It is well known that nearly 70% of those holding a job are looking or wishing for a better one. Some estimates suggest that those actively looking—with various intensities—fall into the 60% category. Of course, these statistics vary with industries and geographies, but the fact remains that many professionals are unhappy in their regular jobs and are chasing new ones expecting that somehow they will find a utopian solution to their career dilemma.
In my own coaching practice about 60% of my client intake stems from such a demographic. This group also includes clients looking for internal promotion as their preferred alternative. The remainder is made up of those wishing to improve their career where they are, out of work and looking, or knowing how to deal with a sticky relationship issue with someone of influence at their job.
For those who want to pursue another job(s) my guidance is always the same: Do not change jobs until you have overcome your challenges where you are and do not start looking until you have built sufficient career momentum at your current job.
Here is why I insist on these two recommendations for my clients to follow:
Overcoming current challenges
Every job presents its own challenges. These vary depending on a variety to factors, but they include difficulties stemming from deteriorating relationships, difficult colleagues, indifferent or incompetent bosses, and bad work environment. They become a problem when they affect your everyday work and bring you down. When your job starts becoming a burden as a result of these factors you look for change and the most obvious change one pursues is to run away from the situation, hoping to find a place where you can start anew and put your troubles behind you.
The problem with this approach is that another place will pose you new challenges and soon you will be in the same or a very similar situation again, looking for a change yet again. What you must deal with from the get-go is what changes must you make within your own to deal with your situation head-on before walking—even running—away from your current one.
This is where you need some outsider to work with you and to give you some guidance on changes you must make to deal with the situation or similar ones that can arise, no matter where you are working. Many HR departments offer coaching services, which can be useful. Seeking an outside coach can also help if you want to protect your work relationships. But, the main idea here is to moving away from denial and becoming aware of your own behaviors that you must change to deal with what is troubling you and to prevent them from happening in the future.
Building Career Momentum
The worst time to leave a job and to seek another is when your career momentum in your current job is on the decline. Career momentum or mojo is what is happening in your current job that will make you more desirable to other employers to hire you. If your momentum is on the decline because of your recent assignments, relationships with others, or by factors that you cannot control it is best to find the root cause and to identify ways to regain it, even temporarily.
One can recapture their career mojo by looking at hidden opportunities within your work unit or looking around your business or company to see what things could improve customer experience, work processes, or productivity. Taking on such tasks on your own by negotiating with your superiors is a good way to rebuild lost momentum and getting new bullets on your résumé that show leadership, initiative, and success.
Rebuilding your career momentum also helps in your job interviews because you’ll bring new energy and confidence to your message. Having a strong résumé because of the new initiatives that you successfully completed and having the confidence to showcase your message during a selection process can help you achieve your change objectives well beyond just landing another job.
So, if you are looking for a change because things are deteriorating for you and you are convinced that a new job will magically make your life better, think again and follow these two recommendations. You’ll be surprised how it will change your life!