Carefully Consider Your Career Moves

carefully consider your career movesHaving an emotional or bad day at work? It’s easy to understand why you might want to jump ship or make a sudden career move. But not carefully considering such a major change can be disastrous for your profession, quality of life, and happiness. So resist the temptation to be reactive and, instead, implement a decision-making process that scrutinizes the new opportunity and its alignment to your goals. Write a list of the pros and cons, analyzing each item on the list. Seek input from trusted advisors and family members and use your list for discussion points. This disciplined, well-planned approach will help you to make the best decision possible.

But life and work are more stressful and unpredictable than ever, you say? Tis true, yet emotionally driven career moves must be checked by patience, objectivity and rational career-planning strategies. Here’s why:

The grass is not always greener. Time and time again, I’ve seen people hastily hand in their notice and then go work for another organization only to find the same problems, kinds of personalities, and politics. In fact, research shows this can be a genetic tendency, whereby people view their jobs, as opposed to themselves, as a major source of the stress or the problem. Usually in such cases, these “chronic career-changers” suddenly give their notice and quickly accept a new position somewhere else only to find that the new company’s health benefits aren’t as great as in their former job or, worse, the company has plans to cut the budget next year and jobs will be on the chopping block. Now they really feel trapped and vulnerable, and when I talk to them, they say they’re still unhappy or even worse off than before.

Exploring a new job opportunity isn’t easy. Yet people often put more time into researching a new car than they do a professional possibility. Seriously! Think of the hours upon hours people put into reading reviews, not to mention talking to friends about their cars’ performance and gas mileage, and even test driving different makes and models. If only they’d approach possible career moves with the same scrutiny as they do their car or truck purchases! That said, the goal always should be to walk into any career situation with eyes wide open rather than rose-colored glasses. Do your homework and determine all you can about the company’s culture, health, people, benefits and potential. Ask question like: What’s the boss like — can I work under her? How much gets deducted from paychecks for health-care benefits? How stable is the company in light of the economy? Use resources like LinkedIn to find former employees who might be willing to answer such questions.

You can’t — or shouldn’t — force any career decision. Like the pieces to a puzzle, all the pieces must fit and make sense for you and even your family. Consider every aspect of the job, determining how it could impact you and your loved ones. What are the hard and soft “costs” or consequences? If any major “piece” doesn’t fit or something doesn’t seem right, don’t force it and then don’t fret about it. It’s simply not meant to be.

If you could do anything, what would you do?

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