Why Jump Ship?

Too many of us wait until we’re forced out of our comfort zone to make a change. This is as true for job hunting as for any other major life change.  The number one reason good workers stay in ‘bad’ jobs is inertia. 

Of course, one person’s bad job could be someone else’s dream job; this is a highly subjective evaluation.  In perusing the literature over the past 40 years, not much has changed with regard to the reasons for voluntary separation.  There’s an old adage: you join an organization and leave a boss.

Not Just One Thing

Supervisors do make a tremendous difference in job satisfaction.  But rarely does an employee voluntarily leave a job for just one reason.  Lack of respect, recognition, purpose or opportunities are oft-given reasons people seek greener pastures.

My explanation for why I left my last job (as an employee) fits into the ‘not-one-reason’ theory. True, my supervisor and I did not enjoy each other, but the evening hours did not mesh with my life style and the working conditions weren’t on par with developed-country standards.  Truth be told, if I felt the organization respected me and the work I was doing, I probably would have stayed.  It wasn’t just one thing.

I’m a list-maker and I usually suggest clients tally what’s working for them in their current jobs and what’s lacking.  When the scales heavily tip toward the “lacking” side of the equation, it may be time to start looking.  Looking doesn’t mean leaving, however.  I’ve known a number of people who began a job search only to abandon it later.  The reasons are varied: a reassignment, a reevaluation or just plain lethargy.

The Case for Looking

Without a doubt, job hunting is a drain on one’s time and energy.  But the upside is that starting the process is the way to feel empowered and to clarify one’s values. 

Commonly referred to as “informational interviews”, talking to others outside your work group will jump start your job search.  Ask friends and family members for names of folks in different careers and companies who you may contact.  I have always found that an introduction via email or text to be most effective and less awkward than cold calling a stranger.

People love talking about themselves and their jobs.  An informational interview can be a means to gently check out an organization’s culture and to build your base of people who know you and may become allies and advocates.

Likely, you won’t find your dream job straight out of the chute but one contact can lead to another and another.  I believe meeting new people and expanding your network is never a waste of time. 

Update That Resume

At some point, someone is going to ask you for a resume.  Best to have an updated resume ready for that request.  Having stated that, preparing one’s resume can feel overwhelming.

Again, ask for help if you find yourself procrastinating.  There are resume writing services but you can also try tackling this activity with a savvy friend or coach.  Be sure to use a template and do a bit of research on the latest trends in resume writing.  An updated resume is emboldening even if it never sees the light of day.

What Happened to Loyalty?

The days of working at one job until you retire are long gone.Job loyalty is a quaint term that may have been relevant 50 years ago; staying in one job 3-5 years is the current norm.The only loyalty one should be concerned about is loyalty to one’s values and well-being.