A job in hand is worth 2 in the bush
April 23, 2018 4:26 PM   Subscribe

How do I figure out if it's time to move on to a new job? I planned on staying at my current position longer (but not that much longer), and an opportunity has materialized sooner than anticipated...

I work in a small field. I definitely don't love my job (though sometimes I like it), but planned on staying at my current job for a while yet. There I things I don't like about my job, and things I don't like about the industry. Everything I've heard about this potential new job is from a former co-worker.

I tend to think that I'm just generally not happy with the career path, and while some things could be improved at another company, some things are just part of the industry I work in. I dream of picking up and buying a small farm in the midwest. In reality, I'll probably work in this field until I retire. It's a good career path, and there are a lot of benefits, but it doesn't do anything special for me.

Reasons to leave sooner than later:
-The new position supposedly has shorter hours, compared to my current job where it's expected I'll work 45 - 50 hours each week.
-Supposedly it's easier to transfer locations within the region, whereas my current job only has one regional location.
-Supposedly a friendlier, less competitive office.
-I'm not happy at work, and some of this is because of the office I work in.
-Supposedly telecommuting part of the time is no problem.

Reasons to stay where I am:
-How different can the new place really be?
-I know what the game is at my current job and am decent at it.
-I'm expecting a promotion soon, although new job would be comparable.
-Glassdoor and word-of-mouth make it look like I wouldn't get much, if any, of a pay bump.
-I am working on varied and generally interesting projects, and I think the new role would be a little more specialized.

Also keep in mind that while I've read lots of career advice here on the Green, this is my first career job (I have a long work history but floated among a lot of non-career jobs).
posted by Chaussette Fantoche to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Go interview and ask them all those questions. Right now you're just guessing, and you can't make a good decision based on guesses.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:42 PM on April 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

I've had an informational interview and I'm continuing with the process for a formal interview. There's a decent chance this job is mine if I want it. I'm just struggling with figuring out if it's something I would want - I'm not excited about the idea of leaving, but perhaps I should be. I like security more than change, so how do I figure out if it's time for a change when I don't have a huge motivation to leave RTFN?
posted by Chaussette Fantoche at 4:54 PM on April 23, 2018

I know this can be tedious, but make some lists, one of similarities and one of differences, then put + and - next to each one based on whether you think it's a good difference/similarity or a bad one. I think the pay aspect can be a little more in contention if you study up on negotiating, particularly since you have lots of ways to say you don't need to leave your current job (even if you wind up becoming more attracted to the idea). That is, your BATNA is to simply pretend none of this happened.

Lastly, it does sound like it would be something you'd be more excited about if you had found it yourself rather than it popping up as a surprise.
posted by rhizome at 5:00 PM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I mean, you figure out whether you want to move by weighing the benefits vs. the current known situation. What money are they offering? You won't know until they're prepared to make you an offer. Can you telecommute? You really need to ask that of the manager you'd be reporting to. What's the work-life balance like? You really need to ask as many people as you have access to about that, and watch their eyes. (I was once pitched a job with "You can work as much overtime as you want! Why, I get 20 hours of overtime every week, and sometimes 40!" That friend quit within six weeks of this conversation.)

If none of those things sound super appealing once you have details, then there's no real reason to jump at them. "A change is as good as a rest" isn't really true for jobs - switching jobs is a huge stressor even when it's an awesome change, and you need something to make it worth it.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:01 PM on April 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

If you can telecommute 3 days out of 5, you could pick up and buy a 0.5 acre lot just outside of town and work on your farming skills from 6-8:30 AM and 5 - 7 PM!
posted by salvia at 7:10 PM on April 23, 2018

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