So, you are fed up with your job. You want to make a change. The Johnny Paycheck ballad, “Take This Job and …”, comes to mind.
You are not alone. The numbers vary, but at any given time, surveys show that as many as one-half of working Americans are unhappy with their jobs.
Career Advice: But before you jump ship, be certain you have good reasons for wanting to make a change. Are you just bored; are you burned out; or are you running away from personal problems that will tag along wherever you go?
Don’t be enticed by the idea that the grass will necessarily be greener in another pasture.
It is true, as the early American writer Washington Irving wrote: “There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.” However, there is always a price to be paid for change.
A Bird In Hand
Except for the most extreme reasons, do not leave your present job until you have another one firmly secured. It is always easier to get a job when you have one.
It is not enough to know what you want to change from; you need to know what you want to change to.
Take the time to figure out what you really want to do. What will it take to make you happy? Be sure you are not the source of the problem. If you are, changing jobs is not the answer; you have to change inside yourself.
Be specific in these definitions. Don’t allow your self 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 to do, don’t set the process in motion.
It Takes Courage To Change
Recognize that you are contemplating a serious and difficult undertaking. Be sure that you have the courage to live with the dangers and uncertainties of making a change. 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”? (I guarantee that he will not be happy, unless, of course, he wants you to leave.) At best, the whole process is disruptive and can be traumatic for you.
As a 16th century British theologian observed, “Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.”
If, after giving the matter careful thought, you are convinced you would be better off in a new situation, mount a campaign and invest whatever time and energy required to reach your objective. Go for it full steam ahead on your career path.
Do not vacillate between courting new employers and sitting back in a coy mode, hoping to be courted. That’s a sure road to frustration and a loss in momentum. You will find a new job if you have something to offer that the market wants. However, it will take time.
No Stigma Attached To Career Change
Job Tip: And don’t worry about there being a stigma attached to changing jobs. The President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities told a group of college seniors that by the age of 40, they could expect that on average to have held eight different jobs.
In fact, some personnel recruiters argue that your resume will be stronger if it shows a few different jobs, so long as the reasons for changing are positive and if you are progressing in your career.
In any case, if you are constantly unhappy and frustrated because of your work, set out to make a change, either within yourself or in a new job. Life is too short to stay on a career path where you are frustrated.
Don’t be surprised, however, if you come to a point where you decide that by comparison your present situation looks quite attractive. So you may decide to stay put, at least for the time being. You don’t want to burn bridges, so don’t slack off in applying your best efforts through the last day where you are now while you are looking.