Should You Stay or Should You Go?

The job market has not fully recovered, but there are a few encouraging signs. According to the latest Robert Half Professional Employment Report, a net 6 percent of employers plan to increase hiring activity in the fourth quarter. Further, 86 percent of executives said they are at least somewhat confident in their organizations’ ability to grow before the end of the year.

If you’re thinking of leaving your current job for uncharted waters, there’s a lot to consider. Here are three common concerns about making a job change, as well as some advice that might help you decide whether you should stay or go:

Concern #1: You feel guilty about leaving.
You were laid off more than a year ago and were overjoyed when you quickly found another job, even though it wasn’t an ideal fit. Since joining the new company, your manager has allowed you to work from home when you need to, and the firm has paid for you to attend several training classes.

Still, the job isn’t want you were looking for. You’d like a position with more responsibility and compensation, but you feel guilty about leaving a company that has treated you well.

Stay or go? Go, but not before talking about your concerns with your boss. Mention your desire to take on increased responsibility and why you feel you deserve more pay. You may think the company is unable to meet your needs, but you could be surprised by what the firm is willing to do to keep a good employee on board. Only if the changes you seek can’t be made should you start looking for another job.

Remember, though, to keep your job hunt under wraps until you’ve accepted a new position. Once you take a new role, show your appreciation of your former employer by giving two or more weeks’ notice and helping to hire and train your replacement.

Concern #2: You’re afraid of the unknown.
After years in the same position, you’re restless, but leaving a steady job feels risky. You’d also be leaving a familiar environment for the unknown, which makes you nervous.

Stay or go? It depends. In many ways, your personal situation weighs heavily here. Staying in a secure position may be the better move if you just bought a house or are a new parent, for example. On the other hand, you might feel more comfortable leaving your job if your spouse has a stable, well-paying job.

You also need to think about the opportunities you’d pursue. If you hope to find a new position that offers a level of stability similar to your current job’s, you might target large firms that have been in business for many years rather than startups that could be struggling for funding.

Concern #3: You’re still hopeful that things will improve at your current job.
You’ve been working around the clock for months. You expected things to improve when the team wrapped up an intense months-long project. But a new initiative soon launched, and you found yourself busier than ever.

Now, you’re waiting for the firm to hire a new staff member, which they have been promising to do all year. As soon as that person is on board, you’re sure your workload will be lighter.

Stay or go? Go. But, again, talk to your manager before heading out the door. It sounds like you’re suffering from burnout, which can be fixed with the right approach.
Explain to your boss that your workload is too heavy, and talk with him or her about how to make it more manageable. Your manager may be unaware of your struggles and act quickly to address them. If you’ve spoken to your boss but conditions remain the same, however, it’s time to consider moving on.

Whether you stay at your job or start looking for a new position, make sure you’ve thought about your long-term career path and the professional goals you’d like to achieve. With this in mind, you’ll increase the likelihood that the next step you take is the right one.

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