With U.S. unemployment coming in at a healthy low of 4.10 percent last quarter, and better-than-average employment figures across the globe, job seekers have new choices. “Get a new job!” may be at the top of many resolution lists, but before you push “send” on that employment application, you might want to take a few things into consideration:
1. Finding a new job is not as simple as it appears.
The number of people looking to ditch their current jobs and find other employment was estimated by some to be as high as 50 percent in 2017 (although our DecisionWise employee survey results show that figure to be less than 20 percen). Whether it’s 20 percent or 50 percent of the world’s population on the job prowl, competition may be steeper than one might think.
Now, further complicate this with the notion that millennials will make up 50 percen of the workforce in 2020. In the competition for the perfect job, there is a high degree of likelihood that your job-hunting competitor may be very similar to you when it comes to skills, experience or education. And, while you’re actively searching for that ideal job, you may not be giving your current role the attention it (and your employer) deserves.
2. You will be starting over.
While the possibilities of that new job and compensation package may be enticing, that move may be financially taxing. Many companies have benefits policies that do not kick in for a period of time. Benefits like health insurance and 401(k) often have waiting periods that have both short and long-term costs. The paid time off and vacation time you’ve previously earned won’t transfer across companies. In many areas, you will be starting over.
3. Job switching is stressful.
Workplace adjustments like changes to a different line of work, changes in work hours or location or new work responsibilities can significantly impact personal health. The Holmes and Rahe stress scale ranks a change in employment as one of the most significant when it comes to life’s stressors. When the average workweek for many of us is 45-55 hours, some of us spend as many as half our waking hours at the office. That’s a significant chunk of one’s life to disrupt.
Related: 4 Keys to Coping With Career Change
4. You’ll be the newbie.
Remember those new employees that you were asked to train — all of those questions and mistakes? Well, now that’s you! For the first three months of employment, you’re more of a liability than an asset, regardless of how valuable you think you are. Mastery takes time. Yet, mastery has repeatedly been shown as one of the key factors in job engagement. Institutional knowledge that comes through tenure is highly valued by most organizations. Are you ready to spend a good part of 2018 as an apprentice again, acting as the learner rather than the expert? Many employees tie a sense of self-identity and worth to the expertise, title and necessity of their job. That change may have more of a psychological impact than you realize.
5. Relationships take time.
A new job means a new team, new customers and a new boss or subordinates. Connection to others around you continues to show up as a primary factor in employee engagement, not to mention the ability to get things done. All that effort to build relationships in your current job won’t be transferred to your new role. Additionally, trust typically must be earned over time, and that absence of trust may impede your short-term effectiveness. Relationships and trust take time to build. Remember, you will likely be starting over.
6. Growth often involves pain.
When professional growth opportunities are absent in an organization, you get stagnation, boredom and attrition. Those who remain in growth-impaired environments are operating on autopilot. They aren’t mentally present; their minds are not on their work. Errors happen and quality drops. Indifference sets in when work becomes routine. While a no-stress job seems ideal to some, challenges and growth are key components of employee engagement. Growth most often occurs when we are stretched beyond our comfort zone. Yet, when some people run up against challenges, they take the easy way out by looking outside the organization. Consequently, they never grow because the grass is always greener elsewhere. Which brings up the next point.
7. Maybe the problem is you.
In 2017, employee engagement firm DecisionWise analyzed more than 24 million employee survey responses gathered over three years. When it came to disengagement, the findings weren’t completely surprising: fully disengaged employees rarely turned the engagement corner. According to the study, if I’m disengaged in my current job, I’m likely to disengage in my future job.
Why are you thinking of making the switch? Is it the working conditions? Compensation? Bad boss? These are valid reasons. However, often it’s not just this job; it has become a pattern. What’s the common denominator here? Are most team members always doing less work than you do? Are all companies made up of tyrants? Will the people at your new job really value you more than those at your current job? Or, maybe… just possibly…is the problem, you? Look in the mirror. As they say, “wherever you go, there you are.”
Before you rush out to fulfill that job-change resolution in 2018, consider the above. Maybe that switch isn’t what you want after all.