In today’s problematic job market and economy, you might think it’s safer and a no-brainer to stay where you are, if you’re currently employed and not facing a layoff—as far as you know. Or you might be one of those risk-takers with an entrepreneurial spirit for whom staying in one place more than a few years, at most, is unthinkable.

On the other hand, you might be part of the great middle group that could go either way, depending on a number of factors. The question in any case is, what do you need and want to consider before pursuing a new opportunity or deciding to stay where you are?

Why might you want to move on?

Before you start making any plans, it’s critical that you determine why you’re even considering a job change, as opposed to staying put. You might have multiple reasons, possibly including more than one of the following:

  • The company is relocating to another area, where you don’t want to go—either in your current country or elsewhere.
  • Your employer may be acquired by another company, and you suspect the buyer will want to keep its own management team intact.
  • You are maxed-out at your current employer; the C-level team isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future, and you have your eye on one of those positions as your next step.
  • You’re getting a new boss—and losing a key mentor and supporter.
  • The company hasn’t given more than a token salary increase to its management team for the past two years, and that doesn’t seem likely to change soon.
  • You have some concerns about the direction of the company, its overall strategy, the leadership team, or future prospects for your products or industry.

Why would you decide to stay?

Considerations in a few key areas might influence you to stay in your current position, assuming you have that choice. They include economic, personal/family, and career management issues. Of course, more than one consideration might apply in your situation, which is one of the points you will need to clarify. For example:

  • Economic: If you’re well compensated and living in a geographic area where your salary gives you a very comfortable life, pursuing a new position might not make good sense to you. Unless, of course, you can be reasonably sure of duplicating that situation in a new company and gaining other advantages in the process.
  • Personal/family: If you have strong family ties where you are now, leaving your current position might be detrimental if it requires you to relocate elsewhere. Other aspects that might influence your decision include schools for your children, employment for your spouse or other family members, and health care provisions.
  • Career management: If advancement opportunities are relatively more plentiful by staying with your current employer, changing might be not only unnecessary but undesirable. It’s important to take both a short-term and long-range view of the situation, though, and incorporate your best projections about your company’s prospects into your decision.

executive_job_search_leave_jobNo guarantees

Life has seldom, if ever, provided guarantees of a good outcome when we have difficult choices to make. You can decide to go or stay in your current position and end up regretting it either way. However, if you put the right kind of effort into evaluating the pros and cons—which is really all anyone can do—you have the best chance of being satisfied with your decision in the long run.

Manage a successful transition

Deciding to go is one thing; finding your next great opportunity is a whole new challenge. When you’ve made that decision, let the “executive experts”—the BlueSteps Executive Career Services team—help you plan and execute a campaign to land your next executive position. From branding and marketing through search strategy and interview prep, we know what works in executive search and can support every step of the way.


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