Moving your cheese:Job Change:Decision

This is a blog long overdue, and since I have been thinking about it for quite some time now, it’s getting lengthier. So, two things – since it’s been a while, I won’t delay it any longer, but I might make it longer, i.e. into a series. I am generally worried about the length of blog entries and prefer them short rather than long. I am willing to make an exception for this series.

When I started my job change process, I searched for any blog related to job change. I was highly disappointed that I couldn’t find the kind I wanted to read. There were short ones, the kinds that would be enough to just fill up a coffee break conversation. I wanted to read more and in more detail, since it was serious. My first draft looked something like the coffee break talk and I was unhappy. Over time I have managed to create a structure around the process that I went through which forms the basis of this series.

The process of job change starts with a thought – “I want to quit” except in cases where someone else does that for you which is “lay-off”. If that thought crosses your mind, my advice is similar to what a meditation practitioner would tell you, watch yourself. Question your thoughts; get to the root to figure out why?

What is more important, quitting the current position or acquiring a better position? If it is former, I would advise you to be very careful. That is the phase 1 of job change process – Weigh you reasons!

I have compiled a list of reasons for job change, mostly gathered over coffee break talks and have
  • My manager sucks: That is one of the most common reasons for job change as Mr. Narayanmurthy mentioned in his famous love-your-job-but-not-your-company email. People leave managers and not companies. In this case here are the questions you should ask:

    - Is it possible to change my manager without changing the company? In most cases, if you work for a service company, the answer is a yes. If that is the answer for you, your process stops right here.

    - Is there a possibility of the manager moving on from the company, thereby making point # 1 possible? In lot of cases, these things are not so apparent but processes are running in the background. If you and most of the others have problems with the manager, there is a good chance his superiors will have problems too. It helps it further if (s)he is incompetent. Sooner or later you will see her out of your way.

    However, if only you have a problem and she is competent, then you should think about it more. Analyze “why”! It may be a better idea to correct yourself if you are wrong on some account. In such a case if you leave because of something that you need to correct in yourself, you will see a re-hash of your current situation in near future in your next company and next to next company and so on.
  • My peers/reportees suck: This is related to the one discussed above, but usually this comes out as a result of more balanced analysis. Usually if someone has this reason, it is more often valid than the “manager sucks” reason. If the general population around you isn’t what you thought you would be working with, it’s usually a good idea to leave. But at the same time, it becomes more important for you to choose your next company with utmost care.
  • I “need” more money: I have come across a few cases with this as a reason. Sometimes it is a disguised reason. But let’s assume it is the real one. There is not much you need to think other than going for it. However, a word of caution, look at your need and see if a job change is really going to help. If your need is quite big then even a change may not really help and in longer it might hurt your career in case you are doing well in your current position. In such a case think of alternative ways of meeting your financial needs. Think of getting more education if required, that may be a bigger catalyst than a job switch. For folks in IT, onsite can always help you cover a lot of lost ground if required. Uprooting yourself from a place where you are otherwise happy for petty raise is a bad bargain.
  • My friends are making more: Envy is one of the seven deadly sins for nothing. This is one of the most improper reasons for a change. You should do what is right for you and not what is better than what someone else is doing. There may be other things that may not be as apparent as the fatter pay cheque when thinking of others. Of course, if you are really grossly underpaid (rather than friends being overpaid), go for it.
One important point, however that needs to be understood is, all these factors work in your subconscious and you need to make sure you understand the right and compelling reason.

There are a few more which I will continue in the next entry since this is already way too long for one reading.

Comments (2)


@rohit: Thanks! That was literally 'eye opening', will get to fixing it soon.