Feb 6, 2011

What would make you leave your job? 5 Questions I would start with

Most of you have jobs and still looking/thinking for other opportunities. It always makes me feel good when someone is hiring, so I am trying to share it with you. That's why I recently posted Who is hiring Whom in 2011.

Am not saying you should leave your job, or that it is easy. Before I would leave a job I was evaluating pro and cons, sometimes agonizing over the decision. It took three years once to finally decide I was going to leave a company. Some jobs were much easier, or even a pure pleasure to quit .

When you know you want to move on, it still is not that easy or straightforward and on certain days your job feels like an old annoying friend, but at least someone you are familiar with. Maybe you know people who grumble about their jobs for years but are keeping it. Don't they remind you of couples who do the same, complain about each other ALL the time - yet they seem to be the (only) ones who are staying married.

The fact is that companies scaled down, are saving on huge programs and companies celebrations, or are tightening belts in all possible ways. If a company can not bring Elton John to a party, it is not going to make you leave. But you want to work at great workplace even in down times. When times were bad people were going to take whatever they could. It hurts me to think about that. But now, even the students are reported to be more picky.

Students at Stanford are passing some job opportunities waiting for others that are better match for their career. Some are very thoughtful about the opportunities now. When there is some comfort level you are probably more ready to pass on opportunities because they are not what you really want to do.

Even if you don't work for one of ''the best companies to work for'', you should have certain expectations that might vary slightly from one person to another. Lack of perks like on site childcare, fully paid sabbatical or gay benefits (yes, all these exist) are probably not going to make you think of leaving your job.

Here is the list of questions you might want to ask yourself before making decision about leaving:
  1. Does work engage you?
  2. Do you feel your job is important?
  3. Do you work at high-trust workplace?
  4. Do you have positive sense of your future?
  5. Does this bad feeling lasts, i.e. does not ever go away even if you tried everything to correct the situation?

This is where I'd start. I am sure there are more valid questions. Can you think of some? What would be most important questions for you?

Last time I quit the job where title was great, and pay was excellent I just could not stand what I had to do on daily basis. It wasn't easy to walk away from perks and ''security''. One last test for me was a question I asked myself, ''Would I mind staying/doing what I do if they doubled my salary?'' I knew it was a ''No'' and had to take action. But it's just me. I am the one who thinks ''Don't pursue titles and dollars'' is great advice. Your priorities might be different. Only you (should) know what they are.

I know nobody hurries these days to leave the job. If you are leaving, are lucky and have a choice, try to match your priorities, values and vision with the one of the (next) company. I wrote about this in ''How to impress best recruiters and how NOT to fool yourself.''

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