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The decision to change your job is a big one and it’s something we’ve all considered at some point. Moving jobs can be a healthy step forward in your career. However, leaving your current job is not always the best choice. So, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions to establish what the right decision is for you.

1. Why do I feel the need to leave?

A good starting point is to really drill down on what is motivating you to leave. Pinpointing your reasons for leaving will provide you with clarity on what your next step should be. So be sure to ask yourself:

  • Is it because you believe you’re underpaid?
  • Are you bored / under stimulated?
  • Is it your company culture?
  • Have you hit an advancement ceiling?
  • Are there systemic company issues?
  • Do you feel stressed, overworked or unsupported?
  • Are your values and the company’s values misaligned?

If one of those areas hit the nail on the head, then explore what it is specifically about that pressure point that is causing the issue. For example, if you are stressed, what is it that’s causing you stress about your job? Is it a particular employee, working long hours, feeling undervalued? Etc.

2. Can the problem be fixed by simply talking to my boss?

One of the first questions we generally ask candidates is “have you spoken to your current employer about your problem? Would he/she be able to fix it?”

Finding staff replacements is no easy task. Nine times out of 10, an employer will look to fix issues if they can for their employees. For example, if stimulation is the issue, they may well be able to put you on different projects or diversify your tasks. If you feel underpaid, addressing this may net you a pay increase. If you’re feeling overworked, there may be capacity to take some tasks off your desk. If you like your company and don’t necessarily want to leave, asking the question is your first point of call.

On the other hand, if the issue is cultural or systemic (or if your boss is actually the issue), or if you do ask but there is no way the problem can be solved, then there may be no other option but to look for a new role.

Knowing your problem can’t be fixed (rather than assuming) will make your decision to leave easier. 

3. What is my ideal job?

Once you’ve addressed why you want to leave and know that it cannot be fixed by your current employer, your next step is to figure out what it is that you are looking for in your next career move. You’ve already established what isn’t fulfilling you in your current job. Now you need to spend time thinking about which aspects of your work are going to bring you the most job satisfaction. While mapping out your ideal job, it may be helpful to look at others in your industry who have positions you aspire to.

4. Do I currently have enough experience to attain my ideal job?

Now that you’ve established what your ideal job is, it’s important to ask yourself if you currently have the right experience and / or qualifications to obtain it. It’s valuable to have clarity about your career direction but you also need to be realistic about timelines for achieving the outcome you want. There may be areas where you will need to compromise, so think about what you are willing to be flexible on and what is non-negotiable. Knowing what these are will help streamline your search and increase the likelihood of obtaining your ideal position at this stage of your career.