Should I tell my boss I'm looking for another job?
The reasons behind keeping your job hunt on the down low include not wanting to be in bad terms with your boss, not wanting your boss to stop investing in you, and that you're not even sure yet that you'll get another job. It's understandable why you'd keep to yourself. But according to HR expert John Sullivan, companies have changed. They're going to make sure you leave in good terms. They might even be welcoming when you decide to come back to them again years later.
So is it wise? It's wise to tell of job offers from another company, so you can see how your employers want to keep you—that is, if you're valuable enough for them to want to keep you. (If you find that they're eager to dismiss you, you might be better off working elsewhere because that goes to show they don't value you, your skills, and your potential.)
If you believe that your boss will be a pain about you looking for another job, according to Sullivan don't even mention it until you've already landed one.
Do I really have to stay at least a year before resigning so my résumé doesn't look bad?
That's been the ideal, but that doesn't always have to be the case according to Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a consultant and expert on talent and leadership. Sometimes people resign because they move to another country or city, for health reasons, or to take care of a family member.
It's important to note that as of this day and age, your job history and the gaps in between don't stick out like a sore tongue anymore. According to Sullivan what's important is that you prove to your future employers that your time off wasn't a waste of time, that you were still productive by learning something new or developing or acquiring a new skill.
Fernández-Aráoz still advises not jumping around from job to job, though. It's not about your CV but about the emotional drain you'll get. "The real problem is starting again to find a new place, a new location, new friends, [and] constantly reproving yourself."
Should I wait for a counteroffer before quitting?
Why not? A company, if it's smart, wouldn't want to lose a valuable employee. Sullivan states "If you're on their priority list, it would be considered 'regrettable turnover' for them and they'll do what they can to keep you." And that's what counteroffers are for: to try to keep you. They're usually through flattery (which costs the company nothing), promises, and better conditions (which can be salary-related or work hours- or workload-related).
But most counteroffers are bad for all parties, according to Fernández-Aráoz. There's a reason you wanted another job in the first place, and that's not likely to change in spite of your employer's promises. Eighty percent of people who've accepted counteroffers still end up leaving or are terminated within six to 12 months; and half of that 80 percent start looking for jobs again in 90 days.
The question is, should you accept a counteroffer? Fernández-Aráoz suggests thinking of your future (in the long-term). What do you want, and which job or company will be able to give it or help take you there?
Is it okay to agree to a lateral move?
The answer depends on some factors: what you want (is it title and money, or a job you love?) and how the company is structured (do you get to become senior VP if only you were VP, and assistant VP before that?) If it's title and money you want, which you can get by moving up that traditional ladder, agreeing to a lateral move might get in the way of your goal and put your previous experiences in vain (you'd be starting from the beginning again.) On the plus side, if you're about learning new things and you don't mind somehow starting over again, you can agree to a lateral move. It's another goal or way to the top anyway.
Should I always be on the lookout for job openings?
Not when you like what you do and you're okay or you can handle the stress and you think it's all worth it.
But it's also important to ask yourself every now and then if you're still growing, and if your growth matters a lot to you. If it does, you can look for another job in another company. Don't forget: You can find a different role in the company you're already in too.
If you're not yet invested in your growth, Fernández-Aráoz has words that'll make you reconsider: "The world is changing so rapidly that you have to be agile or adaptable. You should constantly look for projects that give you more skills, do things outside of your comfort zone, so that you have another skillset, not just the one you need for your current job."
Source: Harvard Business Review
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