How long will your job last?

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Nov 15

Every job ends. The only question is when. Will it be tomorrow? Two months from now? Two decades from now?

We really don't think about when our job ends on a consistent basis. Usually, we start to think about getting a new job when bad stuff starts to happen. Your new boss doesn't like what you are doing. Or doesn't like you. Or you hear layoffs are going to happen. Or they do.

Most people don't look at other things that will cause their job to end

For example, a new CIO was hired in a past company of mine while I worked in IT. If you looked up that person in the Google Machine, it was clear that outsourcing was something this person believed in for a variety of reasons. The company I was in, up to that point, had done no outsourcing. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what was going to happen. But most people don't do that. And then get laid off and wonder why they didn't see it coming.

We just don't usually look at the ever-changing executive suite as something that has started the clock on our job now ending. But, it does.

There are other examples, of course, but the key here is that you should consistently evaluate your job satisfaction and events in your company to determine how long your job will last.

Consistently check out your job satisfaction quarter after quarter and you get something that is more data oriented about how you think your job is with you. And whether or not you should start looking for another job.

And then make a prediction for the date on which you think your job will end.

The Formula

The formula is simple:

Projected date job will end - time to find a job = job search start date

For example, my previous employer was bought out by another company in December of that year. In January, my project work plummeted to zero. Flat budgets, no new projects. Radar goes on high and I decide to wait to see if anything changes in a couple of months (as management said it would).

I get to March and nothing has changed except around the edges. At this point, I figure my job will end by December of that year.

I eliminate the fourth quarter in trying to find a job because too many budget items and year-end stuff happens in companies that hold up hiring. They don't stop hiring, but there is a lot more uncertainty around how much time the process takes.

It was currently taking about three months to get a job offer in my market, so eliminating the fourth quarter and then allowing for three months to find a job yielded me an answer of July. July was when I needed to start looking for a new position.

March went to April with no changes in my workload. I backup up another month and said that June was when I would start looking for another job.

April went to May and nothing changed.

June came and I started looking for a new position.

I started a new position on July 22nd of that year.

By December, many people I knew that worked at the old company were gone.

For once, your job, your terms

I left on my terms. I was one of those early people jumping the ship at my level.

I didn't regret it one minute because every job ends and I want my job to end on my terms, not someone else's terms.

Use the formula to determine when you should start looking for a new position. That includes positions in your current company, not just leaving the company.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.