Throughout my ten-year professional career, I’ve changed jobs four times, and let me tell you, it never gets easier. Making the decision to leave a job is complex and emotional, even if you know it’s the right thing for you and your long-term career goals. It takes a lot of time and thoughtful consideration to determine if finding a new job is the right next step in your career journey.
You may encounter a point in your career where you don’t know what to do when you don’t like your job. Or maybe you know what to do, but you’re finding it challenging to commit to change. Especially in today’s economic environment, leaving a stable income to take a chance on a new opportunity can be scary. It can lead you to question the future of your finances and your career development.
When deciding to leave your current job, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll articulate your job change in an interview with a potential employer. Communicating your skills and knowledge and how they meet the job requirements of a new role is crucial to a successful interview. People leave their jobs for a variety of reasons, and I’m a testament to a few of them. But I believe the common reasons for leaving a job can be summed up in five reasons. Let’s dig in so you can switch jobs or change career paths with clarity and confidence.
5 Reasons For A Job Change
If you’re looking for good reasons for leaving a job, let me start by saying any reason that is the right decision for you is a good reason. I’m a trust-your-gut type of person, especially when it comes to major life decisions like changing jobs. Only you know what’s best for you, your goals, your finances, your personal life, and your career journey. So if you’re struggling to find clarity, try to tune out the noise and focus on what’s best for you. What’s important is that you identify your motivation behind wanting to make a change to ensure you find what you’re looking for in your next role. Here are five reasons for a job change that may resonate with you.
You desire career advancement.
Advancing in your career is a common reason people change jobs. Perhaps you’re stagnant in your current role, and after exploring internally, you learn there is limited or no opportunity for growth, so you turn externally. If you want to land a promotion and know it’s not within your reach in your current work environment, you may be forced to look elsewhere. Your career growth is your responsibility, so seeking more chances to help you achieve your goals is a completely understandable reason to change jobs.
Keep in mind career advancement can come in a few different shapes and sizes. It can look like growing in your current field, a desire to change careers or industries, becoming a manager or landing a promotion, more professional development opportunities, or even gaining responsibilities more aligned with your interests and goals.
You’re seeking a more competitive total compensation package.
While our careers can provide fulfillment to our lives, at the end of the day, their essential responsibility is to support our livelihood. By bringing home a paycheck, we can fill our pantries and our bank accounts. A common motivator to changing companies or job roles is money, and more specifically, a total compensation package. A total compensation package includes all of the payments and benefits provided by an employer, like your salary, health insurance, 401(k) match, vacation time, parental leave, wellness stipends, and more.
When considering a career move, it’s valuable to take into consideration everything your current employer provides and what a potential employer may be able to offer you that’s above and beyond. Leaving your current company to take a new role elsewhere can be a way to secure an increase in total compensation in the way that’s most beneficial to you, whether that’s a higher salary or more time off to enjoy your life outside of work.
You want a working environment that better suits your needs or values.
Finding a job that fits the life you want to live can be, well, life-changing. This will look different for everyone, but the first that comes to mind is finding a job that suits your desired work-life balance. But it can also look like more flexibility in a role or working hours, getting out of a toxic work environment, working for a purpose-driven organization whose values align with yours, or finding a supportive work culture that provides you with more recognition than you currently have.
You don’t even have to be in a bad situation to want to make a change. Sometimes you’re in a good job at a good company, and a great role at a great company comes along. There is no right or wrong, only what’s right for you. Life is too short to work at a job that doesn’t check all (or realistically most) of the boxes on your ideal career list.
You’re given an unexpected opportunity.
Sometimes the decision to make a job change isn’t yours at all. I’m talking about layoffs. If you’ve already been googling how to quit from a job, but your company beat you to the punch and let you go for reasons beyond your control, this might be the sign you’ve been looking for. The saying rejection is just redirection definitely applies here, but only if you want it to. If you find yourself without a job or income and you’re wondering what’s next, use it as a time to evaluate your needs and wants so you can find the next best fit for you.
On the other hand, maybe you aren’t disappointed with your current job or even looking to leave, but a recruiter with an opportunity you just can’t say no to works their way into your inbox. If this new, unexpected opportunity feels like the right step for you to take, that’s reason enough alone to seek a job change.
You have personal reasons completely unrelated to work.
While we spend a lot of time at work throughout our lifetimes, it’s only a piece of our life. Outside of work, we are so much more than employees. We are partners, family members, friends, caregivers, and volunteers, among other amazing roles. We also have interests and needs that work alone cannot fulfill. You might find yourself in a season of life where work takes a back seat because you have other more pressing priorities, like taking care of a family member, focusing on your mental health, or traveling the world. We have to remember to live our lives outside of work and know when it’s time to put our non-work-related needs first. Your specific season of life could be your reason for a job change.
How To Explain Your Reasons For Leaving A Job
After you decide to leave a job, the next step is to understand how you’ll communicate your change to everyone else, especially a potential employer. Once you’ve found a job description you love, applied for the role, and landed an interview, it’s time to practice how to answer interview questions, one of those being why you are leaving your current position. Interviewers like to ask this question to understand your motivations and to get an idea of your future goals. How you respond also helps them get a feel if you’re a right fit for the position. They want to hear you respond professionally and honestly, and here are three ways you can do just that.
Be Clear and Direct.
Be transparent in your response within reason. Maybe don’t say you hate your current manager or coworkers. It’s not becoming to badmouth your previous places of work. A potential employer might think that if you’re openly saying that to an interviewer you just met, who’s to say you won’t turn around and say that about your next employer? While you don’t need to share all the dirty details, be as clear and direct as you can to establish a level of trust and honest communication.
Keep Your Response Short.
You don’t need to provide the entire saga of why and how you’ve landed at the decision to change jobs. Keep your response short, sweet, and to the point. There’s no need to provide extra details unless you’re asked to elaborate. Your desire for career growth or to work for a company whose values align with yours is reason enough. Practice saying it out loud to help you add clarity and confidence to your response.
While you don’t want to sugarcoat your response, adding a bit of positivity can help add a sweet spin to your interview. Find the positive in the situation and focus on that instead of only sharing the negative reasons you’re looking for a new role. For example, don’t speak poorly of your current employer if you’re in a toxic work environment. Instead, focus your conversation on how excited you are about the prospect of working for a company with a great reputation and culture that could benefit from the skills and knowledge you can bring to the table.
Remember, a job change is just that: change. From one fellow career changer to another, It can be scary and difficult, but there is also something beautiful waiting for you on the other side if that’s the path you choose to take.
Source: Cosmo Politian