People leave one company and join another, for a number of reasons.
Sometimes they leave over pay. Sometimes they have an issue with the boss. Maybe they leave because of the company culture. Maybe there is a new title that pulls them away. Perhaps they seek a shorter commute, more or less travel, additional vacation time, a bigger office, or better benefits.
None of these are necessarily the wrong reasons to leave a company, but that doesn’t mean they are always the right reasons. A person who changes jobs every year or two will be labeled a job-hopper, becoming an unattractive hire to potential employers. Extra pay may sound good initially, but after a few months, the effect is often minimized. Every boss has faults, meaning the new boss may ultimately not be any better than the old boss. Titles, office size, and other perks are nice, but should they be the drivers?
Leaving one company for another is a significant decision and should only be done after much thought and contemplation. The big question we then ask is when should you seriously consider a new company? I believe the answer comes down to one word: Opportunity.
When there is a real opportunity with a new employer—or an actual lack of opportunity with an existing employer—then a change should be considered.
Opportunity is very individualized. Each of us must work to distinguish between perceived opportunity and true opportunity, which can be difficult. Though it’s not difficult to determine if a company is one that provides opportunities for its employees as a whole.
How then do you identify a company that provides opportunity, or one that doesn’t? What are the markers to look for during this evaluation?
Employee opportunity exists when a company is:
- Seeking growth and new opportunities in their markets and with their customers
- Providing ongoing training and development programs
- Looking continually for new avenues to expand their brand or advertise services
- Working to increase growth through acquisitions, by entering new or emerging markets, or hiring diverse talent
Employee opportunity is limited when a company is:
- Conversely, doing none of the above statements
- Professing their belief in doing things the way they have always been done
- Refusing to offer new products or services
- Resisting continual improvements in their products and services
Leaving a company, and taking a job with a new organization, is and should be a big decision. It’s also a decision that should only be made for the right reasons. Opportunity is the key factor to consider when faced with this situation. If your existing company demonstrates opportunistic traits, then opportunity will exist for you as well. If your company exhibits none of these traits, your opportunity will, in turn, be limited.
Before taking the big leap to switch companies, make sure to take a careful look at your individual outlook for opportunity.
Brian T. King is the founder and owner of multiple firms encompassing design, construction, real estate, and manufacturing, and currently president of the integrated Design-Build firm A M King. Brian shares his passion for mentoring young professionals, rising managers and entrepreneurs at speaking engagements around the country, on podcasts and via his blog.