Maybe it’s the holiday season, or maybe it’s the end of the year, but I have had more people asking for advice on a career change since Thanksgiving (6 to be exact) than I’ve seen in a while. So in the spirit of giving, I’ll share the advice that I have given them. Whether you are considering a career change yourself or you are managing a group of people and trying to figure out what they are thinking, consider these questions:
- Do you want to be in this job on your next work anniversary?
- Is your current job both demanding and in your control?
- Does your boss allow you to do your best work?
- Are you outside the 3-5 year “salary bump” window?
- Does your work align with your short and long term goals?
If you answered NO to two or more of these, you may want to read on.
Maybe you are an employee and you are trying to decide if things are going to get better at work or should you make plans to be working elsewhere soon? Or maybe you’re the CEO and you are noticing some changes in the behavior of some key employees. Either way, it pays to know the signs to have a good conversation and make a good decision.
1.Do you want to be in this job on your next work anniversary?
Statistically, people are most likely to quit on their work anniversary through their first few years with the company. They are also likely to quit on one of the many “fresh start” days (1st day after a holiday, 1st day back from vacation, 1st day of summer, etc.). If you don’t see yourself in that role on your next anniversary, this may be a sign. Keep reading.
2. Is your current job both demanding and in your control?
If your job doesn’t provide both challenge and autonomy, and there’s nothing you can do to make things better, consider a move.
* Jobs that are demanding with no autonomy burn us out.
* Jobs that offer freedom, but little challenge bore us.
* Jobs that offer neither of these are worst of all.
3. Does your boss allow you to do your best work?
There will be times when you make mistakes or when things just go bad.
* Does your boss have your back and support you if you have done everything in your power to make things work?
* When the boss makes a mistake, do they own up to it or do they throw you under the bus and blame others?
What about the times when you do something great?
* Are they leading the Victory Lap for you and making sure you get the credit you deserve?
* Do they encourage your best efforts and then get out of your way so you can get things done?
* Are they likely to be the one removing roadblocks or putting them up?
* Finally, do they have a sense of humor or do you find yourself avoiding their raging temper? (See also Toxic Handler for more on this).
4. Are you outside the 3-5 year “salary bump” window?
One of the best ways to boost your pay is to switch organizations. Statistically speaking the 3-5 year window of employment is the sweet spot for getting the biggest bump according to an ADP Survey. Fewer than three years may be too little to develop the most marketable skills. More than five years on the job and employees are seen as tied to the company and may start moving up the chain of command with promotions and other advancements.
5. Does your work align with your short and long term goals?
When your personal goals align with the company goals, you are more productive. The trouble is, we don’t always stop to think about what our goals are in relation to the work we do every day. If you were to list out your top three goals for the next five years, would this job help you get there?
If you are a CEO and are trying to provide good coaching for your leaders, you may want to have them start to think and talk about who on their teams may be looking for answers to these questions. Dynasty specializes in working with CEO’s in their first and last chapter of leadership. Whether you are looking to start things off on the right foot or leave a lasting legacy, if you are a Right Fit Client, we could make some big things happen together.
Before you go…
Think about what comes after you quit. Do you have something else in the works? Are you planning on going back to school for your MBA and a fresh perspective? Will you take some time off to backpack through Europe? Is there a better opportunity waiting for you? Have you talked to several other companies to get some comparative value? Maybe there is another role for you elsewhere in your company. Build your network of people that you can count on to give you good advice and point you in the right direction.
Full credit for the questions goes to Robert Sutton, professor of Management Science at Stanford. His questions have started a number of great conversations. If you want to read more about the subject, here are a few good resources: