Ask a coach: when should I move jobs?

Is there a set time? Is there a right time? Is there too short or too long a time between job moves? It’s been my observation that there is no set pattern, so it’s not possible (or advisable) to prescribe. There is only when it’s the right time for each individual, and even then, it’s well worth stopping and looking at options other than leaving your present job. Note your answers to these questions and get clear on what’s right for you, right now.

Is the grass really greener somewhere else?

Zoomly’s clients are fast-moving companies, and our participants are similarly dynamic. These people have plans. A move overseas, a particular project, a pitch to win. And let’s remember that when it come to jobs – with inevitable peer comparisons, especially between those perfect social media lives – the grass is often greener anywhere but where we are right now. The familiar role seems to have less going for it than the unknown elsewhere.

What drew you to your present employer and role?

Something got you about the: place, projects, people, track record, reputation – what was that, and to what extent does it still apply? If people are still banging on the door for a job where you work, stop and think why that is. Your present employer just might be on a roll, about to enter their next phase of growth – or pausing for breath after a period of rapid expansion.

What is your present job giving you?

The familiar can rapidly become the taken for granted. So get this back into consciousness. Write down – don’t just muse upon – all the things you’re getting from your present role. Big and small stuff: original and challenging work, Friday night socials, new opportunities, a great boss.

What are you giving your job?

How fair is the exchange here? Don’t rush to get crabby over excessive hours – ask around, they’re worryingly normal – but if it’s every single weekend you’re giving up, then that’s a conversation that needs to happen. Are you giving your job complete commitment, or are you prone to duvet days?

What are you proud of achieving in this role?

Build a list of your achievements since you’ve been in this role. If you’ve been promoted whilst at this employer, go right back through previous roles too.

What’s missing?

Now step back, stop and reflect on the brief inventory you’ve completed. You may notice missing elements, things that are part of your plans, but haven’t yet been realised. Turn these gaps into goals, and think them through from two perspectives: what’s in it for you, and what’s in it for your employer?

How can you fill the gaps where you are now?

Don’t just dismiss your present employer until you’ve exhausted options to fill the gaps where you are. This can be an eye-opener: if you’re a valued employee, they may go to great lengths to support your ambitions. And if you’re not, that’s another conversation worth having: about the gaps YOU need to fill for THEM. There may be a project or task force to join, a secondment to gain priceless experience, or a new office opening up. Until you ask, you won’t know.

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