This week I spoke with a client that has held a job throughout the Pandemic. The client reorganized her department to control her company’s largest costs, and make sure they always earn prompt payment discounts. The job provides great benefits and the employer is pleased with her work. Nonetheless, she wants to upgrade her resume and move on.
Not all of us act when we feel it’s time to plan our exit strategy. Perhaps we like our work, need the health benefits, or cannot relocate. Whatever the reason, you may want to watch for the warning signs below, and be prepared to exit.
External factors that you have no control over can impact your decision to make a job or career change. Examples include:
- The company you work for was bought (or they bought another company).
- There’s been a change in leadership in your department or in the company.
- You were asked to do the same job for less money.
- Your workload was reduced.
- You’re in a dead-end job.
- The industry you work in is dying or going through significant changes.
The company you work for was purchased, or they purchased another company.
Mergers and acquisitions—situations where another company bought your employer, or where your employer bought another company–can impact your job as company management assesses redundancies in personnel between the two companies.
I’ve found that, at a minimum, working conditions and benefits change because the companies usually need to merge their benefits plans and salary structures. Operating procedures often change, too, so the job you are now asked to do may not seem much like the job you signed-up for.
Successful people accommodate change. It’s time to move on if you cannot accommodate the changes for whatever reason. Of course, if the merger makes your job redundant from the employer’s point of view, the decision to leave will be made for you.
Department leadership has changed.
A frequent reason for seeking a job change is that you got a new boss. Maybe he or she has their own former employees brought into your department, or maybe their leadership style just doesn’t feel right to you. In either case, it may lead you to think about making a change.
Change is the only thing that is constant in many organizations, so we recommend thinking twice before bailing from a job because you do not like the new boss. There will no doubt be leadership changes at the next place you land, too. Again, if the new department head cleans house and lets you go, it’s a moot point.
You have to do the same job for less money.
If you have never been asked to do the same job for less money, you may not believe it’s possible. Some companies ask their employees to take a pay cut but continue to do their full workload. If you can’t afford to make less but work the same amount — or more — this may prompt you to look for a new job.
Another version of this ploy that I have experienced is for the employer to require that you work a 40 hour week instead of a 35 hour week. This is more palatable to some workers because their take-home pay remains the same for salaried employees. It can impact work-life balance and child care arrangements, so you may find the new hours untenable…
Your workload has been reduced.
A reduced workload sounds like it would be welcome relief for many of us. Unfortunately, a reduced workload can also limit your opportunities for higher earnings and advancement in some jobs. For example, commissioned sales people will lose earnings potential when their sales territory is reduced. In other situations, you may miss out on opportunities to learn new skills or get the experience required for promotion. Worse of all, a reduced level of responsibility could mean leadership is not pleased with your work, and you will soon have to leave.
Regardless of the reason, recognize that a reduction in your workload may not bode well for your future at the current job.
You’re in a “dead end” job.
For whatever reason, the job you’re in now is “the end of the line” with this company. Folks who make it this far at this company usually don’t advance any farther, and generally retire from this role.
An example of this happens with clients that work in family-owned companies. They are not family members so leadership roles are not open to them.
It’s important to recognize that not everyone wants or needs to advance. The key is for you to make the decision that you like your current role, and want to stay there.
You work in a “dying” industry.
The industry or profession you work in could be contracting. As we pointed out, even high-tech industries such as nuclear energy contract as technology changes.
Other examples include the mortgage industry in 2008, or the newspaper industry today. The feast-and-famine cycle of the oil -and-gas industry is yet another example. Several clients of mine have worked in the apparel industry where much of the work has been “outsourced” or “offshored” to reduce costs.
If you’re in an industry that is likely to go “bust,” the decision to change careers may not be left up to you.
Your exit strategy should include an updated resume, LinkedIn profile, and targeted job search letters. We’re here to help.