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Q&A4..Jumping Ship

Dear Ammar,

I have worked at my company for three years.  I have just received a good offer from another company with a 20% salary increase and a better position.  I am excited about the career opportunity.  However, I am hesitant to leave my current employer for several reasons.  For one, I am comfortable where I am; I have a secure job and the working environment here is very healthy.  The new company to which I am heading is fairly new, and rumor has it that they are very tough and demanding.  Having said that, I don’t have anything to worry about as I am hardworking and dedicated and competent in what I do. How can someone decide whether it is time to move to another job?  Help me decide.

Regards,

Kamal

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Dear Kamal,

Congratulations! You must be doing something right” to get good offers like that.  This sounds like a good problem to be in.  However, this is a decision that you have to take.  As with all decisions there will be advantages and disadvantages.  The most important thing is to make the decision yourself.  Do not let anyone else make it for you.  After all it is your career.  Make an informed decision, accept it, and be ready to live with its consequences whether good or bad.  Below are some guidelines and tips that should help you with your assessment. 

Before making a career move, determine your vision and goals.  This is not as easy as it might sound.  Think long term (ten years) and short term (three years).  Think about what you want to be doing, where you want to be, who you want to be associated with, …etc.  You might need to do this many times to finally formulate a clear vision.  Once your vision and goals are clear, determine whether your job will help you achieve your goals.  If the answer is no, then check if you can transform the position to support your goals.  If no,  then look for an available position at your organization that can.   If none exist, then it is time to move.

There are different routes with different companies and positions that can lead to the achievement of the same vision.   You have to determine which one best suits you.  Some companies might get you there faster but at higher risk.  Others might get you there safely, but pay less or take longer time.  There is no one size fits all when it comes to career paths  When evaluating options, take into consideration  your principles, values, and lifestyle.   It is a good idea to write down the pros and cons of each alternative then see which best meets your needs and wants.

As a rule of thumb: for an ambitious person, on a fast paced career path, with strong soft and hard skills, two to three years is the maximum to stay at one position.  If there is no room for growth in the same company, then it is time to leave.  Two to three years is enough time to make a difference, or to make a decision that the change is not going to happen.  Either way, it is time.  Staying longer might be a waste of time.  Leaving sooner might give the impression that a person is a drifter, fly-by-night, or a job hopper.

There are other good reasons to leave a post: lack of self fulfillment, problems with the boss, and negative or unhealthy working environments.  It is also advisable to leave when one is not able to add value to the organization or to self. 

There are also bad reasons to leave a job.  Small setbacks and minor problems are examples.  Another bad reason to leave is based on  “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome.  Some idealize “the other company”, when in reality it is no different than theirs.   It is important to scrutinize the new company, job, and boss.  Some get tempted by a title or a salary and blind themselves to major issues with the new company.  It is better to ask around and take the time for due diligence.  An advantage of working in a small country like Jordan is that almost everyone knows everyone else.  If a company has bad rap, then it is better to tread carefully.    

If you decide it is time to make a move, leave gracefully and do not burn bridges.  Keep a healthy relationship with your previous company and boss.  A respectful gesture would be to tell your employer that you are job hunting.   Especially if finding your replacement will take time.  Good luck.

Regards,

Ammar


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