As often as baby-boomers change jobs (average 10x according to the Department of Labor), you’d think they have mastered the game by now. The worker as a “free agent” remains a reality as one financier put it: “There are no final destinations…your career is a process.” So it comes as a bit of a surprise that a recent study reveals that botching a job change is more common than finesse. Here are the most common job change mistakes…
- NOT DOING ENOUGH RESEARCH – Failure to practice “due diligence” falls into four categories:
- Not knowing enough about job market realities for your industry or function
- Failure to adequately assess a potential employer’s financial stability and market position
- Neglecting the whole issue of cultural fit
- Assuming that the job description accurately reflects real job expectations
- LEAVING FOR MONEY – as one job-shifter described his new job “I am doing the same thing for an extra $10k, but left behind relationships and connections that were worth a lot more.” We often talk to pharmacists who have already vacated their previous position and who say to us “I have six weeks’ vacation.” We have to remind them that they “had” six weeks of vacation. Very few employers are going to initially match the vacation that you earned through years of faithful service at ANOTHER company.
- OVERESTIMATING YOURSELF – Most “former” employees believe they were much more intrinsic to the organization than in fact they actually were. They have an unrealistic view of their skills, prospects, and their culpability not to mention, how long the job search may take.
- THINKING SHORT-TERM – IMMEDIATE RELIEF AND LONG-TERM REWARDS – There is a reason for the term “golden handcuffs,” but after 20+ years you are often leaving a lot more behind than money.
- “GOING FROM” RATHER THAN “GOING TO” – The most common reason for changing jobs (negative emotions) can hardly be defined as “strategic.” Good job transitions require care and patience.
A good career agent provides an antidote for all four mistakes in that (1) they know the market and your future employer, (2) they will discourage you from making money the number one issue, (3) They provide reality therapy regarding both the exigencies of job-shifting and your own assets, (4) they will ensure that the change is in your best long-term interests and that there are compelling reasons for considering a change.
Read about the Five Ways to Bundle a Job Change at HBR