Biz Doc: It Has Come To This

3 HUGE Change Mistakes – How to Avoid Them

April 2009

“I regret taking this job!” Does that lament sound all-too familiar?

If you feel unsatisfied about a recent job change, you are not alone. A Harris Interactive survey uncovered evidence that significant numbers of people are disenchanted with their new jobs:
– 45 percent of workers say they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their jobs
– 33 percent believe they have reached a dead end in their career
– 21 percent are eager to change careers

People who are unhappy or dissatisfied with a new job likely made one of three easily-avoidable mistakes en route to their new job. Additionally, people who have been forced by the economy to make job changes can also fall into the same traps.

Let’s take a look at those missteps and how you can avoid them.

1. Jumping Impulsively From a Bad Situation
Everyone is eager to leave a bad job. But rather than jumping ship at the first sign of trouble, be patient in making your decision. While it’s not easy to be patient when you desperately want to get out of an unpleasant job situation, you will be glad you waited for the right opportunity.
A positive perspective is important. Tell yourself, “I am going to find a wonderful job opportunity and make a great career choice” rather than dwelling on the negative. Starting each day with “I can’t wait to get out of here!” does not put you in a positive frame of mind. The difference in those two perspectives is extremely important. Always put the positive first. It will show in everything you do.
Stay upbeat and confident. Not only will this help you get through the final chapter in your current job, your demeanor will be apparent to those who interview you. Prospective employers are looking for positive energy, stability and resiliency along with the specific skills that pertain to a particular position.

2. Walking Across the Street for Money
By far, the easiest job change is to take exactly the same job you have now with a new company – usually a competitor in the same industry. Typically a recruiter or other contact within the industry calls you. Before you know it, you’ve had an interview and an offer.
While this fast-paced, flattering experience likely yields a raise and a new boss, it does not usually result in other changes or career growth opportunities. The industry environment, customers and your job function are typically unchanged. Within a few months, the new job will feel exactly like the old job in almost all aspects – except for the people.
Unless you have a burning desire to hold the same position with a competitor, it’s usually best to avoid this type of job change altogether. If you are looking to ply your skills in a new way, or in a new industry, it will take more than mailing your resume to one company. This type of change will require a concerted effort that includes researching the new industry and the type of position you are seeking (marketing, sales, finance, etc.). Most industries have trade associations that operate websites containing a tremendous amount of useful information. Seeking individuals who currently hold positions or work for companies that are of interest to you can also yield key information. Insights and job leads from such individuals is often more current and insightful than any other resource.

3. Failing to Make the Right Change
When making a decision to change jobs, take a methodical approach. An old maxim says, “The more time you spend understanding a situation, the less time you spend finding an solution and the more chance that it is correct.”
If you primarily seek more opportunity for advancement, be sure that any job opportunities you consider provide it. If you hope to move to a new geographical location, don’t even sniff at opportunities nearby, regardless of the salary or benefits. Stay true to your plan and accept the job that addresses your key objective(s).

The Well-Crafted Job Change Battle Plan
Planning is the key element that will help you avoid those common mistakes. Here’s a simple process to ensure you build a well-crafted job change battle plan:

First, enlist a group of friends and mentors who truly know you, your skills, habits and career background. Objectively provide these individuals with the facts surrounding your job situation. Be careful not to color the facts with emotions or feelings as this makes it difficult for others to assess the information. Ask them to be brutally honest about the career skills and personal attributes they see in you. This objective feedback is critical as the career decision you will make will be influenced by it.

Second, look at all parts of your job: its function, the industry or product, and the type of company. Taking a look at all three elements is a simple but powerful way to help you evaluate your current job situation. Armed with that information, you can build a plan that acts as a compass that points you to a brighter future.

Third, consider taking a basic career assessment test that will pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. You can find these tests at any number of career resource websites. Incorporating this feedback into your plan will help you more clearly focus your efforts.
Higher levels of career satisfaction await you.

Get a clean piece of paper and start making your plan today!

“Do you wake-up on your own,… and wonder where you are?”
Slide – Goo Goo Dolls

*“The New Employee/Employer Equation Survey” was conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc., a leading market research firm, and included responses from a nationwide sample of 7,718 American employees 18 and over.


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