfillment in your current position and what things you’re looking for in a new one will help you get started in the process of switching jobs. Is it because you’re not being challenged? Are you seeking more money? Is it a bad work environment? Are there changes in the company, like mergers or financial issues, that you want to avoid?

    Whatever your reason, knowing why you’re looking to leave will help you avoid the same thing in a new position.

  2. Know your long-term goal.

    If you know where you want to be in the long-term, you’ll be able to make choices that help you get there. For example, if you’re long-term career goal is a position that requires an advanced degree, you can look for jobs that offer tuition reimbursement as a benefit. If you’re thinking of starting a family and want to still work, you can look for jobs with flexible hours, good family leave policies and a good work/life balance so that you have time to do after-school activities with your kids or pursue your hobbies.

    Knowing what you hope to achieve in the long term will be invaluable as you consider various positions and companies.

  3. Know what you’re seeking now.

    Whether it’s a different environment, better pay, better vacation policy, different duties or better retirement options, it’s best to make a list of the things you want in a new position – and then prioritize them.

    This will help you as you compare positions to know if the new job is actually going to be better than the one you have now.

    Changing Careers
  4. Understand the new company’s mission and culture.

    Research the mission to see if their actions and culture actually match. And be sure the mission is one that aligns with your own values and interests. If they say they’re involved in the community, check their website and press releases to see what community work they actually do. For example: if they’re spending time supporting a religious organization and you’re not religious, you might want to look for another position.

    If the culture is more professional and you’re more of a laid-back person, you’ll want to consider if that change in style is best for you. Also, get to know as much as possible about the management style of the person who will be your boss. You’ll want to be sure their supervisory methods match with yours.

  5. Consider the location.

    Most people will look at the commute times to and from a new position, but you’ll want to look at the area around the new position as well. Is it convenient to leave for lunch? Could you take care of errands before or after work? Is there a place to walk safely on your lunch break?

    There are a lot more factors than just the commute time, especially if the new location will allow you eliminate previous stops that took up time. For instance, if there is a dry cleaner right next door to the new position, you could trade a 15-minute difference in commute time for the 30 minutes it took to drop off/pick up dry cleaning.

  6. Evaluate salary and compensation.

    While salary is important, it isn’t everything, especially in today’s tight labor market. Many companies are offering unique benefits that go beyond the paycheck. Some of those benefits include: on-site day care or child care reimbursement, gym memberships, flexible work hours, free lunch cafeteria, weight loss or smoking cessation programs, or company-sponsored sport teams. Some companies even let you bring your pet to work.

    Medical benefits also need to be considered, especially if the new position has dental, vision, life or long-term care insurance that you don’t get with your current job. Be sure to ask about premiums, co-pays and deductible for you and your family members.

    You’ll also want to take a look at the retirement options, including any company match for your 401(k) and whether not the retirement plan is portable.

    Lastly, if you’re willing to take a short-term cut in salary because the non-wage benefits are so much better, be sure to update your household budget and maybe even set aside some savings to help you in the transition.

  7. Make a list.

    After researching the new position, you’ll want to make a list comparing everything about it to your current job. You’ll want to start with your priorities from Nos. 1, 2 and 3 above, and then cover everything else.

When you’ve finished comparing everything, you’ll have a good overall picture and should be able to make a decision that will be the right one for you and your family.

Remember, a job change takes time and patience, but it’s well worth it to ensure you’re not jumping at the first opportunity and leaping from the frying pan into the fire.

And if you have found a job that you are interested in, you are going to need to prepare for the interview!

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Managing Stress

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