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Should You Stay or Should You Go?

1097380500There’s no right answer to the age-old question about when is the right time to move on from your current employer. It might be the right time to move now, yet perhaps it is better to remain and continue to build your career in place. The only thing for certain is one should not make a career decision in haste. Don’t abandon your current job because it’s tough right now, or jump at an opportunity without considering all the issues. Career decisions are important ones.

The historical wisdom was that you should minimally stay at a job for 12-18 months (or hopefully far longer), but that wisdom is not as relevant in today’s world.

In growing up in the ad business in New York in the 70s and 80s, job hopping was a common occurrence. Since the industry was concentrated heavily in New York City in that era, it was relatively easy for successful professionals to find a higher paying job. If one was not bluffing, that offer would often be used as leverage for a bump in one’s salary. I admit having done so once with what I thought was a terrific offer from a firm named Cunningham & Walsh, a big Procter & Gamble agency. I was prepared to leave BBDO, but re-thought it, and I did turn down the opportunity and stayed. I was fortunate that I did as Cunningham & Walsh was shortly acquired by NW Ayer, and the end of the Ayer story was very sad a few years later. I worked at BBDO for 12 years, rose in their ranks and probably would have stayed longer had I not moved to Philadelphia in 1989 when I had the opportunity to be President of an agency there. So I am a believer in longevity.

Fast forward to today, the pace of job movement in general now mirrors the New York ad business back in the 70s and 80s. But some of the reasons for job hopping are changing:

Ability to work from home

Technology is changing the nature of the employer’s business

The lesser bond between employer and employee, in both directions.

For companies in the burbs, the desire to work in a city atmosphere rather than burbs, particularly among millennials

There are many reasons you should stay at our current job. Here are 5 good ones:

1. You are well regarded

2. You are learning and have opportunities for growth

3. You like the people you work with

4. You like/respect your direct supervisor

5. You are being compensated fairly

So, here are my guidelines for those who are considering leaving:

1. Do not make a decision to leave in haste in response to a tough patch at work.

Err on the side of longevity. Always best to take a long view. The cliché, “Grass is not always greener” often does apply.

2. Make sure the $ of the new position are really substantially more.

Don’t leave for additional 10%.

3. Be sure you understand the culture of the new firm, and how employees feel about the company and its leadership.

Be realistic and don’t discount the reputation of the new company’s leader. Culture (good and bad) starts at the top

4. If there are “promises” made by your new employer in your offer, let them be written.

If they are reluctant to write a promise, is it really a promise?

Lastly, if you’ve decided to go, leave your current employer gracefully. It reflects well on you. Be smart since you never know….your former employer could be your future employer. Companies often seek the “ones who got away” as future employees.

Now get back to work…..




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