for Changing Jobs
People are unhappy with their jobs for a number of reasons:
- They did not have an opportunity to choose a job that matched
their skills and interests against career goals
- They are in dead-end positions that are boring and unproductive
- They are underpaid and underemployed
- They have outgrown their original career interests
- They do not subscribe to company policies or the direction in
which the company is moving
- They cling to their jobs strictly because of the salary
If you are in one of these situations you should seriously be considering
a change of job. Other reasons for considering a change could be:
- A new attractive offer
- Lack of compatibility with one's boss
- Redundancy or retrenchment
- in impact akin to a bereavement
- Quest for career change
A new attractive offer
Of all the reasons, the best situation is when you are
offered an attractive option. You do not immediately resign. Instead,
you explore the implications of the offer. Find out above the firm,
which has made the offer Inquire about your prospective boss, should
you decide to join. Find out who would be your colleagues and the
scope for advancement as compared to your present firm. You should
also examine the terms and conditions of employment they are offering
you; ask whether any bond/contract needs to be signed and what terms
would be binding on you. Equally important, go over the terms and
conditions binding you to your present job, whether you had signed
any bond (if so, under what conditions), and the notice period,
if you decide to leave. You must remember that you already have
a satisfactory job and are exploring the other option only because
it came unsolicited. Any decision to change should only be taken
if you stand to gain significantly.
If you decide to consider the offer seriously after such an analysis,
then you can take the opportunity to bargain for a better deal on
those aspects that you do not consider attractive; but do this before
accepting. Once you sign on the dotted line, your bargaining power
In case you decide that you would rather not take up the offer
extended by the other firm, you could apprise your boss about it
without telling him that you have decided against taking it. You
could use the offer to try and speed up a promotion in your present
Stagnation and incompatibility with your
Sometimes, despite your best efforts you find that advancement
is unduly retarded or absolutely blocked; or there may be some other
problem that will not get resolved. Another situation of stagnation
arises when you find that you can no longer feel fulfilled in what
you have been doing for so long and feel that you are in a dead-end
position. In such situations it is a good idea, if you are on good
terms with your superiors, to apprise them of the situation you
are in and seek their guidance. You could also tell friends in other
organizations to scout around discreetly for a suitable offer for
you. Other alternatives are to register with employment agencies
or executive search firms. You could also advertise directly and
scan the vacancy columns in trade journals, national/local newspapers
etc. You do not have to be out of a job to start this process; in
fact, the idea is to have an alternative lined up before you start
working through the notice period in your present job.
If incompatibility with your boss leads you to a frustrating and
unproductive situation, handle things in a similar fashion, but
do not take your boss into confidence. Meanwhile, try to smoothen
your working relationship with your boss so that there are no negative
feelings and situations, which may adversely affect your testimonials.
Quest for a change
Sometimes people find that they have outgrown their original
career interests, or wish to try something different; possibly they
did not earlier have the opportunity to choose a job that matched
their skills and interests. A career change may then be thought
of. But do not take such a decision lightly. Identify what types
of activities require your skills and interests. Discuss with other
people already involved in such activities how they got into that
line in the first place; how they trained and what skills are needed
to be successful. Ask whether appropriate training is available,
whether you would be eligible. Find out how much you can earn at
the beginning and later on. Those people who are already working
in that field would also be able to tell you how they feel about
their work after being in it for some time. They could extend some
useful advice to you and direct you to sources for further information
and guidance. If possible, get a taste of activity or training required
for the new field of work, which you feel, would suit you better
than your current work. Sometimes, what seems interesting from a
distance may not turn out to be so once you experience it at close
In considering alternatives, do also think of building on the knowledge
and experience you have acquired in your present occupation in which
you have already invested a lot of time and money.
Strategy to adopt for changing your job
Whether you wish to rejoin the workforce after a long
absence or want to change over to a better job, the process is not
going to be easy (especially in a senior executive position). A
well-run self-placement campaign can cut job search time in half.
More important, a well-prepared and well-thought out search will
help to keep you focussed on what you really want.
When we feel we are going to win, we do. Your attitude, therefore,
has to be positive during this period. Keep in good physical shape
with regular exercise. Discuss with someone your meetings and progress
as you go along. Feedback and exchange of experiences will make
your search easier and more productive. Get enough sleep and nourish
your body. Maintain a balanced social life and continue with your
search; you will be surprised and encouraged with the results.
* Time investment
First and foremost, a distinction needs to be made between spending
and investing time. The job changer has to ensure that he increases
his time investment to broaden his job knowledge so that he has
enough background to be considered for the job of his choice.
According to research only a very small percentage of professionals
and managerial positions are advertised publicly. A comparatively
larger percentage of positions are obtained informally through personal
contacts (networking). Among those who find jobs through personal
contacts, almost half have new positions created for them.
You first priority, then, is to create as many interviews as you
can -- and from these get others. This technique is also called
networking. It means going out and meeting people either formally
or informally in-groups or one-to-one. It is good to get to know
other people and let them know something about you. You have to
acquire visibility by exposing yourself to a wider audience; in
the process you obtain information (about openings, companies or
people who can assist you) and build personal contacts that eventually
will make you known to potential employers. Your contacts become
your team of supporters leading towards your objective. Networking
and visibility will expose you to the maximum number of opportunities
in the shortest time. Your network consists of your friends, relatives,
acquaintances, neighbors, social and professional clubs and associations,
business contacts, service organizations, etc.
