Joblessness is the lowest it has ever been in most of our lifetimes, which makes for an abundance of job opportunities. And employers desperate to fill openings are getting creative to make them as tantalizing as a fresh sheet of bubble wrap. Before you get to popping, make sure it really is time to change jobs. Are you dissatisfied with your current job, bored, or just suffering FOMO (fear of missing out)? Consider these 7 factors to figure it out before taking the big leap:
- IMPACT Do you have influence over direction or policy because you’ve earned the respect of your leaders and coworkers? Are you empowered to make decisions that positively impact the lives of those you serve? Does your employer facilitate volunteer opportunities for you to better your community? These things are nothing to sneeze at because those who feel they positively impact others report increased self-esteem and improved overall mental health. There are a lot of ways to make a difference and a job that presents the chance to make an impact will lead you to a superior state of mind.
- RELATIONSHIPS If you’re like most, you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your friends and, maybe even your family. Unless your friends or family happen to be your coworkers. But that’s beside the point. The fact is you spend almost 25% of your week at work so the relationships you have with the people there are important to your psyche. Strong work relations lead to job satisfaction, lower absenteeism, lower turnover, and staves off the dreaded toxic environment. How do you get along with the folks you see at work?
- LEADERSHIP Bosses are the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about leadership, and they are your most obvious reference in your appraisal of leadership. The relationship you have with your boss is the most important one because it is closely tied to your level of engagement, your company loyalty, and your ultimate success. You can survive a challenging boss, but look beyond this to assess the entire leadership team. A leadership team that works well together with a clear vision that is communicated to employees and fosters an environment that is employee-focused is a keeper.
- BALANCE Workers who attain an effective balance between work and home are proven to be more productive in both places. While that is a compelling incentive for employers to enable their employees to do this, we still see some who expect staff to work excessive overtime, be plugged in while off the clock, or attend work functions outside of work hours. You can take control of your own work-life balance by making some changes in your life, but if you are working for a firm or boss that doesn’t support you in this goal, imbalance will persist.
- OPPORTUNITY The promise of growth and advancement is often touted in job listings, but it’s difficult to evaluate the true existence and value of those opportunities until you’ve taken the job. Make sure you know what your company has to offer and how to take advantage. Think about how you’ve been able to advance your skill set while you’ve been there. Define what growth and advancement opportunities you want over the next five years and whether your current employer can meet the requirement. And if you need to look elsewhere, formulate pointed questions for a prospective employer based on your desired conditions. If you can articulate what you want and need in this area, you’ll be better at rooting out what prospects really have to offer.
- RESUME This isn’t your father’s resume. In 2016 Millennials overtook Boomers and Xers to be the largest faction in the workforce. And they aren’t afraid of job hopping. No longer are school career counselors harping on longevity in the job history and no longer do companies expect to see just one or two entries for a mid-career applicant. That doesn’t mean you should be skipping from job to job every 6 months. A history of short-duration jobs will raise alerts with hiring managers. When considering a job switch, you should think about how they will look when laid out in resume form for a prospective employer. Your job transitions should be deliberate and demonstrate you have staying power but are not afraid to make a move if it will progress your career.
- MONEY It’s all about the bennies. Kind of. Notice we listed money last. Money should never be the primary motive for changing jobs. However, it is important to know what all is included in a compensation package beyond the salary. Time off days, including vacation, sick, personal, and paid holidays, pension and retirement contributions, stock ownership, health and life insurance are the basics, but don’t forget about other perks like flexible scheduling and intermittent work-from-home options, free snacks in the breakroom, free gym access, tuition reimbursement, employee appreciation activities, etc.
Job opportunities abound, so if your current job is lacking any of your key needs, go ahead and look out over the vista for greener grass. Be thoughtful and thorough in your evaluation of your current job, talk it through with loved ones, and, most importantly, don’t let fear drive your decision. Whether it’s fear of change or fear of missing out, remove it from the process as much as possible to ensure objectivity in your decision-making. And, if the time is right, grab the bubble wrap and get popping!