Moving jobs: How do you know when it’s time?

Moving jobs

Moving jobs: How do you know when it’s time?

4000 2250 Brenda Akinyi

The first edition of our new event series Shortlist Career Chats featured Alice Mwalimo Mbori, Head of Sales at GlaxoSmithKline Kenya. Alice is a sales powerhouse, and we were fortunate to hear her career and development insights firsthand – including the value of moving jobs.

Her career journey has seen her make a series of strategic moves to different organizations and in different capacities, including taking up a lower position and a salary cut. To a lot of people, the idea of a downgrade sounds unthinkable, but in Alice’s words, “sometimes you have to go down in order to rise again”

During the Career Chats session at Metta, one of the most insightful advice Alice shared was about the key factors to consider before moving jobs from one company to another one. Read on to learn what questions you need to answer before making this big decision:

Question #1: How well can you do your job?

When you’re considering moving jobs, ask yourself: On a scale of 1-10, how good are you at your day-to-day tasks? Have you gotten to a place where you feel you can do your job with your eyes shut? Do you know the ins and outs of your role?

If your rating is between 8-10 and your answers are “yes” to the other questions, it may be time to consider a move. The move doesn’t have to be external though, you may also consider opportunities within your organization. Depending on your career goals, a lateral move may be a great idea to not only offer a new challenge but also a means to learn new skills that will be beneficial in the long run.

Question #2: How happy are you?

The reality is that no one is happy at their job all the time and we all have hard days to conquer every now and then. However, whenever we feel unsatisfied we must get to the root cause of the issues before making any drastic changes. Sometimes a mindset shift and looking for opportunities within our current environment is all we need. Perhaps it’s even factors outside of work that’s making you unhappy.

However, if you have determined that your dissatisfaction is rooted in your current job and you want to consider a move, it’s worth taking time to assess what factors in a role or company do make you happy. Is it the money, or the opportunity to stay close to home? Are you having to choose between your career and your family? Make a list of the things that are important for you and weigh your options to see whether moving jobs is the right thing to do for your long-term happiness.

Question #3: Can you go any further than your current role?

You may have been with your current organization for a while now and risen through the ranks to your current role. However good as you are, you know when you’ve hit the ceiling. Wherever you are in your career, if you hope to achieve a lot more and get further, it’s time to consider that move.

Depending on your industry, you will know whether you may need to take a lower position or a similar role in a different organization. Making any of these moves may temporarily mean that you will earn less than you do at the moment or giving up some benefits that you are currently used to so you have to be prepared.

Question #4: Before moving jobs, can you say you have learnt all you need to learn in your current role?

Every role we take on has a set of skills we get to learn. In most cases, working in rapidly changing environments means that you are exposed to many different challenges and opportunities throughout your position.

When you look at your current role, have you learnt enough to help you grow in the next one or take up more responsibilities in the new organization? It so happens that, most people would opt to move for an immediate raise before learning enough in their current roles to stay relevant in your field as well as increase their earning potential for the next ones.

For example, you may want to make a move for a 30% increase doing the same role and in the same capacity only in a different organization. Or, you may choose to stay in your current role, hone your current skills, and learn new skills that will make you more valuable in the future.

The latter will take some time and effort but will pay off greatly in the long run. This will be instrumental in helping you propel you to a higher level in your career.

As Alice reiterated, “the money will follow as long as you are making the right choices at the right time.”

Q&A session between the audience and our panellists.

Question #5: Have you sufficiently planned for a change?

Moving jobs, whether upwards or downwards, is always risky. Unfortunately, there’s always a chance things might not go as planned.  As Alice reminded us, proper financial planning is always necessary. This may mean holding off on the move for about 6-12 months longer than planned. In the meantime, you may figure out a side hustle or save more to ensure you have a financial buffer.

Seek as much guidance as you need before making a final decision. Consult with a friend or mentor if you have one. You may also consult someone who you know has been in a similar position before. Get to know how they handled it and the mistakes they made. Additionally, get to know some of the challenges they faced. You may encounter the same but you will already have a plan on how to mitigate them.

In conclusion…

When planning around your career development, you need to make strategic moves that have the potential of propelling you to a higher level.  You also need to understand the risks involved if things don’t work out. Your decision to move jobs may be the difference between you getting everything you’ve ever wanted and a mistake you may end up regretting.

In case you made a move and it ended up being a mistake, don’t despair. You are allowed to make a few mistakes here and there. However, when you do, “accept it sooner rather than later,” Alice advised. Learn from that experience and strive to do better next time.

Have you had experience moving jobs for your career advancement? What valuable pieces of advice can you share from your experience? Let us know on Twitter

We created Shortlist Career Chats with the aim of inspiring and empowering professionals striving to grow in their chosen careers. We feature local leaders who share useful insights and give practical advice from their own experiences. Looking to attend the next one? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter here to make sure you receive an invite. See you there!

Related: Moving laterally to move upwards