Despite recession, it might be time to move on

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jan 28

There are plenty of reasons to try and stay with your current employer. Like having a job, health insurance, stock options or restricted stock, bonuses coming, or something else that enables you to decide to stay rather than risk going.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consistently evaluate your situation. Just because companies are raining down with layoffs doesn’t mean you should cling to what you have at all costs. Because there are costs. Costs like not wanting to go to work on Monday. Putting up with a disgusting manager who will submarine your career. Or losing your marriage because of the hours you are working.

One aspect of self-management is control and the other is perspective. In these trying times, it is easy to get lost in the weeds of work and lose the perspective that it is time to move on.

While Gen Y is taking it on the chin with unemployment numbers, all of us should learn this valuable lesson from them: it’s OK to change jobs even in the midst of a recession. In fact, often you should.

I’ve always had this simple career management formula, learned from one of the best managers I’ve worked for in my career: Job skills plus job performance equals opportunity.

If you have job skills and you can show your accomplishments, a recession is a great time to seek out opportunity. Get closer to what you want to work on, not what you are forced to work on.

Perform well doing your work. Evaluate what you want to do next. Then go after it.

  • Matt Keegan says:

    Agreed! Some places turn into a morgue when the economy sours as everyone is waiting for the next death announcement. That saps employee morale and likely brings about the obvious: things are sinking and you’re going down with the ship.

    Instead, look for a new job now and ignore the unemployment figures. Companies are always hiring and good people are always needed.

  • Scot says:

    The bunker mentality is a tough one to overcome. But, searching for work that you enjoy is something that you can control. Corporate whims about your career you can’t control, only, perhaps, influence. There are always personal circumstances to consider, of course, but if you are not doing what you want to be doing, start looking.

  • Sital says:

    Agree totally

    2 points i’d add:

    1. You only want ONE job. It doesnt matter how people get laid off – there will still always jobs out there

    2. It’s all about self esteem – if you place a high value on yourself and believe there are employers out there that you can make a contribution to – and will value that contribution – you won’t stick around in a job that is killing the rest of your life. If you are really clear about the results you have delivered to date, can articluate them coherently to other firms and are persisten – there will be opportunities in any market – after all you only want ONE job right?!

    • Scot says:

      Sital, it is about self-esteem, but it is easy to get pounded into corporate submission if we are not careful. We agree to take on this project here, take on some added responsibilities there, watch a few people get laid off in our department and all of a sudden we’re working on stuff we don’t like, working longer hours and messing up our family life and are scared of losing our job when there is no time to look for a new job because of the working hours.

      So self-esteem is important; there are times, however, where it takes a while to kick back in!

  • Rebecca says:

    Great post, Scot. The recession can definitely be an opportunity for you to showcase your strongest skills – employers need people who can help their companies!

  • anand says:

    Good article…I am one of those guys worried about a job change. I have an offer in hand thats paying me 50% more than what i am getting now. But i am confused and too scared to move at these rough times….

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