Is It Time To Make a Change? Weighing Your Options in an Economic Downturn
It started out as your dream job, but now the harsh reality is really starting to kick in. Day after day, you’re starting to find it harder to get out of bed and make it to work with a smile on your face. In your spare moments, you catch yourself daydreaming about a new job – or maybe even an entirely new career.
Under ordinary circumstances, the answer to your dilemma would be simple: you’d dust off your interview suit, rework your résumé, and start scouring the help-wanted ads. But with the global economy in crisis, job seekers looking to make a change are understandably cautious about making a decision too hastily. Taking all of these factors into consideration, how can you determine whether now is the right time to kick off a job search?
Security vs. Satisfaction
The decision to search for a new position is a deeply personal one that only you are qualified to make for yourself. However, what it boils down to is whether your unhappiness in your current role is more significant than the instability that a job search (and, ultimately, a new job) could bring with it.
According to Donald Strankowski, career coach and author of Get Hired!: 10 Simple Steps for Winning the Job You Desire -- in Any Economy, it’s important to make this decision rationally, setting aside strong feelings or emotional responses. With your financial security hanging in the balance, it’s vital that you try to take a systematic approach, assessing every option and possibility at your disposal before you make a final decision.
Use this checklist to help determine whether you’re ready to undertake the tough challenge of a recession-era job search – and to decide how best to move forward from here.
Assess your safety net.
Probably the single most important factor in your decision should be your level of financial stability. If you’ve got a rainy day fund available to help cover expenses while you search for a job, the job search process will be much less stressful. On the other hand, if you don’t have much in the way of savings, it may be beneficial to wait six months and build up a small nest egg before you take the plunge.
Rethink your current job.
If you’re fed up with your job, take a step back from the situation and try to pinpoint the source of your frustration. Are the problems and disadvantages insurmountable? Sometimes, looking at the situation from a different angle may help you devise new solutions that you haven’t yet considered.
Map out your options.
If you’re unhappy in your current situation, you may assume that looking for a new job is your only viable alternative. But in actuality, there are many different avenues you can take to change or improve your job status. Sit down with a notepad and brainstorm as many different options as you can think of. Going back to school, asking your current boss for a raise or a change in assignment, breaking into a new field – everything realistic should be open for consideration. This exercise will help you decide if a job search is really your best option.
Prepare for an extended job search.
Experts say that recession-era job searches can last up to twice as long as those that are undertaken in more fortuitous circumstances. If you’ve decided that you’re going to take the plunge, commit yourself to a long-term process – it could take six months or more for you to find the right position.
Test the waters.
If economic woes have left you unwilling to commit to a full-scale job search at this time, consider taking baby steps toward a new career. Even if you have to hang on to your day job for the time being, you could begin the process by taking a part-time, evening, or weekend position somewhere else. If you’re considering trying out a new field, start by taking a class, seeking out a knowledgeable mentor, or offering to volunteer or intern. That way, you’ll have a chance to explore your options without exposing yourself to the risk of a job switch.
If you decide to embark on a job search during difficult economic times, make sure you take the plunge with your eyes wide open. The challenges you’ll face will be considerable, but the rewards may be even greater!