There’s something about the New Year that provokes perspective, reassessment and change. Going to the gym on 31st of December? Probably not. But January 1st… that one nights’ sleep makes all the difference. It’s silly, but we all do it. It’s the same logic as starting something on the infamous ‘tomorrow’ or ‘Monday’. It appears we need prompting to consider change – a schedule for which to follow in order to change.
Why is that?
Simply; change is unknown and the unknown is not possible to control. So we develop these schedules in order to add some kind of control to the pending unknown. It makes us more comfortable about the change; more prepared.
Is change good?
Well, let’s go back to New Year’s resolutions… I’m certainly not sprinting on a treadmill because I enjoy feeling close to death, but in the long run, it is good for my health. We never want to change something unless we feel it will secure a good outcome.
As the title suggests, this post is about your career, and you’ve probably guessed the key here is change. Doing the same thing will only ever get you so far, you need to adapt and you need a constant awareness of your market.
Ok – how?
Change is not sufficient on its’ own. There are plenty of reasons why changing firms is considered smart; you can get a higher salary, instant promotion and broader experience. However, you cannot just change firms and expect the above to follow.
By having an ongoing understanding of the professional market you give yourself the best chance at maximising the potential benefits from change.
I don’t want to move jobs
In my experience most people who move weren’t ‘actively looking’ either. It’s all about the information. Your career is in your hands, initial interviews aren’t necessarily about committing to looking for a new job. An interview can be a conversation between two parties regarding what the market is offering; all you’re doing is committing to information gathering.
Put it this way: I don’t want to move house, but if I became aware of a beautiful townhouse by the sea for the same price as what I pay now… I’d be sure to consider it.
Staying constantly aware sounds like a lot of effort.
Yes. Your time outside of work is valuable. However, so is your career. Just browsing salary surveys, job sites and firms growth rates will keep you up-to-date. But if you’d like a little help in this, use a consultant. We are constantly speaking with firms and professionals alike; knowing the market is our job. Have a short conversation about where you want your career to go and we can keep you informed of opportunities that may interest you when they arise.
What will people think?
Job hopping. Good or bad for your CV? It’s dependent on the person and the reasons for leaving. But in most cases it’s actually beneficial. Most jobs pose a steep learning curve, the ability to consistently change jobs suggests a high intelligence in handling this learning curve. It can also indicate a high performer; there is no time for them to become stagnant in their role as they are constantly aware of their performance.
It’s not all roses though. Moving jobs every 3 months doesn’t show the above. As I said, it’s dependent on the person and the reasons for leaving, but anticipated perception shouldn’t be a reason not to take a better opportunity – should it arise.
The key to securing the best career possible is to change roles at the right time. Without getting pedantic about what the ‘best career’ means, let’s go with the common quantifiers; money and progression. According to ACCA, “Employees who stay in the same job for more than two years will earn 50% less over their lifetime than people who change companies more frequently.” In terms of progression; moving jobs regularly introduces you to a wider network of professionals, broader level of expertise and proves transferable skills desirable for promotion.
Knowing the market provides you with a structure, it eliminates ‘my diet starts on Monday’, you have the comfort of knowing what’s what and you will feel more comfortable should you decide a change is what’s best.