One of my clients is in his late 20s. He’s been a Program Manager for the last 18 months. When I ran into him recently, he told me that he wants to leave his current job but can’t because he hasn’t been there two years. I asked him, “What’s the difference between a year and a half and two years?” For a company looking for a manager with 1-3 years’ experience, he fits the qualifications. He’s not looking to move up in his career at this point. Why not make a lateral move? Why does my client want to move? His boss is not supportive, and there is some chance he could be fired or demoted. Now is the time for him to move.
One of my clients, let’s call him Fred, is an executive in his mid-sixties. He’s told me more than once that he plans to retire at 70, so I was surprised last week when he informed me that he’s interviewing for a new job. He’s happy with his current position, and he’s been with the company for six years. When I asked why he’d consider leaving. Fred answered, “I might get a better deal,” adding that he thinks the new position could pay him as much as $10,000 more a year.
His response opened my eyes. Even if someone is only going to work for three or for more years, a annual salary increase of $5,000-$10,000 is a lot of money. Fred then put his decision in a better perspective: “How do I know what’s out there if I don’t look? Going on this interview might convince me that my current job is great, or it could give me a chance for something better.” Throughout his career, Fred has consistently moved when he found a good opportunity. He didn’t stay with an employer out of a sense of loyalty or, worse still, fear of change. Over the years, he’s been laid off a few times, but his approach to the job search has always led him to find new opportunities.
My take away from this story is that a smart professional never stops looking for a better deal, especially in an economy where most employers are stingy with raises and generous in giving more work. Changing jobs can often bring a higher salary and other perks. It can, as Fred pointed out, also show that the current employer isn’t so bad. Looking for something new brings perspective, which is good in any aspect of life. Start looking. Who knows what you’ll find?