Original Spanish version published in America Economia (Latam) on August 28, 2016
This is a question that I am frequently asked. I think we should seriously think about changing jobs when we’re no longer happy where we’re working, aren’t on track to fulfilling our medium- and long-term goals, aren’t growing at the pace we want, or feel that we are not recognized or valued as we should be. At the same time, in today’s rapidly changing employment scenario, the idea of staying in a safe and “steady” job may very well be a serious mistake that could slow our development and growth, and perhaps even put our security in jeopardy.
Many people know when their time at their current company is up and they need to go out and find new experiences, knowledge, and challenges, but they’re still afraid to make the decision, or even to consider it. It’s hard to leave your comfort zone and face uncertainty!
Many people feel they are being disloyal even to be thinking about looking for another job and giving priority to their own careers. However, they don’t realize that they’re being disloyal to themselves. Working in a place where we aren’t happy or fulfilled, and where we therefore aren’t giving it our utmost or putting passion into what we’re doing makes us disloyal to ourselves and to those who have hired our services, since they’re not receiving the best from us.
Being loyal to ourselves does not mean that we are being disloyal to the organization contracting our services. Quite the opposite. If we’re doing something that makes us happy and that we’re good at, we will achieve our objectives and goals more easily and happily. Loyalty to oneself is the cornerstone of professional happiness and satisfaction. The idea is to work in a company where we can enjoy what we’re doing and do it willingly and well for the 8, 9, or 10 hours a day that we dedicate to our work. That defines loyalty to oneself, and the path to success and true satisfaction.
Successful people are those with good knowledge of their own abilities, skills, aptitudes, and aspirations, as well as of their strengths and weaknesses, and who define their professional plans based on that knowledge. It is therefore vital to periodically “stop” and reflect on our careers, on whether we are making progress toward our real goals at our current company and in the position we have there, or whether circumstances are taking us in the wrong direction.
If you find that it is time to look for a new job, I recommend that you do it while you still have one. It’s always easier to find a new job while you have one than when you don’t. And, of course, while still giving 100 percent at your current job, which is when we can produce the best references we can.
It is when we face a job change that we realize the importance of our level of employability, and when our continuous effectiveness and competitiveness in our career come into play. By always seeking to improve, learn, and achieve, as well as to add quantifiable value to what we do, we ensure the high value of our personal brand and a permanent demand for our professional services. Increasing our reputation and contacts is also key to facilitating the move to another organization.
Augmenting our employability makes us feel more secure, creates more demand for our services, and therefore helps us secure a new job faster and with greater satisfaction. And nothing generates better personal branding than working with enthusiasm and passion, having good relationships with everyone, and never losing track of what’s happening in our sector, our area of specialization, and the labor market in general.
If you’re employable and looking to change jobs, start by strengthening your network of contacts. Contacts are the primary “sellers” and promoters of our personal brand. Even today, more than 85 percent of people find work through contacts.