Have you reached a point in your career where you feel that you need a change? Change is rather a very broad term. Let’s try to be more specific. Let’s say, you are looking for a more challenging role – a promotion, may be? or you have a preference for a certain kind of work – more technical, less people oriented, or you are looking for a better culture or let’s just say you don’t know what you want but you are certain you need a change.
In most scenarios, you will find that it is difficult to get the change you are expecting from your current employer.
You are important to your boss because of your contributions to your project. Asking them to give you something – joining another project – wherein there they have no gain is just the antithesis of laws of business. Of course, when you express your wish, they will even promise you the moon – but its always in the future. I have seen people waiting for years believing in such promises but unfortunately more often than not they are never fulfilled.
So what do you do? You get out of your comfort zone, take you destiny in your hands and look for better opportunities outside. But no matter how frustrated you are and no matter how bad things are, never forget that things could always go worse! Just the act of changing employer will not automatically solve all your problems. Here are the five things that you should consider when changing employer –
1. Are you getting what you want?
Number 1 thing to ask yourself, when changing employer is – Does the new position offers the opportunities you were looking for?
Conditions are very fluid while changing jobs and your focus could easily shift. While are you are in job hunt mode, getting interview calls and cracking the interviews is all that matters. Few rejections here and there could easily make you desperate and when you crack the next interview, it can give a false sense of triumph. You are relieved that you found a new job and you are all set to join it. But take a pause and ask yourself – does this new job offers you the opportunities you were looking for? If not, its not worth it.
If role and nature of work is very important to you, make it explicit in your interviews. Ask them what your day to day responsibilities would look like. Tell them what you are expecting from your new job.
2. Work in pipeline
Whether you are joining as a contractor or a full-time employee, it is very important to have an idea about the amount of work company has in pipeline. I would say, do this, even if you are joining a big brand who has track record of never firing employees. Covid-19 has shown us that stability is an illusion and it doesn’t take a whole lot for the world to crumble.
Try to get more details about the project you are being interviewed for. Details like goals of the project, duration the project has been in existence and future road map helps you to evaluate the relative importance of the project. Asking them about your role on the project and how important your contributions would be in making the project successful could help you evaluate whether you will be able to establish yourself in the project for longer term. This will lay down expectations at the beginning itself. Once you join, you have a clear mandate.
If it is a product based company, go one step further and ask them about other important initiatives in the organization. If it is a consultancy, ask them about their other clients. If company has a strong portfolio of clients, you can find a new project even if you lose current project. If it is a start up, try to research about their backers. A quick search on google could easily reveal details like investors and kind of funding they have been getting.
3. Read reviews on Glassdoor
I cannot stress this point enough! Always, I repeat always! even before interviewing, go to Glassdoor and read reviews submitted by other employees. Glassdoor even has reviews of candidates’ interview experiences.
Of course, no company is perfect. But it’s not about that. It’s about your preferences. Let’s say, you are changing employer to escape toxic culture and if most Glassdoor reviews tell you that there is a lot of micro-management at the organization, you probably don’t want to join them.
4. Negotiate your salary and benefits well
Many candidates change employer for financial growth. As such, they are very well aware of the market rates. Still, conducting a background research and negotiating based on the findings always help.
Again, Glassdoor can help here. Research salaries paid for this position within the organization and within the industry. Try to gauge the urgency to fill this position. Sometimes consultancies have to fill positions fast and if you ace the client interview, they won’t mind paying you a few thousand dollars extra or a joining bonus or more vacation time. But you won’t get this automatically, you will have to negotiate it!
5. Personal life and responsiblities
Joining a new job could be stressful in the beginning. At your old job, you were a star. Everybody knew you and could swear by your technical acumen. However, at the new organization you are nobody.
It will take significant time and effort before you could build the same reputation at your new job. Doing this, while there is a lot going in your personal life could be very demanding and could have negative fall-out.
Most new jobs have 3-months probation period, during which, company can fire you without notice and in fact your benefits would not start until probation is over. Probation time could result in refusal of mortgage and other financial problems. You need to be mindful of this fact.
Changing jobs is not easy. If you are in a booming field like tech, there is no dearth of jobs if you have the right skill. But getting one when you want and of your liking is difficult to come by. Also, when you have responsibilities in life, its not that easy to just hang up your boots and move on. Sometimes, you have to stay stuck, stay frustrated and wait for the right time and opportunity. I am not an expert in job hunting but these points have guided me in my job search and I hope you find them useful.