Like Your Job, But Want More? Maybe Not

Q.  I’m in the fourth year of a great job with a top agency and they like the work I do. But I feel I should make more so I recently interviewed for a job at another firm. Things moved quickly, and I got a job offer with a 20% increase for the same type of job at a less-well-known firm. I didn’t think I was ready to move since this place is like home as it’s my first real job.  But I decided to use the offer as leverage to get a raise from my current agency, which is where I’d like to stay.  I told my boss and he was livid, and he flatly said the agency would not make a counter offer. He immediately accepted my resignation with two weeks notice. I tried to negotiate by saying I wasn’t 100% certain about making the move, but my boss seemed to take it personally. So, next week I start my new job. While the money seems appealing, I’m not certain about the responsibilities and quality of co-workers. My advice to others is to not jump before knowing it’s right.  Hope I didn’t make a mistake. Any advice?

A.  There are many layers to your question, but the most important issue for you now is to focus on making the best of your new opportunity. Don’t look back on what sounds like a poorly executed career/salary discussion with your current employer. The salary bump is extraordinary for a lateral move, so you may have been underpaid or the new employer has a pressing need for your specific talent. Either way, you now need to prepare yourself for success in the new job, and not dwell on what might have been at your former employer.  You actually stayed longer than average for a first job; the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Millennials can be expected to have up to nine different jobs between the ages of 18 and 32.

My advice to all currently employed individuals is to not look for a job unless you truly want or need to leave your current employer. Ideally, employees should work with their bosses to understand what opportunities might exist if they do a good job. That appears to be missing from your situation. It’s often a two-way street–the boss gets busy and doesn’t take the time for such conversations and the employee is afraid to pursue the question. In your situation, you likely surprised your boss with the news of your offer. Approaching him earlier wouldn’t have painted him into a corner requiring immediate action. A former boss of mine made it clear that he never wanted to be surprised, so we over communicated.  When I once considered a move elsewhere, I asked my boss about plans for the department and me specifically. He outlined what he saw happening in the company and how that would affect our function. Importantly, he explained what I needed to do to reach the next level in the organization. He gave me the “road map” for success, and it worked.  I was promoted six months later. Not every boss/employee relationship works this smoothly, however.

Before making a decision to move on, you should make sure it’s the right thing to do. Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research-and-management-consulting firm, offers key points you should consider in the Career Strategies column of Time magazine. The column provides greater detail, but here are the main reasons you should consider moving on:

  • You can move up faster and command a higher salary.
  • You want to change careers altogether.
  • Your relationship with your boss is toxic.
  • Your life situation has changed.

In addition, employees shouldn’t move on too quickly. Dan’s advice:

  • You need to give your employer and job a chance.
  • It looks bad to switch jobs every year.
  • It’s going to be very challenging finding a new job.
  • You will have to rebuild an internal network.

Good luck with your new job. Make sure you maintain open communication with your supervisors, so you know where you stand with regard to your career goals. Most bosses appreciate the initiative, especially if you’re doing a great job.


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