Is it advisable to leave a job without another to go to? The answer to this depends on your financial circumstances. Unless you have the means to sustain extended periods of unemployment, then the answer is nearly always "no." At the time of writing this blog, there is a real disconnect between the expectations of job seekers and employers. This is not uncommon and happens during market cycles. Many anecdotes demonstrate this disconnect, but these two anecdotes illustrate how this can lead to career limiting situations. A qualified CPA who accepted a new position six years ago had developed his career very well with an ASX listed entity, progressing to the role of Divisional Finance Manager.
The opportunity to accept a voluntary redundancy was presented to him, and, without doing his homework, he accepted the redundancy, thinking this would present a swift financial gain. Unbeknown to him, he was entering a job market that is very slow for qualified accountants. Without possessing specific or specialised skills that are in high demand, he soon found he had some tough competition for the roles he preferred. Similarly, a long term contractor with people2people was nearing the completion of a six month contract, where the on-hire company was expecting to keep her for another three months. Thinking she had the employer "over a barrel," she asked for an 18% pay rise to continue in the extended contract. The on-hire company, knowing the market was flush with immediately available talent, had the contractor finish and replaced. To make sure you do not make these mistakes, here are a few checks to consider before entering a job market without having another opportunity lined up;
- Don’t rely on mass media confidence measures, the stock market or a property market to give you clues regarding the health of the job market.
- Test the market. Apply for a role you think you should get hands down. Remember applying for a job is not taking a job. Can you even start a conversation with a potential employer?
- Speak with a recruiter. This does not have to be a phone call in the 21st century. You can engage recruitment agencies very easily through social media such as Twitter and Linkedin. Many of the innovative firms will have blogs where you can comment and engage.
- Benchmark your salary. There are many online surveys, but today you can also access benchmarking tools and sites. At people2people, we recommend our own anonymous benchmarking tool, www.salarysiite.com.au.
- If you want to leave because of your working environment, then first address these issues with your current employer. In many instances, your employer may not even be aware that you are feeling undervalued or neglected.
- Explore internal opportunities with your current employer. Intranet job boards. Taking on greater responsibility as examples.
- Take some time to consider exactly what your ideal next step is. Think of a job search like looking for your next home. If you cannot tell the real estate agent that you are looking for a three bedroom home with a pool, don’t get upset when you are shown a studio apartment. Make sure you are very clear about your expectations before you enter the market and test the market for your preferred role only after you have explored all internal opportunities.
The bottom line is do your homework to enable you to make more informed and considered decisions. Better still, secure your next role whilst you are still working.