Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Switching Employers

1) What are my motivations for leaving?

Write down a list of the reasons you are considering switching jobs. There may be one reason or a hundred but make sure you’re clear on why you’re having this urge to leave your current employer. You should then prioritize the reasons, determining which ones are dealbreakers and which ones are less important.

By the end of this exercise, you’ll know whether this idea to trade your employer for a new one is based on gut emotion or if it’s well thought out. If it’s the former, you may reconsider. If it’s the latter, you’ll be able to explain clearly and concisely why you made this decision when challenged by friends, colleagues, or your employer.

2) Have I spoken to an authority about my concerns?

Whatever your reasons for feeling dissatisfied in your current position, you need to discuss it with your superiors. They may be able to make a change to improve your situation, thereby removing the need to change jobs. Try to figure out a solution with your current employer before abandoning them completely.

3) Does the new employer meet my career ambitions?

You’re already ambitious and successful; what does this new opportunity offer? It might seem a good position to be in now but is there any room for growth. You ultimately want to reach the top so choosing to switch employers should facilitate rather than hinder this ambition. Write down the advantages of the new position in terms of promotion potential, salary increases through the ranks, and rapid growth possibilities.

4) What does the new opportunity offer that my current work doesn’t?

Outside of helping you realize your goals, what else can the new company offer? It could be extra employee health benefits, a more generous bonus plan, or increased paid vacation time. An opportunity might look amazing but weigh up all the benefits and compare it to your current position before making a decision. Don’t forget the practicalities. Maybe you want the new job to minimize your commute time. Consider everything.

5) Is the new employer better suited to my personality?

Company culture matters, too. From dress code to office amenities, you may prefer to work in an environment better suited to your personality. Are you an old fashioned business mogul, who wants to work in a well-structured company with strict rules? Or are you a modern tech entrepreneur who prefers to wear a hoodie and take naps halfway through the workday? It can make a huge difference to your life to opt for a company that embraces your work style and personality.

6) Do I want to risk the relationships I’ve built with my current employer?

As a high ranking member of your business, you’ve worked for many years to build up a strong relationship with your current employer. If you leave the company, you could jeopardize this. You’ll know longer have close contact with your boss and they won’t be as willing to help you find new opportunities. In switching jobs, you’ll have to rebuild these relationships with your new colleagues, employees, and superiors. Is it worth losing all your current allies and risking not making new ones that are as loyal?

7) Am I able to commit to the new job?

So you arrive at your new job ready to get to work when a counteroffer comes in from your current employer. How do you react? If you’re willing to consider it, then maybe you shouldn’t have left in the first place. However, you may consider such an offer as a last-ditch attempt to keep you, despite your boss ignoring your concerns previously. If you’re confident there’s nothing your employer can offer to make you stay, then you have no choice but to make the move.

8) What do my mentors and colleagues think of the move?

You didn’t get to your high-ranking position with the wisdom offered by your confidants. These are the people you trust the most so why not ask their advice? They can help you see the bigger picture and view the move from another perspective. Don’t try to succeed alone but use the trusted advice of the people you’ve spent years building loyal relationships with.

9) Have I taken into account the disruption to my life caused by moving jobs?

A job might look perfect in and of itself but it could also cause significant disruption to your life that you haven’t considered. Does the career change involve relocating? If so, that’s a huge burden on your family. It means selling your home and buying a new one. It might require your children to switch schools, disrupting their social life and creating instability. Maybe it means new tax burdens or longer working hours.

Can you justify the disruption to your life? Or maybe the opposite is true and the move actually reduces stress on you and your family. Consider it from all angles.

10) Are there financial benefits to this move?

Finally, you must of course consider the economic consequences. Does the career change mean a pay cut that you can justify? Maybe it’s a job you know you’ll love but if you can’t afford to pay your bills any longer, then it might not be the right decision. When it comes to career and life satisfaction, money matters. Everything about the job might be perfect but the pay cut simply isn’t justifiable. If this is the case, then try to negotiate a higher salary or greater benefits before accepting the offer.

When you are initially faced with the opportunities to switch employers it can be enticing. After all, new ventures are always exciting. However, something that appears to be a good decision at first may have hidden costs. Before making a decision, weigh up all the factors. Make sure you talk through any issues with your current employer first. Then decide whether you can truly justify making the move. At the end of the day, you should feel proud of the decision you made, confident that’s its helped you on your path to success in business.

Taylor Maurer runs the talent acquisition firm HCRC as senior managing partner. He is a professional heavy civil construction recruiter dedicated to attracting and retaining high quality talent.