Aug 16, 2022

Your Career: How to Know Whether to Change Jobs

Your Career: How to Know Whether to Change Jobs

Your Career: How to Know Whether to Change Jobs

Nathan King

our company has some warts. AND you know your talent can be put to better use on more complex challenges than your leadership currently assigns you.

In short, you want more responsibility, but it doesn't seem like you are headed for a promotion, and your company isn't an A+ organization. There is no path. Plus, you see on LinkedIn a steady barrage of friends and acquaintances announcing their next position.

Do you wait it out, or do you go?

Changing jobs has its own challenges and risks.

You can't know what you are walking into until you are there. This is the Vampire Problem, which I learned about from Russ Roberts and his podcast, *Econtalk.* Suppose someone approaches you with an offer. They'll make you a vampire. You get to live forever and enjoy life's finer moments. There are downsides, of course. You have to drink blood, you can't go out in the sunshine, etc.

But the catch: once you are a vampire, you can never go back.

You can't know whether it's worth it unless you do it, and once you do it you can't undo it.

It's the same with changing jobs (and, many decisions in life, e.g., getting married, having a child). Before you take the new job, how do you know the company won't fall apart due to a circumstance you could have known if you were there? Or that your new boss is a closet narcissist who will systematically manipulate you and turn your life into a living hell once you start? Or that there actually is no room for growth?

Besides, you like your co-workers in your current role, your boss has been supportive, and life is pretty good. There are reasons to stay. You just don't know what your missing.

It's the vampire problem.

In my own experience, most companies lack a clear path. Unless you work for the federal government or a massive company like Wal-Mart, GE, or Delta Airlines, they don't have growth plans defined for their employees. There isn't a path from Specialist I to Specialist II to Manager of Specialists. Most companies don't know what tomorrow might bring.

Before you commit to leaving, audit yourself.

What does the company need to get done, and is it interesting and possible for you to take it there?

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Construct a series of conversations - with the most senior leaders possible. This is all about expressing curiosity to understand what is really going on. Set time with the CEO if you can. It can be a mere 15 minutes, but will uncover what is going on in the organization and build your brand. Have five such conversations and now you are on to something.

  2. Define the problems that you heard across these conversations. How can you contribute to them? Do you want to contribute to solving them?

  3. Assuming this is true, know your audience (mainly boss) and formulate a proposal to put it into place.

  4. Build your brand. Assuming step 3 leads to agreement, and it most likely will, now is your chance to follow through. Name for your boss what you will do, and go and do it.

The result of taking these steps is that you will be noticed, and once you are noticed, you will have more career opportunity with your current company. And if nothing materializes, at least it will be very clear that you've got nothing to lose by becoming a vampire.




I help leaders and teams achieve clarity and alignment so they can reach their potential


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