When people change jobs, what do they normally say? Something like, “I couldn’t afford not to”, “I got a better title”, “The stress is less”, or “I’ve got the job of my dreams”. You can probably add another 10 responses that you’ve heard. But the real question is: Why do you want to change jobs in the first place?
My experience over 40 years tells me that there are three factors to consider: Professional and Personal Growth; Responsibility and Compensation; Freedom to Perform at Your Optimal.
Let’s take a look at each of these.
Professional and Personal Growth
As a professional: Have you increased your skills and abilities, learn higher levels of complexities, engage with management at a higher level, expand your business and functional knowledge that continue to position you on an upward trajectory? Do you supervise others?
As an individual: Are you growing in confidence, maturity, interpersonal relationships, experience, exposure, visibility, credibility, influence, and other personal attributes needed for the tasks ahead? Do you have a development plan approved by management?
Responsibility and Compensation
Responsibilities can expand by additional roles, tasks or projects, inclusion in higher-level groups that will advance you within the organization. Are you increasing your functional responsibilities while expanding your compensation?
Compensation is a measure of how the organization values your contribution. It can be in performance increases above the norm, a bonus for a job well done, or stock. Non-financial rewards are also an indicator of appreciation, like being recognized by the “big boss” in an open meeting. Are you advancing in comparison to your peers in other organizations?
Freedom to Perform
How tightly are you supervised? Have you been given the freedom to develop the strategies and execute an approved plan to achieve stated results? If however, you’re micro-managed or spoon-fed; it’s time to ask why. Freedom to act is extremely important as it demonstrates the confidence the company has in you. The higher in management you go, the greater the freedom of action you should have. The longer you remain in a position, the greater the freedom of action you should be given. An athlete cannot become an Olympic gold medal winner in figure skater by practicing on a block of ice.
These three factors are the building blocks within a career plan. Each point is integrated into the steps leading to your ultimate career destination. If you don’t have a career plan, you may be moving in a direction that will take you off course and possibly be unable to recover.
Consider each job change with cold and honest objectivity based on all three factors, not just one. A false move can cost you five or more years to recover from a bad decision.
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