Time to Go?
In earlier chapters of the Career Resilience Series we have looked at ways for reviewing and building our career path and resilience. In the remaining set of articles we will explore critical considerations once you’ve decided that it really is time to go. We’ll look at these considerations in three articles, covering three time phases; before you go, as you go and arriving at the new destination.
But before we decide that it’s time to go, let’s take a look at some basic truths about the employment market out there:
- How likely is it that we’ll need to change jobs during our career? In normal course of events, the average tenure in a job is between 4-5 years duration (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). Over a 40 year career, it may be that we will change jobs between 8-10 times. Some of this change may be voluntary (where we decide that it’s time to go) or involuntary (when change is forced upon us). Whichever it is, it’s a pretty common event and the concept of ‘Job for life’ has well and truly gone. Of course, personal circumstances will vary, and some people will stay in one place for decades, but the stats do point to turbulence and change as the growing norm. So, when it’s time to go, it’s worth working any change carefully.
- Change job or career? Every change is a breakpoint in the status quo. It’s an opportunity to review how we’re travelling and how ’right’ current speed and direction are serving us. When it’s time to go, is it time to simply to change the job we’re doing or the make a more radical shift in our career? Oddly, I would suggest that the emotional trials and the practical steps for either type of change are broadly the same, and it’s the simply the scale of change that will be different.
- Internal or External? Our careers will be a blend of internal job changes (within an employing organisation) and external (to a different organisation). Promotions, re-structuring and career opportunities will present themselves throughout our tenure in any given job. Whether or not they mean a change in job title or remuneration, change is still change. Indeed, many of us decide that it’s time to go simply because these internal changes have slowed down or dried up altogether. Job change is how our careers develop and advance. Statistics on internal change are very poorly documented and riddled with definitional problems, so let’s just assume that we’ll experience some of these in our careers and deal with them as they occur. External change is more visible and reflects the statistics shown above. So the question is, in part, “Is it time for a change or time to go?”
- Change is accelerating for Boomers and later: More detailed focus shows that baby boomers (workers born between 1946 and 1964) changed jobs as many as 10 times between 18 and 40 years old alone and that the changes accelerated after that age. But within that, 2006 data suggest that they ‘enjoy’ at least three different whole careers during their working lives (New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, 2006). So increasingly, ‘time to go’ actually means ‘time for radical change’
- Age now matters: We’ve seen lifelong discrimination, based on race, gender and sexual orientation, throughout our working lives and action is increasing to combat it. But the new kid on the discrimination block is age. One survey of people over the age of 60 in America found almost 80% of them reporting having experienced ageism. The incidents they reported included other people making the assumptions like they’re physically impaired or suffer memory loss as a result of their age. More alarmingly, there is the ‘double whammy’ of older workers needing to work longer, yet not receiving any investment in training or development because ‘they’ll be retiring before we see the return on investment’. A study (by Duke University) revealed that the most common type of ageism (31% of respondents) reported being entirely ignored, or not being taken seriously as a result of their age. In these environments, life becomes intolerable in the workplace and older workers decide it’s time to go.
- Who’s hiring? We may be in a corporate career today but will that continue? As of 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that small businesses are the largest employers – in fact, nearly 98 percent of employers are small businesses. Between 2009 and 2011, when the economy took a downturn, small businesses created more than two-thirds of all new jobs. The emergence of small businesses, and the failure of some small businesses, underlie voluntary and involuntary departures, and are accelerating the rate that workers are changing jobs. So, is this the point to consider downscaling employer or even going it alone in our own small business? (On a personal note, about four years ago, I decided that it was time to go and made exactly that change. I founded Epiphanies Life Strategy & Coaching, I became self-employed and I’ve never been happier.)
So now we’ve got a clearer picture of the market out there and we’ve still decided that it’s time to go. Stay tuned for upcoming articles to help plan, prepare and make that change as smoothly as possible. Why not register to this blog and stay connected as the articles come out.
Or maybe you know that you want to move on but would benefit frm some expert advice. What not set up a free consultation with an Epiphanies Coach and talk it through. You’ll come away with some fresh insights and ideas from even this initial chat.