For many people, at least in my generation, the music of the eighties was second to none. So many great bands and artists, varieties of music; dance, ballads, rock, and my favorite…. new wave (or alternative, punk rock, etc..). The title of this piece is from one of my all-time favorites, The Clash.
I know, this isn’t Facebook so I won’t go down that rabbit hole; certainly that is not what this post will be about. What it is about is the pontification and the arduous thought process many people have over the very difficult decision pursuant to leaving a job and starting anew. Being an executive recruiter and someone who has an affinity for helping people get into better career slots; I have this discussion with candidates quite often. And although each situation is unique in its own right; there are several key components that should be pondered as one treads into the deep end of the pool.
- Culture – This can be a difficult one to assess regarding the potential new company, but should be fairly easy to ascertain where you are currently. This is really important; you must understand the type of culture and where you fit in the best. For example, in many of the sales type positions I recruit for, the type of management structure can be the difference maker. What type of accountability standards are in place? What will be expected of me? Will my boss be micromanaging my day to day activities or will I be freed up to work at my own pace? It’s also important to determine the values of an organization and if they fit in with your own personal values. A comfortable work environment is critical to success; so do your homework on your new potential organization. You know how things are in your current role, so compare and contrast the culture aspects of each. This piece gets overlooked quite often, complete your due diligence here and your decision will be much easier.
- Skill set alignment – Many times I see people in jobs that are not aligned with their individual skill set. You would be surprised at the number of individuals that are not completely in tune with their skills, and quite often find themselves in jobs that are just not connected with what they do best. The first step here is to identified clearly with your skill set. I’ve seen many ways to determine this over my career, but my favorite has always been Tom Rath’s; Strenthfinder 2.0. Through a series of detailed questions, a response is elicited that clearly explains what your strengths are and how they can manifest in your life and in your career. When I did mine I was amazed on how “spot on” it was. I’ve used it to pursue my career goals ever since. This intense understanding of your skills will not only help you assess whether or not you are in the right job, it will help you greatly throughout the interview process if in fact you decide to venture out to find something better.
- Compensation – Unfortunately, this one is usually on the top of the list for most; but really shouldn’t be. Clearly, the reality is that will all want to earn at a higher level and this component is very important. However, it should be weighed with the other factors to determine the best fit. When it comes to compensation, do your homework. Find out what similar jobs to yours are paying in your industry. I work in the mortgage banking space and quite often on sales jobs. There is always dialog regarding the split between salary, bonus, and commissions and how much should be at risk. Many times, the most lucrative sales opportunities are heavily weighed on the commission side; which is where most top-flight salespeople want it to be. Be careful not to get caught up in a situation where you jump from job to job for the promise of higher pay. Not only is that a risk, but your reputation may take a hit if you become a “job hopper”. Many top companies will not hire you if you leave jobs every few years.
- Support – Like I mentioned, I do most of my work in the mortgage space and one of the most critical items centers on the actual support received, the process which loans move through the system, and the satisfaction level of the consumer. Again, this should be easy to determine in your current role, and many people will leave jobs due to lack of support or poor handling of the customers. This is very important if you leave one job for another. Again, ask the right questions. Ask to speak to others in the organization regarding the processing items that will directly affect you and the position you are considering. If the company is what they say they are, they will provide you all of the detail you need to make an informed decision. If you feel they are hiding something, they usually are. Compare and contrast with where you are now on all of these items.
- Purpose – This one can be a bit esoteric for some folks, but in my view it’s the absolute most important. It kind if goes along with the skill set component above, but on a deeper level. Without getting into deep spiritual matters, it is my belief that each of us is made for a purpose with special and unique gifts. Similar to the skill set, many individuals do not spend much time identifying their purpose and unfortunately this lends itself to landing in the wrong job. When you are early in your career this is even more difficult to determine; your views on life are just being shaped. However, attempting to understand your purpose and searching for that true meaning in your life will help you tie to a suitable profession, job, and career. I wrote a book several years ago entitled My Back Nine. In the career chapter of the book I penned the following quote:
“There can be a unique and unbreakable bond between what you do for a living and who you are as a person. In my view, it’s really the latter that matters. However, one who endeavors to build this bond in reverse order opens the door to limitless possibilities”
If you always attempt to tie what you do with who you are; you set yourself up for more success and certainly a more satisfactory work environment.
I hope some of this information is helpful as you set out to determine if you should stay or go. Also, if you are not working with an executive recruiter, I strongly suggest you do so (shameless plug). Seriously, a recruiter can help navigate these deep waters and the really good ones will take a genuine care and really get to know you, your strengths, and can help guide you through this process.
In the end, working through each of these very important components can help you avoid the outcome described in these very memorable Clash song lyrics:
“If I stay there will be trouble; if I go there will be double”