Fail: I will leave my job when the economy improves

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Deloitte is out with a new survey talking about the willingness of people across the generations to leave their jobs for new ones at different companies. They note:

“that only about 37 percent of Gen Xers said they planned to stay in their current jobs after the recession ends, compared with 44 percent of Gen Yers, 50 percent of baby boomers and 52 percent of senior citizen workers who said the same.”

While I don’t have arguments about the statistics, I’d contend that Cubicle Warriors aren’t waiting for the recession to end to seek work that matches their next job. Sure, it may take longer — but that is still less time than “waiting for the economy to improve.”

Indeed, “waiting until the economy improves” fails on many levels:

When will the economy improve?

When people say that they are waiting until the recession is over until looking for a job, they never define for themselves when the recession is “over.” Economists are arguing that the recession is over right now, so how come these people are not looking for jobs right now?

Or, perhaps because the unemployment rate is over 10%, they believe there are no jobs out there so they will wait until the unemployment rate gets lower before looking. But, how much lower? When it hits 8%? 6.5%? 4%?

When people tell you they are “waiting for the recession to be over” or “waiting until the economy improves,” it just means they haven’t seriously thought about what’s next and going after it.

Kicking the can down the road and not making decisions about your career isn’t what Cubicle Warriors do. They are constantly evaluating their position and acting on what’s next.

If you wait, you miss opportunities

Waiting until the economy improves before looking for a job simply means you are allowing yourself to be trapped in the job you have.

The Deloitte survey notes that an “inability to be promoted” is one of the reasons people will leave their jobs — but after the recession is over. Well, what if you were looking for a job that was a promotion right now? You might actually find a position that’s a promotion and bypass being trapped in your job until some undefined time when things are “better.”

And if you complain about pay, are you looking for a job that pays better?

If you wait, your job skills become stale — and so do your results

It’s easy to fall into the “waiting until the economy improves” trap — and while you wait, your job skills deteriorate and your results don’t measure up. After all, you are “waiting.”

Hiring managers want to hire people who are looking to expand their job skills, motivated to do the work and have impressive results from their work. If your results are dropping because you are “waiting” until the economy gets better, you’ll find that you won’t have the results you need when you start looking.

Cubicle Warriors know when positions end

Every position makes sense to a person for a limited period of time. After that, the risk of poor results — or the position being eliminated — goes up. The Cubicle Warrior consistently evaluates when the position will end and then starts looking for different work well in front of that time to get the new position.

Yes, jobs are hard to find right now. But abdicating the control you have to find new work by “waiting for the economy to improve” is a recipe for career disaster.

Do you need a different job? Then start looking now. Waiting until the economy improves is putting off a decision and an action plan that needs doing now.

  • @ Christine — I think that many workers, especially in large corporations, don’t believe they can operate from a position of power. Sure, a company can lay you off in a cold blooded minute, but too often we just throw up our hands and abdicate our choices to save for a rainy day, looking for different jobs and having clarity around our work goals. Your work on your site about getting better as a person about this stuff is really good to have.

  • Provocative post, Scot!

    “Every position makes sense to a person for a limited period of time.” This is so true. One of the biggest mistakes people can make is to believe that a job, or their skills and indeed interests are static. None of these things stay the same, no matter the economy.

    A big part of the challenge is for individuals to see and believe that they have power, even if what’s happening “out there” can make them feel pretty powerless.

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