10 Questions to Ask Yourself If You’re Considering a New Job
Are you feeling frustrated at work? Is your current role not fulfilling your inspiration meter like it used to? Or maybe you've reached your full potential and aren't challenged anymore. While the simple solution is to quit, the consequences of that might not be so smooth. Do you have the finances to cover expenses after you quit? Is your current job really that bad? Are there great career-boosting opportunities at your company that you've overlooked? Can you guarantee the new role will fulfill your professional and personal goals? If you haven't already asked yourself these questions and others, then we strongly suggest you do before you steer your career in the wrong direction. At the end of the day, only you can make the change needed to reignite that flame inside you. Scroll down to read our top questions to ask yourself now.
It's easy to think the grass is always greener, but it's when you become too comfortable in your job that the old catchcry rings true. Before you set off in search of greener pastures, ask yourself: Is your current situation really all that bad? Don't answer that just yet, though. Grab a notepad and pen, and start jotting down the pros and cons. Don't overthink this; it's important you have a stream-of-consciousness approach to this task first so you capture everything that's going on in your head. This will also be a healthy download, a way of getting certain things at work you're unhappy about off your mind. This will also help you identify what it is you're frustrated with or unhappy about, and then you'll have something tangible to measure against. Now weigh them up. Are you feeling uninspired creatively? A new job might not be the remedy for this; instead, consider raising your hand for different responsibilities or a transfer to a new department that's more stimulating. Once you have considered everything on your list and you still feel strongly about leaving, then it might be time to consider a new job.
This is the one question you should ask about every new job, according to Adam Grant of The New York Times. Most people center their focus around the role when considering a new job, but they're overlooking one crucial factor: the company culture. "The culture of a workplace — an organization’s values, norms and practices — has a huge impact on our happiness and success," says Grant. Do some research and find out whether the company you're applying for is the right "cultural fit" for you, which ultimately means whether the company's missions and values naturally align with your own. One study found more than 80% of hiring managers say "cultural fit" is their number one concern when assessing potential hires. Why? Because even if it's the right title, position and salary, if the culture is too far removed from your own beliefs, needs, and wants then you won't fit in, or you'll be unhappy trying.
Sometimes it pays to think back to when you first accepted your current role and the excitement you felt to be starting at a new company. The new possibilities open to you were thrilling, right? Well, when did that stop? Maybe you're ready for a new challenge. If you answered yes, that doesn't mean you have to start looking for a new job. Have you looked into the other options available to you in your current role first? Because more times than not, you haven't hit the glass ceiling just yet. Flip your attitude from negative to positive and communicate clearly with your superior about your concerns, challenges, and desire for change. See what else is available to you because we're pretty sure your boss would rather move you into a new role or alter it than lose a good employee.
Before you answer this question, ask yourself this first: What are my personal and professional goals? Because if you haven't identified these first then how do you know what kind of job you're looking for? To ready yourself for that leap, determine your goals and outline what it is you want, then you'll know if that new job is really what you need, or if you can alter your current role instead. First write a list of where you see yourself in one, five, 10, and even 20 years. Then get specific and write down all the things you are looking to get out of your current position. Arrange them in short-, mid- and long-term goals. Use these as a guide, refer to them often to keep yourself on track, and make sure you're sticking to them. If none of them are being checked off, then this is a sign it could be time to realize them elsewhere.
Now it's time to really assess your current role and make an official progress report. What have you learned so far? What have you yet to master? If you really feel you've exhausted your current role, maybe there is another department within the same company that could teach you something new. Are there any in-house company courses or training sessions you haven't signed up for yet? Is there a colleague you admire who is higher up the ladder who can mentor you? If you've crossed all these off your learning list already and still feel you've learned everything there is to learn from this company, it might be time to move on.
If you really are ready to quit, make sure you're also ready to forego the benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) retirement contributions, and stock options. Investigate first to make sure the new company you've applied for has the same or similar options. If not, then calculate the monthly expenses if you were to pay for it yourself. If you leave your current role and there's a period of time where you're searching for employment sans reliable income then you might not be able to contribute to or pay for these during that time. Be realistic, do your research, and make sure you're covered.
Whether having children is a long way off or is in the near future, it pays to look into a company's parenting perks before you apply or accept a job offer, because work-life balance is everything. Do they have flexible working hours so you can work from home if your child is sick? Can you arrange your hours around the school's drop-off and pickup? Do they have a decent parental leave program? Is there an onsite nursery or daycare available? Mom- and dad-friendly companies are out there; make sure yours is one of them, if being a parent is on your priority list.
If you're planning on leaving your current role and don't have anything lined up yet, then be prepared to save at least nine to 12 months of expenses first. Susan Hirshman, financial planner and author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat? told Fortune you'll need the "extra to cushion against the unexpected" and recommends "mapping out fixed expenses like mortgage, credit card and loan payments, transportation and food, as well as factoring in the 'what if' costs." And since you quit, this might disqualify you from unemployment benefits, too. Laws vary state to state, but it's worth doing your research before you hand in that final resignation notice.
So you've answered all the above questions and come to the conclusion that you've learned all there is to know in your current role and it's time for a new job. But is there room for you to grow personally and professionally in the new role you've applied for or been offered? Does the company offer roles internally before promoting them publicly? Do they have funding available for extracurricular courses and study? Do they have team training sessions or seminars to improve your skill level? Do they offer company courses online to boost your chances of a promotion? Do they pay for employees to travel for work conferences and networking? All of these are valuable to growing in your role so make sure you ask these questions in the interview or during the application process.
It's such a simple question, but if you figure this out now, you could save yourself so much time and money. If it requires you to drive, calculate how long the round trip will cost you in time and money. If there isn't a company parking lot, you might have to use street parking or a local shopping center, which can be costly. Do your research and find out if you have to pay for parking or if your employer will cover this. If you can use public transport, find out what the commute consists of and if it's cost-effective. Weigh all the options and see if it's worth it.
Are you considering a new job, or have you recently accepted a new role? What tips do you have for others looking for a change? Share them below.