Reasons to stay at your job

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The first working Monday of the new year, dubbed ‘Massive Monday’ is a time when everyone usually starts looking for a new job and this year was no exception.

Recruitment website saw a whopping 235,981 job applications and 17,730 new candidate registrations in a 24 hour period on Monday 4th January, a 31% increase on the same time last year.

So why is it so many people start trawling through the job ads in January? Is it simply a case of a new year and a new start?

Karen Meager, career consultant and trainer at Monkey Puzzle consultancy, says the first month of the year has always been a prime time for job hunting.Psychologically, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start, so people often naturally think about what’s working and not working in their lives at this time,” she notes. “People are also usually exhausted by Christmas so don’t always feel as positive about their jobs as they might at other times of the year. And on a practical note a lot of company bonus schemes pay out in December so people are often waiting for their bonus before leaving.”

The grass, however, is not always greener and a fresh start isn’t always best, particularly if you are well respected in your current company and have a strong track record. “The best reason to leave a job is because you are genuinely moving onwards and upwards rather than a desperate escape because you’re dissatisfied and unhappy in your current role,” says Meager. “By staying in your current job you could build you reputation, grow your skills and enhance your career without having to start over again.”

Job coach Louise Jenner says you also have to try to be subjective and not be seduced by the hype and glossy veneer of some company websites. “It’s important to remember that an employer will always paint a bright picture on their website and in their job adverts in order to entice candidates when they have a vacancy,” she says. “But all too often people end up job-hopping because the job doesn’t turn out to be what they expected.”

You also need to consider and weigh up the pros and cons of your present job very carefully, says Jenner. “In your current role, of course, you have some security, employment rights (if you’ve been there long enough) and your regular income and benefits,” she notes. “You also have a relationship with your employers and colleagues so if you’re unhappy about something, your first course of action should be to communicate that and try to resolve it, in a professional manner.”

It is also worth keeping the bigger picture in mind. “If there is a nightmare person in your team, they won’t be there forever so leaving just because of them can be counterproductive. Could you find a way to work with them and preserve your sanity instead? Is the organisation broadly right for you or good for your CV? If you are not in the role you want could you take a sideways move to get some appropriate experience in a familiar culture before you move to a new place?,” Meager says. “People who move jobs too often rarely make real progress, because they are constantly having to adjust to too much ‘new’ rather than building up their career.”

There are also numerous risks when it comes to starting a new job on a whim, adds Meager. “You could overlook opportunities in your current company, like a sideways move to a new area, because you don’t speak to them about it. And your CV will look fickle and unstrategic and employers don’t like that.”

Jenner says you need to carry out a thorough job assessment before you start looking elsewhere. “One of the first exercises I ask my clients to complete is an evaluation of their current or last role. It’s so easy to generalise with statements like, “I hate my job!” so it’s important to find out what exactly is causing the dissatisfaction,” she advises. Other factors, such as physical environment, personal development, management, colleagues, customers and work/life balance also need to be taken into consideration.

Continuing to be miserable and unfulfilled in your current job is, however, not an option. If, after careful consideration, you decide you cannot carry on in your current role then you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. “When you’re unhappy, the people around you feel it (however professional a face you put on!) And it’s unlikely that you are producing your best work in that environment. Also, consider this: you may be holding someone else back. The job that you’ve outgrown could be someone else’s dream job! So, there’s no reason to feel guilty or selfish for wanting to move on,” says Jenner.

As the brilliant author and speaker Maya Angelou once said: “If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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