7 Reasons to Change Jobs and 1 Surprising Reason to Stay

By Mary Foley

Even if you’re not looking for a career as a software developer, accountant, marketing analyst or one of the other top jobs for 2013, you may be considering a job change in the near future.  But, should you?  Yes.  Even if you are grateful for having a job in this challenging economy, that doesn’t mean you are stuck.  Here are seven good reasons to change jobs and one surprising reason to stay.

7 Reasons to Change Jobs

1.  You don't enjoy your daily tasks and activities.  Perhaps once you did, but now you've mastered them and want a new challenge.  Or, the job has never been a good fit for your abilities. According to the Society of Human Resources’ (SHRM) 2012 Employee Satisfaction and Engagement report, the opportunity to use your skills and abilities was the top factor for employee job satisfaction.

2.  You don't enjoy the people you work with.  One of the biggest reasons people want to change jobs is because of their boss.  The SHRM report found that your relationship with your immediate supervisor was in the top five factors to employee job satisfaction. Co-workers can also make your daily life pleasant or a pain in the neck.  Who you work with counts.

3.  You can't move up like you want to.  Perhaps it's because of the glass ceiling or that the job opportunities at higher levels just aren't there.

4.  You want to make more money.  Compensation/pay was the also in SHRM’s top five factors for employee satisfaction.  Sometimes the best way to get a pay increase for your current skills is to change companies, especially if you've been at the same company for a long time.  You get stuck in a cycle of pay increases based on merit rather than what your skills are worth in the marketplace.  That happened to me after 10 years at AOL and was one of the reasons why I had to move on.

5.  The job demands more from you in ways that you don't want to give (e.g., time or travel).  Perhaps it's a new commute that's just too much or that you've decided the price for gaining responsibility and a bigger paycheck isn't worth it.  This is something only you can decide.

6.  Your job is going away due to downsizing or otherwise.  This one speaks for itself.

7.  You're moving out of the area.  And working virtually is not an option.

1 Surprising Reason to Stay

There are instances, however, when I think it's worth sticking to your current job and try to work through your dissatisfaction.  Perhaps you recently took a new job and it’s not going as expected.  Maybe the manager doesn't seem happy with your work, but won't tell you why.  Or, you’re now being told about duties that weren’t brought up when you interviewed.

Unmet expectations.  That's the key thing here.  When your ideas about what your job entails is different from what it really is or has become, the best thing to do is to proactively identify and address the gap with the person who can do something about it, often your manager. 

This is easier said than done.  It's far easier to convince yourself you need to change jobs than it is to get uncomfortable and deal with the conflict.  By having the courage to express your frustrations and being willing to talk through it, you may find that changes can be made that make your job enjoyable, maybe even better than you originally imagined.  At the very least you will learn something valuable to take into your next position. You owe it to yourself to try. 

When I first became Corporate Training Manager for AOL I was thrilled!  It was all I thought it was going to be.  However, after a few years of enjoying the position and producing results, dissatisfaction started to creep in.  I was ready for more and believed I'd earned a new opportunity.  The more time passed without my boss saying anything about the next step for me, the more dissatisfied I became. 

I finally realized that if I wanted to talk about it, I had to bring it up.  At our one-on-one meeting I told him I was interested in moving up and wanted to know, in his opinion, what I had to do for that to happen.  That was the beginning of a dialogue that spread over several months.  At the same time I also started to ask colleagues about their impressions of my performance to get feedback. 

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