Article by Elliott Hardaway, Practice Manager in Workbridge Washington DC
It’s said that “the grass is greener on the other side”, but is it really? This is a dilemma people in all industries experience from time to time. The job market influences many aspects of our lives regardless of our feelings. Therefore it’s important that energy and resources aren’t wasted on positions which limit career mobility or quality of life.
According to the Job Satisfaction Survey by the Conference Board, for the eighth consecutive year fewer than half of U.S. workers were satisfied with their jobs. While different factors motivate us to work, it’s imperative that jobs provide a level of satisfaction and balance which enhances and improves overall well-being.
But how does one determine whether it’s time to make a move? In my years working the market, there are a few tell-tale markers that signal it’s time for a change. Below are a series of questions to aid in this consideration process.
- Is there anything my current employer could do that would make me stay? Consider common grievances that motivate a change in employer such as: Overworked, Compensation, Lack of Responsibility, No Upward Mobility, etc.
- Are my skills up-to-date with the market and attractive?
- Am I going to miss out on a big bonus or retirement vesting period if I leave now?
- Am I willing to sacrifice certain benefits and/or compensation to find the right employment opportunity?
- Am I willing to invest time for interviews?
- Am I willing to take a step back from peers that I’ve built relationships with over the past year(s) at my current employer to pursue a new job?
Not all of these questions require a certain response, but they are all relevant when considering a move. The first question is the most significant because it requires reflecting on why you are considering a move and will identify the presence or lack thereof of an interest to stick it out with your current employer, given a viable solution. It’s easy to assume employers can’t or won’t change things in order to retain employees, but in reality it’s much more difficult to hire a replacement. According to market information on the cost of employee turnover, hiring a replacement can cost up to twice the salary of the lost employee due to on-boarding, lost productivity, and even cultural impact. Working in staffing, I know firsthand the investments needed financially and in resources such as time to successfully onboard a new hire– it’s not ideal for any company.
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Confronting a boss about grievances and possible solutions can be challenging since many employees fear such a conversation could jeopardize current employment. It cannot be overstated how important communication is. Keeping an open line of communication about progress and overall work satisfaction is key to any employee-boss relationship. Often, individuals misconstrue such open communication as complaining and tend to shy away from it, but having such a conversation is part of being a professional as it’s critical to not let any grievances build up over time. A lack of open and honest communication will squash any possibility of coming to a solution that keeps everyone happy and productive. Addressing the factors instigating a potential move can be uncomfortable to broach. So it’s important to keep in mind that your boss(es) may have had similar concerns during their tenure and likely will understand where you are coming from and may even be able to suggest solutions. When having this conversation, it’s important to direct the conversation towards identifying realistic solutions as opposed to making challenging demands.
By the same token, it may be time to move on if the current opportunity has run its course. There is no amount of money or change in responsibilities that can serve as a long-term solution. If you’ve arrived as this conclusion, use your answers from the remainder of the questions to guide you before proceeding. There’s a strong market out there for those willing to make the investment both in time and willingness to see a cross-section of the available opportunities. If you find yourself at this crossroads, it may be time to take that leap.