SHOULD YOU JUMP?
Todd Dewett | December 3, 2019
In the past, professionals worked for a few companies over the course of a career. Today, increasingly, they work for many – easily ten or more employers in a career. Unfortunately, many of these “jump” decisions are not smart. They are well-intentioned, but not necessarily productive.
There are very real costs associated with making bad jump decisions. If your rationale isn’t thorough enough, you risk landing somewhere with a culture you don’t enjoy, colleagues to whom you can’t relate, work that doesn’t fit as well as you’d imagined, etc. This is now a new situation that propels you to want to make yet another jump.
Wouldn’t you rather work for six or seven firms instead of twelve because you know how make great jump decisions? Okay, in an ideal situation, you only jump from one job to the next when the following conditions are all present.
First, think about duration. You need to be in your current role for a minimum of 18-24 months. Anything less, and you risk making a negative impression (e.g., you’re making an opportunistic jump, you were not committed and loyal to the current role, you will likely not be committed/loyal to the new role, you’re just chasing money).
Next, look at your recent accomplishments. You need at least three big wins in the current role. I’m referring to wins on metrics that are central to success in your role, levels of achievement that are above average or record setting, or wins that are clearly unique and rare. Without these, people might question whether you’re ready to jump.
Then think about “fit.” Fit refers to how well your role aligns with your skills set, interests and goals, and personality. Generally speaking, the stronger the fit, the stronger your success. Be clear, it’s tough to properly assess fit from afar, thus if your assessment is that your fit in the new role is merely similar, there is a risk it is not. To feel confident, you must sense a very clear increase in role fit.
Now think about the scope of your responsibilities. Just like role fit, you want a clear step forward. It might be okay to accept a very similar level of responsibility if all other variables noted here are moving in the right direction, otherwise, be skeptical. The only time it really makes sense to accept less responsibility is when you’re targeting a career change, and entry into a new role or industry requires a little initial humility.
I’ve saved the best for last: money! I understand that you want to earn more. Great. Just understand that accepting more comes with a lot of uncertainty. You don’t really know your new boss, team, or role. How much is it worth to take on those risks? Here’s the rule of thumb: it is not wise to make the jump unless you are receiving a minimum of 20% to 25% more in compensation.
I admit this is an ideal list. If you get four out of five, it’s probably a good decision. Any less and you should likely wait. I know you want to jump! However, there is a goal that is far more important than making a jump: making all of your jumps truly effective and enjoyable. Good luck!