Look Before You Leap When Thinking About Changing Your Job

By David Smith

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Confucius was a pretty bright guy, [sorry about the understatement..] – he said ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life!’ Or was that Henry Ford? Anyway, the principle stands, how awesome is it when you love going to work?

In reality though, how does the following scenario sound…?

You start a job and love it, not just the work, but the people you work with, your boss, even the place you work is great. It is a perfect storm of ingredients that make it so easy to peel your face off the pillow on Monday morning, you just love it!

As time goes by however, maybe a couple of your team move on, or your manager changes, and the role you have been doing changes, or you get moved to a different team, and suddenly, a couple of years into the job and you wonder what you ever saw in this job at all, and even Friday feels a bit like a Monday!

After some soul-searching, you start entertaining notions and thoughts about jumping ship, something you never thought you would have to do.

Better the Devil You Know….

Hold it though! Before you start scouring the job boards and classifieds for a new job, take a step back and consider the following points.

Research, research, research! Get online and determine the health of your current industry in terms of available jobs, the fluidity of the employment market in general and make sure that you have your timing right. I once left a very stable job just as the last recession hit. It worked out! It was terrifying and it was a risk, but it worked out! Arm yourself with information.

‘Search your feelings!’ [I’m pretty sure that quote is down to Yoda….or was it The Emperor]? Why are you making a move right now? Are you sure that this is not a ‘knee-jerk reaction?’ Are you sure that changing your job will ‘cure’ the way you feel about your current job? Don’t create a permanent solution to a temporary problem, if you leave now, it could very well be a one-way ticket!

The Grass is Always Greener….

Maybe the grass does look greener in another company, and maybe now is the time to change, but don’t forget that at some point, the grass looked pretty green where you are right now! It may not be a case of the grass being greener elsewhere, it just isn’t trampled yet!

Don’t forget that you have already started to build a great reputation in your current role, you have a track record! Do you really want to start from scratch, learn a new set of processes and make friends with a whole new bunch of people? How near are you to taking the next step up the ladder where you are now? Might things improve if you hold your nerve and keep your head down for a few more months?

Abandon Ship…!

Ok, so you have considered all of this and you have determined that the writing is on the wall and you have to get out now. Stop! I don’t know who said it, but a Joiner worth his salt will tell you to ‘Measure twice….cut once!’ so here are a couple of other things to do before committing to digging your escape tunnel!

Get your CV up-to-date even before you start looking for work, being as prepared as possible will help you make the break, and you don’t want the pressure of seeing a great job, only to discover that the closing date is ‘tomorrow’, you are unlikely to get the best results with your application if you have to hammer out your CV and a covering letter the night before it is due to be submitted…Same with your Linkedin profile, get it current and relevant, although you might want to make it less obvious that you are on the market.

Take off the blinkers! Don’t be so focused on getting out that you ignore alarm bells when you begin your job hunt, this can be fatal and you might find yourself in a worse position if you trip merrily through the application process whilst alarm bells are shrieking in your ears.

For example, you may see a pretty good job, but it features some element that you are not as keen on, but you think ‘I can live with that if it means getting out.’ You may find these words coming back to haunt you.

A pros and cons list! Whilst being a very old chestnut, this will give you one of the most accurate reality checks possible. Be honest and if possible, get a trusted friend to help you with this activity, you should opt for the type of friend who has the reputation for not always telling you what you want to hear. An objective perspective will prove invaluable and may reveal something crucial that you have not considered.

Keep it Under Your Hat

If and when you decide to leave, or even if you are just thinking about it for the time being, keep it within your circle of trust, certainly don’t broadcast your thoughts, you never know what your current employers have in mind for you, plans that you may never find out about if they discover that you are planning to make a move.

I know someone who got himself a new job, he was really happy about it…the euphoria undermined his level-headedness though and he thought it would be a great idea to tell all his team mates what he thought of them at his final team meeting - [it wasn’t pretty] – however, his new employers learned of this [hell hath no fury like a team mate scorned], and they withdrew the job offer…he was able to keep his old job, but needless to say, his bridges were somewhat chargrilled to say the least!

Brush Up on your job hunting skills, learn how to prepare for an interview. Eventually, you will be asked for your reasons for leaving, and you will need something other than ‘I wasn’t happy where I was!’

Get a health check on your CV before you start posting it online too…do the groundwork well and whatever follows will be built on a solid foundation.


You’ve done it, you have a new job, now for a pain-free transition!

You’re going to need a great letter of resignation, which should contain a genuine ‘thank you’ for all the developmental opportunities that you have benefited from during your time with the company, along with sincere well-wishes for the future of the company. You don’t have to give a reason for leaving, but if you feel like you would like to say something, stress that this is a decision you haven’t taken lightly, perhaps avoid words to the effect that you ‘spend all day on Sunday dreading Monday morning’, even if that is close to the truth. Keep it positive.

If people tell you to keep in touch, take them up on it, add them to your Linkedin network, especially the boss, take the opportunity to ask for a Linkedin recommendation before they forget the great work you have done [it happens, trust me…] You never know when you may need to approach this network for help in the future, don’t burn your bridges.

Finally, don’t forget a couple of tins of Quality Street | Celebrations | Roses [insert chocolates of choice] on your last day…make sure you walk through the door for the last time with your team mates thinking warm and fuzzy thoughts about you.

As usual, all feedback is welcome via Twitter, connect with me on Linkedin, or just plain old email me on [email protected] or call me, my number is on the website!

If you want a free CV Health Check, ping it over!

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