How to decide whether you should change jobs…

Bridget Brandt, CEO of Leander Chamber of Commerce

A step-by-step list for how to decide if it’s time to change jobs:

Bridget Brandt, CEO Leander Chamber of Commerce

1. Make a list of long-term and short-term goals

Your short-term professional goals have to do with your objectives or quotas and your daily routine. To see whether your current job aligns with your long-term goals, briefly outline the steps you need to take to reach them. Then try to generate a rough timeline for how you intend to accomplish your goals. Consider how staying at your job for an additional year or two affects your timeline.


2. Consider your feelings

How you feel about your job is important and should be a part of your decision-making process. After listing your long-term and short-term goals, ask yourself to probe questions regarding the atmosphere at work, your compensation and whether you feel valued and supported. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to help organize your thoughts and feelings:

  • Will my current job help me reach my long-term career goals?
  • Am I getting enough professional development and constructive feedback?
  • Is there potential for me to get a raise or promotion at work?
  • Do my current job responsibilities leave me with a comfortable amount of personal time?
  • Are my unique talents, qualities or abilities being recognized at work?
  • Do I feel physically and emotionally safe at work?
  • Are there many people at work who have been with the company for a long time?
  • Do I feel happy with my job functions?
  • Am I satisfied with my compensation and benefits?


3. Identify your primary concerns

Sometimes a person’s dissatisfaction with one or two elements of their work or workplace can feel overwhelming. It is important to fully evaluate what is going on at work, so you can identify what your primary concerns are. Review your answers to the questions above. If you answered no to any of them, then that is an area of concern. If you answered no, to most or all of the questions, then a job change may be the right decision.


4. Voice your concerns

After properly identifying your concerns, it is important to let someone at work know how you’re feeling. Whether you want to stick with your current employer, or you’re thinking of departing, speaking up about your experiences can help you reach your goals and help improve the overall culture and environment at work. Here are two examples of concerns to speak up about at work:

  • Job role and salary: Imagine that someone is happy with the overall culture and work-life balance at their job but is unhappy with their level of responsibility or compensation. Then that person might consider talking to their boss or supervisor about promotion opportunities.
  • Physical and emotional well-being: If a person is content with most aspects of their job and workplace, but lacks a sense of emotional or physical safety, then that person should voice their concerns to a superior or someone in the human resource department.


5. Prioritize your wants and needs

Your professional wants and needs to represent your personal ideal for work. Consider your compensation, benefits and professional career goals—and evaluate personal fulfillment and happiness that stems from your professional life. Assess the work-life balance that your job affords and think about how that affects your health and relationships. Try to determine how important each of these factors is to you personally. The items that are most important represent your needs, and the others represent your wants.

If your current job satisfies all of your needs but doesn’t include your wants, you may choose to say. If your needs are not being met, then you might consider changing jobs.


6. Consult a trusted friend or partner

A trusted friend or partner is likely to know a lot about you and your professional history. Explain your goals to them and describe your primary concerns or challenges. Speaking with someone about your feelings can organize your thoughts and help you gain clarity. That person may also have helpful insights for you to consider.


7. Decide and take action

After logically reviewing your goals and objectives, weighing in on your emotions and consulting friends or family, you should have a pretty good idea of whether you want to change jobs. If you decide that you want to stay at your current job, then take the necessary steps to try to find satisfaction and contentment at work. This might mean talking to a supervisor, reaching out to the human resources department or taking on new responsibilities. If you decide you want to change jobs, start the search for something more ideal and send out your resume.