Gut check: four keys to evaluating your next career move

A lot of people are confused about when to make a move. Here’s what I tell them: if you’re feeling the pull, it means something. But if you’re not serious about a move, stop “window shopping” job postings on your bad days at work because it’s a waste of your time. Spend that energy making your current job work better for you.

That is, unless it IS time for a change. In which case, let’s do it. Here are four keys to ponder before you make a move. These four factors will significantly impact your success and runway in any new role. They’ll belong in a different order for different people (clarity bonus: go ahead and rank ’em). Here they are:

The skills and experiences you need for your long term plans

If you have a long term career plan, imagine what you’ll need when you go to get your next job – the one you want after this next one. Get clear on those skills and experiences, write them down, and put them front and centre when you’re evaluating potential opportunities. If you’re not sure, think about some possible directions you might like to go, and look for themes.

The manager’s ability to nurture you

I’m a big advocate for taking jobs based on managers. There is a massive range when it comes to managers and management skills, and you want to work for someone who is going to teach you, challenge you, and ideally, actively develop and champion you. To be clear: even your dream job won’t feel that way if you’re out of sync with your manager. Once you’re in the interview process, pay attention to your reaction to and interaction with this person. Most of us have pretty good radar for whether we are going to work well with a person or not.

The story you tell about your company and industry 

You may not think your company’s story matters to you over here in the Finance Department or wherever you are, but if you’re an aspiring minimalist and your company makes plastic sand toys for Dollarama that are designed to break after a single use, that is going to be a problem. You’ll be able to overlook it on your good days, but it’s going to be a problem on your tougher days. Choose a company and industry that you can feel good about saying out loud when your neighbours ask you what you do.

The lifestyle net impact 

Compensation, benefits and vacation days matter. So do working hours, commute, environment, colleagues, learning and development, and, for some of us, quality of in-office coffee and snacks. Consider all of it: what each day and week will look like as an employee of the company you’re looking at. And ask yourself if it’s an upgrade from where you are now, or just a change.

There they are, four keys to evaluating your next career move. To recap, they are: the skills and experiences you need for your long term plans, the manager’s ability to nurture you, the story you tell about your company and industry, and the lifestyle net impact. By considering all four, you’ll make a great move for your present and future. Good luck!


BONUS! When you’re all lined up and ready to negotiate, I created a powerful cheat sheet for nailing your ask so you are clear on what you want ahead of time – grab it HERE.


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One thought on “Gut check: four keys to evaluating your next career move

  1. […] Whole generations before us simply avoided this; now, the economy of work is much more fluid. In a lot of ways, we are always on the job market, always marketing ourselves. Some people embrace this and others don’t; it’s fine. But when you want a change – when your feet get itchy and it no longer feels good 75%, 80% of the time where you are, it’s time to seriously think about that leap of faith. And then to stop thinking, and MAKE YOUR MOVE. […]

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