Is leaving a job for better opportunities the right thing? How do we explain this effectively to interviewers? Stick around as we broach the topic!
The job world in its entirety plays host to many great opportunities for those trying to further themselves in life. People often end up changing jobs and sometimes careers to pursue opportunities that seem to offer more potential than their current job has. However, there are times when regret sets in, and one realizes the change was not as good as they had hoped. Sometimes the grass really isn’t greener on the other side. This begs the question – How does one know if it’s right to leave for better opportunities? Let’s try to answer that to have the tools needed to make the most informed decision you can regarding your own career.
Is leaving a job for better opportunities the right thing to do, how to tell?
When people cite “better opportunity” on their resume under reasons for leaving previous jobs, they often refer to a better salary. Some also mean less hours or more suitable working conditions, and some refer to the potential for career growth. When you are faced with a decision on whether to keep your current employment or change over to a new company, you need to evaluate what the pros of moving really are and if they amount to a better opportunity or simply a more convenient setup.
- Better Remuneration
Everyone could do with a higher salary and more incentives, but whether or not a salary increase should be considered a better opportunity and whether it’s a good idea to chase it depends on a few different things. The first question you want to ask yourself is if you are currently making ends meet. This will help you categorize a salary increase as a need or a want. If it’s a need, the decision will be pretty easy to make. However, if it’s not a need, want, there’s more to the decision. Salary increases generally come with an increase in expected work output. This could show as more hours at work, more responsibility, greater stress, and more. You need to assess the particulars of the new opportunity offering better pay and ask yourself if the extra money is worth the other extras it comes with. You also need to measure this against your own possible room for growth in the new company. If the salary is slightly higher, but there are no chances for further promotion, you will be taking pics yourself in the foot in the long run and setting yourself up for another job transition later.
- Greater Responsibility
Many see a greater level of responsibility in their job as a negative. This is generally because more work is required, and there is more stress related to the job. But the greater your responsibilities, the more opportunity you have to upskill yourself, learn to manage under increased pressure, and add valuable experience points to your resume. One needs to look at the potential increase in responsibilities in a job offer and assess whether it creates room for the above-mentioned and is thus a greater opportunity, or whether it simply means more hours or stress that are unnecessary.
- Growth Potential
The number one most viable reason for chasing new opportunities with a new company is by far growth potential. Stagnation and comfort are the enemies of success and achievement. If you’re not growing, you’re not going – anywhere. I personally would choose a job with greater growth potential over any other kind of opportunity every single time. Growing in a company gives you sustainability, longevity in your career, a chance to really achieve, and a sense of fulfillment because you are consistently moving forward and improving yourself. If a new job offer comes along that seems like it offers better opportunities, growth should really be one of them.
Flexibility is a sought-after characteristic in any job by many people. It offers you room to do more and be more comfortable. That being said, it can have its downsides too. Someone who is independent, self-driven, and enjoys their work, generally makes the best use of a flexible job and thrives because they do not need as much structure or someone behind them keeping them in check. There are, however, many people who work much better in a strict, structured environment that pushes them to be efficient and productive. People like this thrive in less inflexible positions due to the freedom and lack of structure. A greater sense of discipline and ownership is required. This can be seen in many kinds of remote and freelance-type jobs. When looking at flexibility as an aspect of a potential new job, you need to assess what kind of person you are, how much structure you need to remain productive, and what you would use that flexibility to accomplish. This will help you decide whether you class this aspect as an opportunity or a possible stumbling block.
- Work/Life Balance
Work is a massive part of our lives and takes up more of our time than any other activity or commitment. At times our jobs can become very demanding and start to encroach on our personal lives to the point of detriment. Maintaining a balance between our work and home lives is essential to remain happy and successful in both. Hours expected, workload, and level of expected stress are all factors that can help determine whether a job will start to negatively affect your personal life or provide room for it to have more focus. When assessing new opportunities, it is important to look at how many potential extra hours you might need to work and how you will balance your home life against that. You also need to consider how much more stressed you might become and whether you can leave that stress at the office door on your way out. In addition, you need to look at other things like frequency of expected travel and time away from home, the potential for out of hours, meeting/gatherings/responsibilities, and so forth. If, when assessing this, you find that a good work/life balance is achievable, or if the opportunity of the job is specifically greater balance because it affords you fewer work hours, etc., then you could consider this a better opportunity.
What about loyalty?
Loyalty means more to some companies and individuals than others, but I think we can agree it’s important nevertheless. When assessing your loyalty to a company and leaving that company, you need to keep in mind that a new employer will also assess your loyalty to your old company and potentially question your reasons for leaving. But when is loyalty detrimental to your career? The short answer – when it holds you back. Loyalty as a personal quality is essential. Still, loyalty to a company where you cannot reach your full potential will hurt you in the long run, sour your perception of that company, demotivate you, and eventually hurt that company. Everyone goes through seasons, and when you have grown as far as you can, it becomes time to seek greater opportunity and move on. This doesn’t imply disloyalty. One can leave a company on amenable terms, and if an employer truly values you as a person, they will support moves that push you to greater heights. Whether your loyalty is in question or not stems more from your specific motivation for leaving, how much of a chance you really gave your current job, whether you really gave your all, and how you choose to leave things.
Are you ready for it?
The last thing you need to consider when asking yourself if leaving your current job for a better opportunity is the right thing to do is if you’re sure you are ready to fully take advantage of the opportunity and make something successful out of it. We sometimes find ourselves in chapters in life where we need to slow down and work on things before we make any major changes so that when we do make changes, they are for our better. New jobs come with adjustments, and greater opportunities come with greater personal demand. You need to assess whether you are in a place to meet those extra demands.
Everything mentioned above should give you some handles to sort through the pros and cons and the different factors to consider when looking at a job change and chasing an opportunity. However, only you personally will know what the best decision for you is in the end. If you sit down and consider everything and really measure your current situation against the potential for change, you will know what the right move is and whether leaving for better opportunities is the right thing to do for you. Good luck to you!
Also read How to Write a Letter of Resignation Using the Best Personal Reasons?