* Image building
When you are vying for senior positions, mere visibility and
networking may not be sufficient. You must acquire or build upon
a professional reputation or image. Some time, thought and money
would have to be spent on building the image. The image building
exercise could take the form of publishing papers/articles in professional
or other journals, etc., giving talks on professional forums and
so on. The effort and time spent and invested would be more than
made up once you land the right job.
Another approach to changing jobs
In the Indian context, some experts' feel that the above 'professional
competence' approach would be too theoretical to be completely successful.
They advocate the 'social' approach, in which time management, visibility,
networking and image building strategies would be directed towards
a different goal. According to this approach it is advised that
social prominence be acquired. One could join 'status' clubs; play
'status' games etc. Such activities would be more beneficial as
top management often recognizes and observes such symbols more easily.
The best approach is to try for a balanced blend of `professional
competence' and `social prominence'.
It is true that you should not think of a job change without rhyme
or reason. It is wise, however, to analyze your position critically
at least once a year - looking at your organization, the job environment
and your job.
- Examine whether you are working for the right organization.
- Take a cold, hard look at your work environment and ask yourself:
- Whether inherent tensions are exacerbated due to bad industrial
relations, a different boss or company policies;
- Whether the company is stunting your growth in professional/personal
terms by banning participation in conventions and seminars;
- Take a critical look at your job and analyze how much time you
spend on it (whether you have any time left to invest).
- See whether the job has any potential for growth and advancement
(sometimes interesting jobs may not take you anywhere).
- Examine and annualize your job to see whether it suits your aptitude
- if it does, your interest will be sustained; otherwise it will
become a source of dissatisfaction.
- Whether you intend to change your job or not, always invest time
and money towards building your 'image' and always examine alternative
job offers critically in the context of your present job. Cross
the bridge when you come to it cannot be the right strategy for
an executive - the best one would be to learn to swim, for the bridge
might have collapsed by the time you come to it.
The Entrepreneurship Option
While you are considering a change of career you can
also explore the option of starting your own business. People who
were frustrated and unfulfilled in their jobs began many companies.
This is particularly true for the entrepreneurial types who were
not given enough scope to utilize their innovative ideas. Launching
out on your own is a decision that needs to be taken very carefully
and dispassionately. The majority of new businesses fail in the
first year because of insufficient capital, insufficient experience
of the owners/managers, or the product/service not meeting the needs
of the market.
To steer clear of these pitfalls and deficiencies, you have to
create a business plan and test it for either a start-up or an acquisition.
Ask yourself these questions in advance:
- Where is the seed capital and operating money coming from?
- Who is going to run the business?
- Where are the sales coming from?
- What experience do I need?
- Who or what is the competition? Is it any good? Does it make money?
There are a number of publications on starting businesses. Read
them. Apply them to what you want to do. You could also join an
Entrepreneurial Development Programmed organized by the government.
If you want to buy an existing business, be clear about your reasons
for doing so and for wanting to have your own business. Fix in your
mind the type of business you want.
Analyze yourself to find out if you are suited to the type of activity
you are considering. Review your personal successes, achievements
- Meet people who are already successful in the field you are considering.
- Take into account your professional experience.
- Equip yourself with a good lawyer and accountant. Never rush in
to make a deal.
- These are some of the precautions you should take.
Be prepared to be patient and work hard. The best deals are usually
found by word of mouth - being an excellent net worker can be a
great advantage. The experience of others can be invaluable - learn
Considering a Job Abroad
While considering a job change you may become interested
in a job that takes you abroad, or some such offer may come your
way. Here are some points to check up on:
- Read up on the local tax laws in the foreign country and examine
your personal tax position.
- Ask about any anticipated changes in legislation there. · If you
have a family, check on inheritance laws and discuss these with
your lawyer before confirming the job. · Find out about the educational
and medical facilities existing and whether the employer is extending
any such benefits with the job. · Inquire about the political situation.
· If possible, visit the country to find out for yourself the cost
of living there, how foreigners are regarded in the domestic labor
market there, how long it would take to learn the language and what
are the type of jobs usually open to foreigners there. · You can
get in touch with the embassy or consulate of that country to get
more details. · Check out the content of the job that is being offered
and try to find out why your predecessor left. · You can also obtain
newspapers of that country and analyze other job offers there. Get
a feel of the job market and try to understand the job hiring process.
A Note of Caution
- Unemployment is rampant worldwide and since it is a
major political issue, you must be aware that locals are very sensitive
about foreigners coming into the labor market.
- In most countries, residence and work permits are near impossible
to obtain - so ensure that your employer takes care of those aspects
and confirms that all formalities are taken care of.
- If you are getting a job through an agency or an advertisement
be very cautious; examine and crosscheck every aspect and take references
that you can check with. Many such agencies take advantage of the
candidate's ignorance and eagerness for a job abroad.
- Do not resign from your current job until you have all the necessary
papers in hand - visa, work permit, etc.
- Examine issues such as how long you intend to stay abroad. Are
you planning to come back after a short assignment of two years
or so. Plan what you wish to do thereafter. Analyze at what stage
your children's education is and whether they will be able to adjust
later on. It has to be a well thought out decision taken objectively