The 10 Best Times to Switch Jobs

From US News:

Read the signs. Any of these 10 scenarios could mean it’s time to make a job change.

You’ve been with your employer for more than 10 years.

If during your extended tenure you’ve held four different positions and continue to enjoy your work, then maybe you can ignore this one.  But if you’re clocking in to what is now a “Groundhog’s Day existence, you definitely need to explore your options.  A change in work environments will keep your skills nimble.

You’re really good at your job.

This could be because you’ve stayed too long, or it could be that you were overqualified to begin with. Either way, if you never make a misstep then you’re not being challenged properly. To stay relevant you have to keep learning and trying new things.

You’re really bad at your job.

Did you see this one coming after the last slide? Hiring is trial and error, and sometimes your skills are askew of the job’s requirements. Honestly assess why this could be – maybe you haven’t had the necessary experience to excel in the job, or maybe you’re not invested in the work because you’re in the wrong career. Depending on what you determine, the smartest choice could be to look for work elsewhere.

You don’t get along with your colleagues.

You might spend more hours with co-workers than with loved ones, so hopefully they don’t make your skin crawl. Not finding at least one kindred spirit at your workplace is a smoke signal that you’re not a good culture fit.

After completing a successful big project.

If you’re fresh off a win, you’ll hopefully have two things working for you. One, the crash and lull that comes after a busy season should free up time to network, apply for jobs and interview. Two, you’ll have recent metrics of your performance that you can add to your résumé and discuss with potential employers.

On the turn of a fiscal year.

This may or may not be the beginning of the calendar year, and it varies by company. But it represents a new beginning, and it’s a time when companies introduce initiatives and hire staff to achieve fresh goals. Work your networks to find out when your target companies end and begin their fiscal year; for instance, the federal government’s begins Oct. 1.

After a vacation.

When you start a new job you won’t have earned the time off or your new manager’s trust to take a break. Instead, plan a getaway to recharge your batteries before preparing to start a new professional chapter.

Your goals don’t match with those of the company.

Hopefully your career goals and the company’s were aligned when you started, but sometimes they don’t stay that way. Figure out what type of job and workplace will put you back on the right track professionally, then pursue that opportunity instead.

Your skills are unappreciated and underutilized.

Does your boss never acknowledge your hard work? Are there promotions and raises aplenty for your co-workers but never for you? Do you feel like your job has become obsolete altogether? Have a talk with your manager about what you need to do to earn the recognition you feel you should have. If the discussion is unsatisfactory, then it’s time to move on.

You’re content with the work you do.

It might seem counterintuitive to look for new work when you’re satisfied with your current gig. But too often job searches are a reaction to a sour work experience, and we end up fleeing from one bad job to another in our haste to get away. Instead, you should regularly update your résumé, watch out for plumb opportunities and carefully weigh how good you’ve got it with how good you could have it.

Why you shouldn’t take a counter offer

From US News:

Thinking about using a potential employer’s job offer to get your current company to counter and pay you more money?

Stop right there.

Using another job offer as a bargaining chip may be tempting, but too often, it ends badly. If you want a raise, then negotiate it on your own merits—or prepare to move on.

Here’s why:

1. Employers often make counteroffers in a moment of panic. (“We can’t have Joe leave right now! We have that big conference next month.”) But after the initial relief passes, you may find your relationship with your employer—and your standing with the company—has fundamentally changed. You’re now the one who was looking to leave. You’re no longer part of the inner circle, and you might be at the top of the list if your company needs to make cutbacks in the future.

2. Even worse, your company might just want time to search for a replacement, figuring that it’s only a matter of time until you start looking around again. You might turn down your other offer and accept your employer’s counteroffer only to find yourself pushed out soon afterward. In fact, the rule of thumb among recruiters is that 70 to 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within a year.

3. There’s a reason you started job-searching in the first place. While more money is always a motivator, more often, there are also other factors that drove you to look: personality fit, dislike of your boss, boredom with the work, lack of recognition, insane deadlines—whatever it might have been. Those factors aren’t going change, and will likely start bothering you again as soon as the glow from your raise wears off.

4. Even if you get more money out of your company now, think about what it took to get it. You needed to have one foot out the door to get paid the wage you wanted, and there’s no reason to think that future salary increases will be any easier. The next time you want a raise, you might even be refused altogether on the grounds that “we just gave you that big increase when you were thinking about leaving.”

5. You may be told to take the other offer, even if you don’t really want it—and then you’ll have to follow through. Using another offer as a bluff is a really dangerous game.

6. Good luck getting that new employer to ever consider you again. If you go all the way through their hiring process only to accept a counteroffer from your current employer, then the former is going to be wary of considering you in the future. If it’s a company you’d like to work with, you might be shutting a door you’d rather keep open.

Now, are there times where accepting a counteroffer makes sense and works out? Sure, there are always exceptions. But it’s a bad idea frequently enough that you should be very, very cautious before doing so.