5 Things to Consider if You’re Thinking About Switching Jobs

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

As unemployment drops and the demand for workers continues to increase, the ball is in the employee’s court to attract potential employees. Companies in similar industries are increasingly competing amongst each other for the best-qualified applicants — even to the point of courting people before they’ve moved on from their current jobs. With comparable positions and tempting salaries at your fingertips, it’s only natural to consider switching jobs, especially if you’re being personally recruited by a friend or former colleague.

Switching jobs might not seem like as much of a leap as switching careers, but job hopping can still be detrimental to your career path and your finances. Before you jump at that new opportunity, take these tips to heart.

1. Consider the Entire Compensation Package

It’s easy to get distracted by a bigger number on the salary line. After all, more income puts wiggle room in the budget and increases what you can set aside for savings and retirement. Keep in mind that salary is not your take-home pay though. Besides taxes, there are insurance premiums to consider as well. Here are several other aspects of compensation to consider:

  • Medical benefits: How do premiums and coverage compare?
  • Vacation, sick time, personal time: What’s the structure, and how long does it take to accrue time off?
  • Hours: Will you be expected to work more hours for a higher salary? Are the hours flexible?
  • Pensions, 401K and stock options: How do these and other employer perks compare?

Taking a wider-angle view of compensation can help you see where the numbers line up and make a more informed decision. You might find that even if another job offers a higher salary, the entire package pans out to the equivalent of what you’re receiving at your current job.

That’s not to say there aren’t other reasons another job might be better for you. At this point, it might be helpful to start a pro/con list so you can clearly see how each job compares.

switching jobs2. Consider the Company Culture

The environment of a workplace is a serious consideration. Even if it pays more, is the job prospect a stressful environment with high-pressure expectations? Are you prepared to deal with that daily? Talk to some of the employees to get insider feedback and look for an opportunity to observe the work site in action.

It’s also good to think about your work style. If you work best alone and the company enforces a more collaborative approach, you might be out of your element. How much mental stimulation does the job involve (multitasking and solving unique problems versus repetitive tasks), and how does that fit with your focus style?

3. What Other Costs Might Be Involved with the Job Switch?

There’s more to a new job than just compensation and benefits – it impacts your entire life. Don’t forget to consider other changes to your lifestyle that might end up costing you more, whether in dollars or stress. For instance, would the new job require a longer commute that eats more fuel and puts you home later every evening? Would you need to take on other expenses like daycare? Would there be new work-related travel or time expenditures, and would you be adequately compensated?

Again, it’s important to consider the whole picture, and that includes other areas of your life.

4. Does the Job Excite You and Meet Your Skill Set?

If compensation is the main reason for considering another job, think about whether you would also enjoy working there. You don’t have to love every aspect of your work, but you need to assess whether the pluses are worth dealing with the minuses. Doing interesting work can be a great confidence booster because you can proudly talk about it in social settings. You’ll also perform better at a job that excites you.

Also look for work that not only you can do, but one that will help you build your skill set. A temporary pay hike might not be worth getting stuck in a job with few skill-enhancing opportunities.

5. How Would This Job Change Your Career Path

One of the reasons why you want to build on your skill set is because seeing improvement is extremely satisfying for the soul. Another is because of the need to keep growing to earn even better opportunities in the future. Does this job show a clear path to promotions? Do people basically retire with that title or do people tend to be able to move on to greener pastures? Depending on your goals and where you are in life, this may be the biggest determining factor of whether a job is worth pursuing.

There are certainly more things to consider when a new job opportunity comes along, but these are key ones. Just remember – you are in control of the situation, so it’s fine to take your time and make a wise decision.

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