Time for Career Change
Almost everyone has entertained the idea of changing one’s work for something better. Since it is usually triggered by deep dissatisfaction, people are often swayed by their emotions into making fatal mistakes.
In making your decision, taking some guidance from the product life cycle model is very helpful. Like a product, our career has a beginning, a midpoint, and eventual decline or retirement. At each stage there are appropriate strategies that should be applied.
For those starting out. If you are young, just in your twenties, it is better not to be blinded only by high initial pay. At this stage, you should look for companies where there is a promising career path leading to a higher post. Beware of dead-end positions if you are ambitious. However, if you are not inclined to go up the ranks then you need not strive too hard; you can just accept a dead end position from a stable company as long as the pay is satisfactory.
Beginners should be knowledgeable of the tradeoffs and focus more on the long term. Many studies have shown that entry level compensation in glamorous industries is markedly lower than the usual jobs in similar sized firms. For example, so many people want to get into show biz, especially in acting jobs where stiff competition may drive salary rates down. To a lesser degree, this is a factor in other industries too. The pay and the learning opportunities are usually higher in field jobs and other positions where there are less physical comforts.
Consider too that there are companies so prestigious that those who were employed by them can use the company name as a credential of eligibility. Just make sure that the company’s reputation is founded on excellent training so that you will get a more lasting benefit. One of the leading accounting firms here regularly gets to hire the brightest of the new CPA’s despite giving mediocre pay since having this company in one’s resume is a certification that you are very talented. Many young people would do well to use this stepping stone strategy.
In comparing the compensation, remember that base pay is only one component; all benefits must also be taken into account. An attractive basic pay may hide the fact that there are hardly any benefits on top of it. Some of things that add substantial value are commissions, allowances, and health and car plans.
For those in mid-career. It is hardest to decide when you are in mid-career. Although, there are more options than when you are nearing retirement, this too is usually the time when you have the heaviest obligations. You may suffer from the “golden handcuffs” syndrome wherein you cannot leave your current company because of the fear of losing the financial perks that may be substantial if you have spent many years in the company.
There is also the difficulty of re-establishing roots in a new company. A new company means a new culture to adapt to. Besides this, you will have to create a new network that will be your mutual support system. These things are also present in a younger person but the effort is more difficult for those who have spent many years in their old company.
Still there may be compelling reasons to pursue a change in employment. Just be very careful when you are in this stage.
For those who are a few years from retirement or retiring. A lot would depend on your health, current financial status and on their company’s early retirement policy. Usually at that this stage of your career, if things have gone well, the kids will have finished college and mortgages have been paid off. Most people, in good health, nowadays look forward to an active lifestyle, many may find it preferable to keep on working although in less strenuous careers and with a more flexible time.
With lesser obligations, priorities change and you can afford to examine more options. More importance will now attach to those activities which you personally desire instead of being dictated by financial need. You can also afford to take a more relaxed pace and find a work that will afford you more time to indulge in recreation, rest, or whatever your heart desires. All this, of course, assumes that you have set aside a comfortable retirement fund.
Besides the factors mentioned above, there are other considerations in deciding on what course of action to take. Several of the most critical points are as follows:
Reasons to stay put in your position:
• You are an in an emotional state. It is rarely a wise choice to make a major decision while your mind is unsettled. Resigning immediately after a quarrel with your boss is likely to a blunder. Take a little time, maybe a few days, to cool off before doing something you may regret later.
• The problem is with you. If you find that the problem is with you rather the company or your co-workers, then running away is a futile exercise as you will be taking the problem along with you. It will only be a matter of time before the same issues will resurface.
• You have dependents. If you will be transferring to job with less remuneration then consider if it will suffice to provide for your obligations to your family.
Some of the reasons to look for better pastures:
• Better opportunities. Hopefully this is your true reason. In this case there is no problem as long as you can verify that you will be better off.
• There is no more possibility of promotion or substantial increase in salary. It may be due to many things that upward progression is no longer possible. Maybe the company is too small or all the top spots are reserved for the owners or their relatives. Whatever the reason, if you see that your career is at a dead end and you are aspiring for more, then it may be correct to move on.
• You can no longer work with your boss or co-workers. If your relationship with your co-workers, especially your boss has become irrevocably antagonistic then it may be better to move out than to work there every day with people you cannot get along with.
• Your health. Your job may be placing physical demands on your body that you can no longer tolerate. Once, when you were younger you may not have any problems with constant overtimes and stressful tasks but now you are developing hypertension due to the strain. If this is the sort of thing you are experiencing then a change to more relaxed job can lengthen your life.
The desire to improve one’s life is the main engine of progress; otherwise, we would all still be contentedly living in caves. Nevertheless, change for change’s sake is a risky preposition. You can erroneously conclude that the grass is greener on the other side if you act too soon. It pays to analyze the situation objectively before embarking on a perilous course. Failing to do so may mean jumping from the frying pan and into the fire!
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.
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