I know firsthand what it feels like to want to change jobs. That sinking feeling in your gut every time you start the workday. Daydreaming about a new role every spare minute you have. Googling things like how to quit a job and job-seeking tips and techniques more times than you’d care to admit. Sound familiar?
It’s completely common to want to switch jobs throughout your career, and I’m a big advocate for doing so. Changing jobs can bring newfound job satisfaction and fulfillment, two things everyone deserves in their careers. But determining if you want to leave your current job to pursue your career goals is a big decision that’s often difficult and requires a lot of deliberation. Especially with the current state of the economy and the talk of a potential recession, it can leave you wondering if it’s a good idea to leave your current work environment or if it’s better to stay put.
As someone who has made the decision to change jobs multiple times over the course of my career (and has made plenty of pros and cons lists!), I know a thing or two about the process. That’s why I’m sharing 11 things to consider when changing jobs so you can find a job that offers you fulfillment and checks off the important items on your job wishlist.
11 Things to Consider When Changing Jobs
Whether you’re beginning the interview process for a new role or just starting to scope out prospective employers, there are a lot of important factors to consider when searching for a job that meets not only your immediate needs but also your long-term goals. Changing jobs is a hugely personal decision to consider because it affects your livelihood and can impact your work-life balance and how you show up in your personal life. So know that this list may not be exhaustive of everything you may need to consider, but it is a good starting point of things to think about before making a change.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing to consider: money. Your job provides you with a means to afford your lifestyle. Changing roles or companies is likely going to impact the amount of money you see in your paycheck each payday. So before making any swift moves, check your finances. Take a good look at your current income and your monthly expenses to understand your financial snapshot. Then, do your research to see what the anticipated compensation is for the roles you’re interested in pursuing. Do they align with your needs? If so, determine your salary expectations so you’re prepared to share when asked in an interview.
2. Health Insurance
Hand-in-hand with compensation, you’ll want to consider health insurance options and the cost. Not all health insurance plans are created equal, so you’ll need to think about what kind of coverage you need to support yourself and others if you have a partner or family you need to cover. When you think about how much you’re paid at a company, factor in the cost of various health insurance plans, like copay or high deductible plans and HSA contributions. Companies usually foot a piece of the bill so if you’re considering other options, be sure to ask about their coverage offerings.
3. Retirement Contributions
Your retirement is another factor of your total compensation to consider when changing jobs. Many companies offer a retirement plan, like a 401(k), 403(b), or profit sharing. In addition to offering a vehicle to invest, companies may provide a match of your contributions. This is free money! There is often a vesting schedule, AKA a defined amount of time in which you fully gain ownership over the matching contributions. When you consider changing jobs, think about the amount of money you’re leaving behind or could gain through the retirement plans offered.
Some companies offer employees equity as a part of their total compensation package. They do this as a means to offer additional non-cash compensation, often in the form of stock options, restricted stock, or performance shares, for example. The monetary benefit you receive from an employer goes well beyond the dollar amount you receive in your paycheck. If you’re currently offered equity in your role or are being offered equity in a new role, be sure to factor it into the overall equation.
5. Other Benefits and Perks
In addition to common benefits like health insurance and 401(k) plans, companies may offer additional benefits and perks to support their employees. Common examples include:
- Educational benefits to help you pursue a degree.
- Covering the cost of professional development opportunities or organizational dues.
- Offering a wellness program or stipend to support your well-being.
- Hosting a perk center that offers discounts to employees at retail establishments.
These may seem like minute details, but they definitely play into your job satisfaction and perception of the professional atmosphere.
In today’s working world, flexible work is a big topic of conversation. Now more than ever, employees want the option to have a flexible schedule and flexible working hours to support their work-life balance and overall well-being. It’s essential to determine what is most valuable to you as an employee and what will best support you in the season of life you’re in. While one company may offer you more compensation, if they require you to work in the office five days a week and your commute time is over an hour, is that really worth it to you? Consider working arrangements like remote work, in-office, or hybrid and determine what your ideal working environment looks like before making any final decisions.
7. Time Off
Work is a big part of our lives, but it shouldn’t be the only thing in them. It’s essential to take time off to rest, recharge, and well, not work. When considering changing jobs, take a good look at the time off you’re offered. This is more than vacation time. It includes time off due to illness, maternity leave or parental leave, short-term and long-term disability, sabbaticals, and more. Think about what you need available to you to support the life you want.
8. Company Culture
At work, culture is everything. You could love the work you do, but if you dislike the people you’re working with and what the company stands for, it can make every day you clock in miserable. Company culture is arguably as important, if not more, than total compensation. You do your best work when you’re in a supportive and healthy work environment. To get a feel for a potential employer’s culture, check out the company website and LinkedIn. You can even reach out to current employees to ask for an informational interview. You want to know what you’re signing up for before you make a move.
With fluctuating economic conditions, stability in a job is critical. When evaluating changing jobs, you may find that your position with your current employer is more in your comfort zone than a new position that brings a lot of uncertainty. There is nothing wrong with preferring stability over more money, flexible work, or new opportunities. It’s all a matter of what your priorities are for the period of life you’re in. On the flip side, if your current company or industry can be ever-changing, and you’ve learned through trial and error it’s not the best fit for you, finding a new role that offers stability could be the right move.
10. Career Advancement
When considering changing jobs, take a moment to think about what your future looks like. Are there opportunities to take on new challenges or responsibilities and potentially receive a promotion? Or are you pretty stuck in your role with no opportunity for advancement in sight? Getting clear on the trajectory of your career and how you want to navigate your next step can make all the difference in where your next adventure takes you.
With most things in life, timing is everything. Outline the facts and tune into your gut to determine if this is the right time for you to make a major shift in your life, like a job change. Does it feel right for you and for your family? Are you up for a promotion soon? Are you looking to buy a home or start a family? Make sure the decision to change jobs aligns with your life and what you want from it. Because while a job is a big part of your life, it’s not your entire life.