There are times in our careers when we have to make a choice: stay in or leave a job, be it for another job or another reason.
How can we know which is the right choice?
I changed jobs a few times so far and every time I tried to apply a list of reasonable criteria to help me choose. Of course there were times when one important criterion was guts feeling or simple will. A cold list of criteria should not keep you from following you passion but nonetheless, to avoid a rushed decision that you may later regret it is best to have some landing lights guide your way.
1. Think long term
Where do you see yourself in five or even ten years from now? What’s your long term objective? Do you want to become an expert in a field or get a management job in your organisation? Which option would help you grow better and faster?
2. Do you afford the less pay option?
This one is a double coin. Maybe the bigger pay and safer option now will not change much in a few years from now. Maybe the less pay and more risky job is a takeoff to a new and better paid career. Can you assess? Can you make ends meet for you and your family for the time needed to reach that better paid position? And how sure is it that you can get there? What else do you need to reach that goal and how likely are you to get the things you need? Which option is it more likely to help you pay university tuition for your kids?
My rule of thumb is no compromises from what you want to become as long as you’re alone and can bear your own weight. But as soon as family cames into play, the rules change and it’s your responsibility to consider what’s best for them too when you make your choice.
3. Are there other perks?
Some jobs come with a lesser pay but a lot of other benefits. Some pay your rent, offer a company car, all type of insurances and college grants for your kids. Add everything up before you draw the line and make your choice.
4. How about your family?
Does this job involve moving to another town? Is your family ready or willing to move? Do you have teenagers who would resent even the slightest thought of leaving their friends? Will you have schools available for your kids? Are there any special needs in your family to take care of? Will your spouse have a job to go to or good prospects to get one? Even if your salary would be better if your spouse will be jobless your overall income and home wellbeing will suffer.
5. Coworkers, boss or teammates
You may not think much but work atmosphere can definitely make or break a job. Look into it and ask around for more information before you take the big step. Even if your coworkers are ok, a bad boss won’t keep you warm. The other way around is just as true, a nice boss may not be enough if your coworkers would stab you in the back or are too hard to work with. It’s not easy to find a good mix but you should at least make an informed choice.
Last but not least, don’t beat yourself up!
Truth has it, we may keep wondering for years but as long as the time machine remains a thing of fiction, we will never know for sure if we made the right choice. All you need to do is to make sure that you make the best possible decision given the circumstances and what you know at the moment.
Once you’ve made your choice stick with it and focus on its good parts rather than automatically thinking “I should have picked the other one”. It will keep you happier and this will reflect positively on your results and attitude at work which in turn can only do you good.