Saturday, May 1, 2010

Evaluate whether a job change is right for you

by Anita Bruzzese Gannett April 27, 2010 03:13 PM

As the economy begins to show signs of recovery, the mind-set among some employees is beginning to change.

Instead of "hunker down and survive" at their companies, they're now beginning to sniff the air for new opportunities: Is it time to ask for a pay raise or promotion? Or just jump ship for new experiences and more money?

Their interest is further piqued as industries from health care to technology to manufacturing begin to make new hires, and recruiters ramp up their efforts to snare talent. It's what career coach Joe Lavelle predicts will be "a huge musical chairs game" across companies in the coming year.

"There's going to be a lot of people leaving their jobs and taking new ones," Lavelle says.

Still, Lavelle says the expected employment churn doesn't mean that leaving an employer is the best plan for everyone. He says that as employees move from "job preservation mode" to "career management mode" they should consider several factors.

Among them:

• Set goals. "We're going to start to see more raises and promotions again, so you want to make sure you're documenting your contributions," says Lavelle, author of "Act as If It Were Impossible to Fail," (Results First Consulting, $13.99).

He suggests taking your last annual review and assessing whether goals were met or need to be adjusted, and communicating more often with the boss about new opportunities.

• Try not to overreact. It's tempting to think of starting over when you've been doing the work of several people during the past year and are frustrated at your employer's lack of recognition or reward for your efforts.

"Just because you leave a company doesn't mean you aren't going to be right back in the same place in another three years, feeling resentful and angry again," Lavelle says.

• Consider a rehire - of yourself. "Think about how you can get yourself really going again in your current job. Remember that every time you jump ship, you become the new guy somewhere else. And it's the new person who is the most vulnerable to layoffs."

• Assess your company's strength. Do your homework to gauge whether your current job is actually more stable.

• Make a five-year plan. It's important to know where you want to go and how you're going to evolve to stand out.

Evaluate whether a job change is right for you

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