There are starting to be a fair number of surveys out there that say people will start looking for new jobs in droves “once the economy gets better.” I don’t know what “better” means and I personally think this is as good as the economy is going to get for another year or two, but whatever. The real issue shouldn’t be “looking for a new job once the economy gets better,” but “when should I be looking for a new job?” Recession or not, one should look for a new job when it is time to look for a new job.
But when is it time to start a new job search?
When do you think your job will end?
I’ve advocated for a long time on this site as well as my book that you need to consistently determine to the best of your ability when your job will end. All jobs end. Either the company will rearrange the job, or eliminate it altogether or you will be bored silly doing the work. Time to move on before the moving on is forced upon you.
For example, if you were consistently thinking through when your job might end and you happened to be working as a season ticket salesperson for the Miami Heat, you might have thought the world was your oyster. Then LeBron James signs and four weeks later, you are out of a job.
Yet, the signs were all there as season ticket sales went through the roof once the rumors started about the possible signing of the basketball star. You might not have found a new job yet, but you certainly would have the alarm bells going off and had your resume out there — giving you a big advantage over your coworkers who thought they had it made with the Heat with the new season and all the star-ry possibilities. In retrospect, all those nice salespeople were whistling in the dark.
Just for the record, I think the firing of those 30-people, no matter how well spinned, is yet another corporate sign of how little corporations care about those that help them achieve their goals. The Miami Heat management is simply the latest. Too bad it is all about winning and the owners (or shareholders) while everyone else is just a tool for getting there. Thirty jobs? Peanuts.
While there are many companies who think longer term and greatly care about their employees, you need to be thinking about how long your job will last. If you are not, you won’t. Last.
Should I stay or should I leave?
There are reasons to stay with a company compared to leaving, even if it is time to change jobs. You can change jobs in larger companies and still stay with the company. But all of us tend to lose a little perspective with the pressures of the day, a boss that is driving us slightly crazy and coworkers that make us go nuts. But perspective is needed so the search makes good sense for you and your career.
Here are a few perspectives on staying with a company:
- How did the management handle the downturn? Did they not talk with you, explain what was going on and their plans, laid off many with no good reasoning? Or did they communicate well, kept the layoffs and cost reductions in line with their downturn, and really worked it so they could keep employees and customers? You want the management that fights with you.
- What is the financial and revenue situation with the company right now? Many companies are making profits and partying like it was 1999 (without hiring more people…) while others are still on financial straights. When companies make good money, they won’t be forced to do layoffs and cutbacks, but they will still choose to do some (see: Harley-Davidson).
- How the corporate culture is fitting now with how you work. If the corporate experience is not matching with how you work best, you will have stress and not be satisfied with your work.
You need to know yourself
The critical piece here is to know the work you do best, how you do your work the best, and what environment best matches up to your best. If you do not understand this, you will never get happiness from your corporate experience. If you do understand how you do your best work and consistently analyze how long a job will last, you will be light years ahead of your coworkers. Especially if your coworkers are jumping for joy at the signing of LeBron James and not realizing the signing was the death of their job.