Thinking of changing jobs now … are you nuts!?

No of course not, but if you’ve decided that now is the right time in your career to find a new employer, you likely have some concerns.

Not surprisingly, I have been talking to many people who want to know if now is a good time to make a move. Fewer companies are hiring, there are more and more unemployed people on the market, and the risks involved in starting a new job are amplified by personal and corporate financial uncertainties.

Regardless of the economic realities of the day, a career move is a decision to be regarded with a big picture perspective. The end of the year is a great time to step back and ask yourself what will make you happy and what you want to achieve in the coming year – both personally and professionally. A move should be measured in terms of how it enables you to reach your goals – whether that means that you are learning something new, improving your quality of life, opening new doors for advancement or doing something that just makes you happy.

I recently met with an impressive young guy who said he wanted to work with really smart people, he wanted to be challenged and inspired and he wanted to create something important, something that he could be proud of. And he wanted to know that his company valued his contribution and respected his personal commitments. This was great. He was real, he was passionate, he knew what he wanted and it was relatively easy to measure. There was no question, his current employer isn’t providing the work, environment, or rewards that he needs – so time to make a move.

If you are presented with a new opportunity, or you reach a point where your current employer is no longer helping you reach your goals, the state of the economy will surely weigh into your decision-making. There are indeed fewer opportunities to choose from and seemingly more people out there choosing. But the silver lining here is that the remaining open jobs (for the most part) represent very real opportunities with well planned objectives and financially justified deliverables. And most companies are recognizing that they cannot buy bargain talent if they expect solid results and loyalty, so salaries remain competitive. Companies that can use this time to invest in themselves, will be best positioned to lead their market when the economy turns around (and we all know that it will).

Like most of the people I talk to, I also have a mortgage and a family and countless service providers that want me to pay my bills on time (the nerve!). So, of course, you’ll need to understand the risk implied in making a move vs staying where you are. Get all of the information before deciding that any change is risky. Get to know the company, the team and the job in as much detail as possible. Be sure that you can succeed in the new role and that you will be provided with a supportive environment for learning and success. Though the hiring organization wants to limit risk by selecting the right person, you should have an agenda for the interview process so that you can effectively evaluate the opportunity. Do your research and prepare some questions.

So it is not a crazy time to make a move, as long as you understand both the risk and the opportunity that you are moving into.

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