"Before you jump to a new job, be certain you have good, sound reasons for wanting to make a change," advises Ramon Greenwood, senior career counselor at CommonSenseAtWork.com. "You may believe you can accelerate your career with a new job. You may be bored or running away from personal problems."
First, ask yourself, "Are there things I can do to make my present situation more acceptable?"
Don't be lulled into believing that the grass will necessarily be greener in another pasture. Or that a new pasture will be a great deal different from the one you are grazing in now.
Except in the most extreme reasons, do not leave your present job until you have another one firmly in hand. If it was ever true that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, it is when a job is concerned. Remember, it is always easier to get a job when you have one.
What Do You Want?
Take the time to figure out what you really want to do.
What will it take to make you happier? It is not enough to know what you want to change from; you need to know what you want to change to.
Be specific in answering these questions. Don't allow yourself to be driven by a sense of vague malaise to make a change just for the sake of change. If you can't spell out in writing the valid reasons you want to move to a new job and be equally specific about what you want that job to be, don't set the process in motion.
Recognize that you are contemplating a serious and difficult undertaking, even under the best of circumstances. There is always some risk to your present situation when you start looking around. What will your present employer think if the word gets around that you are "looking"? At best, the whole process is usually disruptive and can be traumatic for you and your loved ones. Determine that you have the courage to live with the dangers and uncertainties of making a change.
Survey the situation. Be sure there is a market for the skills you have to offer where you want to live.
If You Go, Go Full Speed Ahead
If, after giving the matter careful thought, you are convinced you would be better off in a new situation, go for it full speed ahead. The search for a new job is not a time for half-measures. To vacillate between courting new employers and sitting back in a coy mode, hoping to be courted, will surely breed frustration. Mount a campaign and invest whatever time and energy are required to reach your objective.
If you have something to offer that the market wants, you will find a new job. However, it will take time. There may come a point when you decide that by comparison your present situation looks quite attractive. So you may decide to stay put, at least for the time being. So don't burn bridges behind you.
And don't worry about there being a stigma attached to changing jobs. A lot of other people are shopping for new jobs at any given time. It has been estimated that today's college graduates can expect that on average they will have held eight different jobs by the time they are 40.
In fact, some personnel recruiters argue that your résumé will be stronger if it shows some changes in jobs, so long as the reasons for changing are positive.
Ramon Greenwood is former senior vice president of American Express; a professional director for various businesses; a consultant; a published author of career related books; a syndicated column; as well as senior career counselor for www.CommonSenseAtWork.com. Visit Ramon at his Web site, www.CommonSenseAtWork.com, to sign up for his free semi-monthly newsletter, or contact him at ramon@CommonSenseAtWork.com
© 2007 Ramon Greenwood
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