“…Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double"
Leave it to the 70's English punk rock band, The Clash to make their new-wave music relevant in today's new normal. If there is anything good the COVID-19 pandemic has done is to put a huge magnifying glass on how we feel about our current job situation. If you were unhappy before this pandemic started, the source of your unhappiness is surely magnified. If you were happy, then COVID-19 has reinforced why you love your job. I doubt there is anyone in the middle. Those who are ambivalent are not focusing on how they truly feel.
“This indecision's bugging me…”
Now that COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on our work satisfaction level, one thing is sure, we need to decide what we want to do about it. If you are one of the fortunate ones that have everything at work in balance. A great job. A true leader as a boss. A company that cares about its employees and did not put profits ahead of people and you are satisfied with your position and career choice, then your decision is self-evident.
If, on the other hand, the crisis brought to the forefront some of the work-related issues seen most often (boredom, stress, anxiety, bad boss, lousy company, toxic work culture), then the decision may not be as clear-cut.
How do we decide if we should stay or change jobs during this crisis and the subsequent economic uncertainty? Well, we have to look inward and outward at the same time for the answer.
“Exactly whom I’m supposed to be…”
The Clash asked that question best to fit their lyrics. However, the question needs to be rephrased for a job change to "exactly who am I? It is not who you are supposed to be, but who you really are that matters. You should do a little bit of soul searching before you leave your job. You would be surprised to know how many people change jobs to discover that they are still miserable at their new place. Unless you are truthful with yourself and know yourself, you will always find external factors to blame for your unhappiness at work. Perhaps your old boss really wasn't a terrible person but was picking up on your lack of motivation and drive since you did not like what you did. Make sure you are in the right career, industry, and position before you go off making changes that may not change your satisfaction level.
There are online tools that can help you better understand yourself. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality assessment tool that could prove insightful. It can help you discover your abilities, likes, and dislikes and lead you to make an informed decision on what your next job should be.
“You're happy when I'm on my knees…”
Once you have determined that you are happy with your career choice and role, then it is time to look at the external factors that may impact your work satisfaction. This is the “It’s not me, it’s you, theorem." It may be that the company culture, values, or vision are not in line with yours. You may have a boss who is a poor manager. You could be working in a toxic environment where no one cares or does anything to change the work dynamic. If you find yourself in these situations and have tried to go through the proper channels to bring these issues to light, and still nothing is done, then it is time to find a new job at a different company.
“If you don't want me, set me free…”
Unfortunately, for some, the decision has been made for them. Some companies use a crisis as an opportunity to purge. It is much easier to make decisions on mass layoffs when the situation for the dismissal is external (pandemic) than internal (job performance). So, companies start cutting unprofitable products or divisions, trimming departments to make them leaner, and cutting employees they feel are not a good fit for the company. If you find yourself in this situation, congratulations! If you really think about it, you were probably not happy at that company, and the job loss will let you focus on getting a better fitting opportunity somewhere else.
“Should I cool it or should I blow?”
We all go through periods where our jobs are miserable, or we are just flat bored. Even getting out of bed can feel like a chore itself. If you determined that you really enjoy what you do, however, you are not mentally engaged in your current job situation, don’t wait too long to make a change. When you feel this stagnancy or boredom linger, it is a sign that it is time to go. Give yourself the chance to find something new that will interest and inspire you!
A few things to consider before you make the jump:
- Energy and confidence – changing jobs is work. You need to have the energy to make it happen, and the confidence in yourself to accept rejection and keep going.
- Under 1 year of employment – If you make a move with under 1 year at your current job, you run the risk of looking like a job hopper. If you consistently jump from one position to another and stay there a short amount of time (unless you are a temp worker), you should look deeper at the underlying issue, which causes you to move.
- Outlook for your particular occupation – The job landscape is changing very fast with the Corona Virus impact. Some positions are very stable, while others may be ripe for downsizing. If your job is one of those that are seeing rounds of layoffs around the industry, then perhaps this is not the right time to make a move for you.
- Leadership is changing – There are times when people above you are moving up or moving out. This can be a source of opportunity for you. If your troubles were based on the current management, you might want to wait it out. The situation could improve for you under the new administration. That said, it is always good to look for a job while you have one, so keep your eyes open for other options during this time. If things don’t turn out well with the new management, then you are one step closer to finding another opportunity.
- Consider your age – Sad to say, but age is a factor you need to consider before making a move. There is quite a bit of ageism going on in the workforce. AARP published a study on ageism: in their survey of adults over age 45, "61% of respondents said they have either seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and 38% of those believe the practice is 'very common.'"
As much as companies say they do not discriminate based on age, statistics and hiring patterns show a different reality. When companies are cutting costs, salary is a consideration. Older workers with years of experience command a higher salary. Even when the candidates say that salary is not a factor and are willing to take a cut in pay, companies are not willing to take a chance on the candidate leaving for higher pay. It may take an older worker longer to find a job at the same salary level they once had.
- A change of scenery – Are you willing to relocate? Some industries and positions are saturated in some areas of the country but are in demand in other parts. If you are ready to relocate, your options expand dramatically.
- Cost– Yes, there is a cost. All change comes with risk. There is a risk that the new job will not work out. There is the risk that it may take longer to find a job than you anticipate. It is good to plan for this risk, and the impact it may have on your finances. Can you afford it if it does not work out?
Changing jobs is not easy. But, sometimes it is a lot more pleasant than the alternative. No company is without faults, and no job is perfect. They don't call it work for nothing! But, when you find a job doing what you love, in an organization that cares about you, respects you, and values you, and you work. The payoff is priceless with a boss that is open, nurturing, supportive and caring about your career. Your health will improve, your stress level will go down, and your relationships with friends and family will also improve.
We at Jobtracks are always looking for talented candidates. If you want to find out what your market value is or if you are interested in learning how we discreetly go about searching for the ideal opportunity for you, click the button below to set up a time to talk.