Is this the right time to make a major career move? It seems like everyone is doing it right now as journalists and economists talk about the Great Resignation. This is the post-COVID labour market trend of many people using the reopening of the economy after the lockdowns as a chance to reinvent their careers. A significant number of workers are not only leaving their jobs, but a great many are also changing career paths altogether.
Other than being trendy, the timing also seems right for career changers since there are plenty of opportunities out there right now. Statistics Canada reported just last Friday that unemployment in this country is at a new record low. At just 5.1 per cent, this is the lowest unemployment Canada has seen since comparable data began being collected in 1976.
Businesses anxious to ramp up their activities to make up for time and profits lost over the past two years, plus a record low unemployment rate, make for optimal conditions for landing a job offer at a new company. But is it worth it? Should you leave the familiar surroundings of your current role for a shiny new opportunity elsewhere?
Let's take a look at some of the ways to determine whether the grass really is greener or if you might not be better off where you are.
What to look for in a new job
They say the best time to look for a new job is when you are already employed. And it's true for several reasons. For one thing, the fact that you are working makes you a more desirable candidate for potential employers - many have a bias towards currently employed candidates. For another, having a job gives you the luxury of choice. You aren't pressured into simply accepting any opportunity available because you need the paycheque to cover your rent.
When you are working, you have money coming in consistently, so you can take your time and find that next opportunity that really speaks to a more strategic career move.
Here are some reasons why you should consider taking a new job offer:
The new employer offers you a higher position and a path to career growth and advancement that you do not have at your current company. The day-to-day lifestyle of your job is important, but you also want to be considering your longer-term career ambitions.
If you are struggling to work under the watchful eye of a micromanager, and the new opportunity promises a more autonomous management style. This can greatly boost your creativity, independence, and sense of well-being at work.
The company culture at the potential new opportunity is more suited to you than your current working environment. For example, some companies have a 'work hard/play hard' culture where staff is expected to put in long hours and hit the bars afterwards. There are frequent social events and workplace functions to attend. Some people love this social aspect of their work. Others just want to finish their shifts and go home without being seen as antisocial. It can be uncomfortable to work in a place where you do not feel that you fit in - and the risk of being an outsider - not a 'team player' - can also impact your potential for advancement.
The money is significantly better at the new job. Money isn't everything, of course. But it is a primary motivator for having a job in the first place. You need to make a living. One of the best opportunities to augment your salary is when you are negotiating for a new job with a different employer. Companies are routinely more generous with the compensation they offer to candidates they are trying to hire than they are with raises to existing staff. So, if you are looking for a pay boost, job hopping is often the way to go.
Reasons to turn down a job offer
The company you are considering has a very high turnover rate. Find out if the position you are being offered is a newly created one or if you are replacing a former employee. Why has the job become available? Has your interviewer been in their role long? Is the company doing a great deal of hiring? Some staff turnover is natural, of course, particularly during the Great Resignation. However, if there are signs of an exceptionally high rate of people only staying with the company for a short time, it can be a major red flag of a toxic working environment.
The demands of the job look unreasonable. With low unemployment rates come frequent labour shortages, and many companies are attempting to compensate by having one employee do the work of three people. Find out what your deliverables will be at the new job and what your schedule will be. Sometimes a 'flexible schedule' can be used to mask an extreme workload. It's great to be able to do your work at the hours that best suit your lifestyle, but if the volume of work expected of you is ridiculously high, you might find yourself working well into the evenings and weekends just to keep up.
The commute will be brutal. People often overlook this as a factor when deciding on job opportunities. However, unless you are working remotely or have a hybrid working arrangement, your commute to work will significantly impact the quality of your day-to-day life.
You like where you work, but you are just feeling stunted at the moment. If you generally enjoy what you do and have good relationships with your manager and coworkers, you probably shouldn't change jobs on a whim. Every job is going to have its pros and cons. There are always going to be good days and bad days at work.
When you're feeling negative about your job, you tend to only pay attention to those things that bother you. Try looking at the good instead. Do you have people you get to work with every day whose company you enjoy? That's a huge perk.
Do you get professional satisfaction from your work? How's the work environment?
Can you fix the things that bother you about your current job? Is it the schedule that has you looking elsewhere? Or the commute, the workload, the physical work environment? A great number of things, from your work shift to job title, from salary to workspace, can be negotiated with your employer.
As much as a time of labour shortage and low unemployment makes for an optimal occasion to find a new job, it can also create positive conditions for negotiating as employers become increasingly anxious to retain their existing staff in the midst of the Great Resignation. With a few tweaks, your next great job could be the one you already have.