Leaving an unsatisfying job for a new opportunity is in theory, a good step. No one should be stuck in an environment where they are miserable most of the time.
Leaving a job for the sake of leaving however, isn’t a smart move. You could end up in the same or worse situation as before.
In the last year alone, I know three people who accepted new jobs or went after new opportunities, only to find themselves scratching their heads after a few months, when the proverbial ‘honeymoon’ period was over.
This is not to say that you should simply stay put where you are, even if you’re unhappy there. I’d be the first person to say “look elsewhere”. Certainly, look but do so with purpose and direction.
Not all opportunities are equal.
Of course they’re not all equal, you know that. In practice however, it is difficult to figure out which ones are the right fit for us, and which ones should be passed over, no matter how appealing these may look.
Often, we rely on quantitative factors such as salary (or client fees, in the case of freelancing or contractual work), benefits, vacation time, and such like, to guide our analysis of a possible new position. We also look at whether it represents a promotion, a step-up, or one that brings opportunities for further advancement.
There are other elements–perhaps less measurable, and therefore potentially more challenging–to factor into our decision making, if we want to be in a better position to pick the right opportunities.
Consider asking yourself these questions when deciding about a new opportunity:
- Who will I get to work with? Will I enjoy working with these people?
- What new thing(s) will I get to do, if I choose this job? Does this add to or complement my strengths?
- What new thing(s) will I get to learn, if I choose this job? Is this something I might be interested in learning?
- What will I have to give up if I choose this job? Is it worth it?
- What will I have to do to excel in this job? Am I willing to do that?
Find a way to gather enough information during the interview process so that you can answer these questions for yourself before committing or saying “yes”.
Accidentally stumbling into the ‘right fit’ happens, every once in a while, yes. Most of the time, right fits are the result of careful consideration and smart choices.
Lou Blaser is the founder of Second Breaks, and the author of the new book 6 Keys To Your Best Career: A Practical Guide To Achieving Success.
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