Now that the economy is getting better, some workers are more aggressively seeking new jobs. I personally have seen two longtime colleagues turn in their resignations at a major firm just this week. In their cases, they left for better career advancement opportunities, since promotions are few and far between.
Everyone has his or her own reason for leaving a job. Before you accept a new job offer, it’s important to think about why you want to leave your current position, what you desire in a new role, and what might be the drawbacks of quitting. Here are some common mistakes people make:
1. Exit Interview – You’d be surprised how often employees leave a company and then want to come back. It’s happened on several occasions that I’m aware of, sometimes with a span of a few years in between. For this reason, you should be careful what you say during the exit interview. They may ask about why you’re leaving, what you think of your boss, and any factors that influenced your decision to resign. If you insult someone at the firm, word could get around. And that would hurt your chances of returning in the future. It’s best to be positive and just focus on the great opportunity you have elsewhere, even you have the urge to be painfully honest.
2. Not Considering the True Cost/Benefit – Some people don’t consider the big financial picture when leaving a job. For instance, my firm still offers both a pension and 401(k), whereas many other companies don’t offer pensions these days. Those benefits are worth something – it’s real money! At a new job, the salary would have to compensate for that. There are expensive factors, like health care and stock options, that aren’t included in the base salary offer. You need to compare what you’re losing to what you’re gaining.
3. Accepting the Counteroffer – Oftentimes, if you’re a key employee within the firm or if they’re caught off-guard by your resignation, they’ll make a counteroffer to try to get you to stay. It’s almost always a bad move to accept it. Once you’ve made up your mind to leave, your head simply isn’t in the game anymore. Your employers could be trying to get you to stay just long enough for them to hire your replacement. You may also lose out on future promotion opportunities because you’re viewed as not loyal to the company.
4. Non-Financial Problems – I have a few friends that have changed employers and ended up regretting it. One of the most common problems I see is that they take a job with a much longer commute, but don’t intend to move. If a job doesn’t allow telecommuting, you may be tacking on 10 or more hours per week in extra travel time. When you add in the extra time it takes to get used to a new company and culture, you may be working an extra 15 – 20 hours per week! For a small increase in pay, the trade-off might not have been worth it. But they didn’t think it through before they quit.