This was the question on the minds of those who attended my Future Proofing Your Career workshops – is it time to leave my current job? It can be hard to work out the answer. There is no doubt that to succeed we need breadth in our experience, often from different companies, enabling us to be agile, creative and add value in this fast-paced, connected and collaborative world. However, how do you know when it’s the right time for you to move on?
Why Did You Move From Your Previous Roles?
If you are a few roles into your career, ask yourself what the key reason was behind your decision to leave your earlier roles. If it is the same reason each time, then the common link is you… which may require you to do a bit more soul-searching. Consider:
- If you were to eavesdrop on a conversation between your current and previous managers, what would they say about you? What would stop them hiring you again?
- What are the key things you learned from each role? If they are not distinct enough then perhaps you are moving too soon.
- Have you been promoted in role before? If not, what is stopping you?
- If you had your time again, what would you do differently in each of these roles?
A CV with lots of different companies on it says that you are highly skilled at interviewing (and that in itself is good) and it also needs to have enough evidence of other skills as well besides being able to secure a new job.
Question and Talk
Question what is prompting you to get restless: is it a dissatisfaction with the work, or promotion prospects? Is it that you perceive your peers to be doing better than you? How does leaving fit with your career plan? What have you learnt? What could you still learn in this organisation? It may involve moving roles, departments, transferring internally or moving overseas. Have you exhausted all possibilities? I am frequently struck by how effective it can be when people simply talk to their line manager about their careers, their wants and perhaps why they are thinking of leaving. Often I see great people leave organisations and those organisations would want the opportunity to try and keep those individuals and support their career development. Talk.
Think Skills First, Not Jobs
The age of the generalist is over, and today we must build our careers on the mastery of skills and depth of expertise. When you are considering if you should move, it can be helpful to consider whether you have built all the skill that you can in that role and business. Mastery comes from applying the skills in many different situations and not just one.
There is no question that you will need to go at some point. However, it is a question of finding the right timing to maximise your career prospects, both in the short and the longer term.
Jenny Williams, Career Coach