When contemplating a move to another job at a different company or even a transition within your current organization, ask the question of yourself:
“AM I MOVING TO SOMETHING, AWAY FROM SOMETHING OR AM I TREADING WATER?”
Unless you know the truthful answer to that question, you may be making a terrible mistake. Understanding your own motivation for a change is as important as the change itself. You want your decision to be the best move for the right reason rather than for the wrong reason. Your longer-term career can be affected. Let’s look at each one of these three situations:
1- MOVING TOWARD THE FUTURE – Will this new position move you in the right direction and at the correct level given your Career Map? Sometimes you need to move laterally to gain new experiences or skill sets that were not possible in your current role. In cases like this, when you need to supplement your experience base, make sure that you know what you need, how much time it will take to get these new skills, and if it will, in fact, move you up the ladder. You need to look two-or-three moves out in your career in order to understand the sequence of steps you need, over time, to reach your ultimate goal. Making a major change with a shortsighted view can be a career stopper.
2- RUNNING AWAY FROM THE PRESENT – Are you looking to move to a new position to get away from your present situation? Many times the current job stress can make a change look like your only way out of a negative situation. That may be true, but not necessarily the best decision in all cases. Try to be objective about assessing where you are, where you want to go, and why. You don’t want to jump to a new situation only to find out that it’s worse than the previous one. Then you’ve got two bad moves, which means a job-hopping resume of three positions in as many years. The point is, make sure you’re moving in the right direction and not backward for the wrong reason.
3- TREADING WATER – Staying in one place for a period of time is not necessarily bad. Stability is a wonderful attribute. Just be sure the value of stability is not hiding the question of stagnation. Stability can sometimes hide your real growth opportunities, especially if the company is in a growth spiral. A department head of a multi-million dollar business is growing and expanding if that business becomes a billion dollar business: You may have the same title, but have more staff, greater responsibilities, and more pay. On the other hand, staying in one place for too long, in an organization that isn’t growing, can impede your future growth. There needs to be a balance between getting the skills necessary for you to advance, while at the same time expanding your opportunities for growth. You can’t be a world-class tennis player by only hitting against the wall.
The opportunity for a long career with one company and receive a 25-year service award is gone. Doing the same thing year after year not only becomes boring, but also leaves you vulnerable when new management walks in, unless you’re keeping current in your field. There’s no greater feeling of security than the knowledge that you are in demand due to your knowledge, skills, abilities, experience and results.
Let me repeat that in a different way: Security is being marketable, based on your results!