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When is it time for a job change?

You can change jobs to get more job satisfaction, a salary increase or more time with the family. But do you need to change jobs because you have been at the same workplace for several years? Get help with what to consider before a job change.

There are many things to consider before changing jobs.

You have to say goodbye to tasks and colleagues that you know and are comfortable with, and there is no guarantee that the grass will be greener on the other side. On the other hand, you risk getting stuck in old routines if you sit in the same position for too many years.

There is rarely one right decision when it comes to a job change, but by asking yourself the right questions, you can become more aware of your choice - regardless of whether you stay in your job or move on to a new one.

Should you change jobs to get more exciting tasks?

If every day you sit and count the hours until you can leave, you should probably just hurry up and find a new job that motivates you.

But for most, it isn't that simple. They have both tasks that they are happy about and boring tasks that just have to be done. If you want to find out whether there is a good balance in your work tasks, you can write them down and categorize them according to whether they give you energy or whether they drain you. A good rule of thumb is that at least 70 percent of your work tasks should give you energy.

If you find it difficult to put a percentage on your work tasks, you can also notice how you feel after a working day. If you throw yourself on the couch exhausted every time it's four in the afternoon, or if you don't have the energy to do anything else on your weekend other than recharge for a new week, it's a warning sign. You can also ask your partner or the people around you how they feel that work affects you and your mood.

If your manager is not receptive to making changes so that you can get a better balance in your work tasks, it is probably time for you to look around for a job where you thrive professionally and personally.

Does it require a job change to get new tasks?

If there is a skewed balance in your work tasks, it may be necessary to change jobs in order to regain the joy of work. But if you are otherwise happy with your colleagues and workplace, you can also talk to your manager about the possibility of new tasks or being placed in another position in the organisation.

In IDA, for example, we see that most members who are promoted to a management position do so in the company where they are already employed. So perhaps it is also possible for you to find new challenges and at the same time stick to the things you enjoy at your workplace.

If you want to ensure that you don't just fall back into the same routines, you can give yourself a deadline of, for example, three or six months. When they have gone, you can take stock and see if your work tasks have actually changed, or if a job change is still necessary.

More pay or a new manager? The cases where a job change may be necessary

The work tasks are of course the most important part of your work, but the framework around them is of great importance for how motivated you are and whether you can succeed in the job. Do you have a good relationship with your manager? Do you have colleagues who support you professionally and socially? Are you satisfied with your salary? And do you feel that your values ​​match those of your employer?

It is far more difficult to change the overall framework at the workplace than it is to get new tasks, and typically the frustrations are about four elements in the work:

  • The work culture: It is difficult to change the culture of an entire workplace. If you are employed in a place where the norm is to work at least 50 hours a week and to answer emails in your spare time, you will probably have to change jobs if your main priority is work-life balance and more time for family or leisure interests.
  • Changes in the company: If your workplace is moving in a direction where you find it difficult to see yourself and your skills, it may be a good idea to look for something else before you get too frustrated. It could be that the management starts to emphasize things that are not motivating for you - that, for example, they have too much focus on earnings than on developing quality products, or that the culture becomes very competitive in a way that you do not thrive in.
  • Your manager: A bad relationship with one's manager is the second most frequent reason why IDA members change jobs. If your relationship is so bad that you are downright unhappy, and if your relationship cannot be improved, the time has come for a job change. However, if you only have minor disagreements, you may be able to approach each other, or you may consider how long you will be with the manager in question. In some workplaces, there is a fixed pattern in which new managers are added every one or two years, and you may be able to wait that long if you are otherwise happy with your work.
  • Your salary: In IDA, it is our experience that most members increase their salary when they change jobs. A job change can therefore be a good strategy if you are dissatisfied with your salary and find it difficult to increase significantly where you are employed. You just have to be aware that very few people find that a high salary in itself is motivating in the long run. At first, you will probably experience the salary increase as recognition, but then you will quickly get used to the new, higher salary level. Therefore, you should preferably also be sure that you also get something else out of the salary increase than a higher salary – for example professional challenges, more flexibility or good social cohesion.

Do you have to change jobs because you have been in the same job for a long time?

If you have been in the same job for many years, you may be worried about whether you are getting stuck. Maybe your family and friends poke you a little and ask if you shouldn't try something new. Or you are worried about whether you are painting yourself into a corner and will find it difficult to find a new job if one day you would like to look for new challenges.

But it is far too simplistic to only look at how many years you have been at the same workplace. Instead, you should consider whether you are still developing professionally and whether your job satisfaction is high. You can easily be at the same workplace for 20 years and continuously try new positions and projects, while on the other hand you may be stuck in your workplace after 1 year because you are overqualified or have been given a very narrow role that you find difficult to develop in.

You therefore don't have to worry too much about what your circle of friends think or what the future may hold. If you enjoy your work and continue to develop, you are probably in the right place, and a possible future employer will only see it as a positive thing that you have continuously developed in your previous job.

Can a job change provide a better balance between your work and private life?

You can assess all the individual elements of your working life, but the most important question you can ask yourself is what kind of life do you want to live?

Everyone wants a high salary, good colleagues, lots of free time and exciting work tasks, but you have to rank what is most important to you. If you want challenging tasks and a high salary, you must also expect that this will lead to higher work pressure and longer working hours. If your most important priorities are that you have time to pick up the children early or pursue your leisure interests, you must, on the other hand, accept that you can get further back in the queue for promotions or the next salary increase.

Your life situation, on the other hand, will change continuously throughout life, and therefore the priorities in your working life may also change. If you have small children, perhaps the most important thing for you is to have flexibility and safe working conditions, and then you can increase the work pressure and try new things at a later stage, when the children are older and more independent.

Can you get a "taste" of your new job before you change jobs?

You can't know in advance what it will be like in a new job, but you can try to do as much research as possible. If you have a particular job in mind, you can contact people who already have that type of position on LinkedIn and ask about their work. In this way, you can get a better impression of the work tasks and the framework for the job.

In some workplaces there is also the option of shadowing, where you follow employees who have the role you are considering switching to. That way, you can get a good insight into what the job entails and you can thus assess whether it is interesting and relevant for you. If you already have a job, it is of course difficult to get things together, but if you have the opportunity to look at the potential workplace in this way, it is the absolute best way to prepare yourself before a job change.

Is a job change risky?

There is always a risk associated with a job change, but it can be higher or lower, depending on how the labour market looks.

If there is high unemployment, it may be sensible to be reluctant, but when there is low unemployment and a high demand for labour, there are good opportunities to switch again, should you be unlucky enough to land in a job that you do not thrive in. You must also remember that it is not without risk to be stuck in a job where you do not develop because your market value decreases.

So if you have been considering a job change for a long time or need new challenges and can see that the labour market is in full swing, the time has come to make your considerations serious. The most important thing is that you are aware of your motivation for doing so, so that you don't just change jobs because everyone else is doing it. Somewhat simplistically, you can also say that you should only change jobs if it is for something you want, so that you don't just change to get away. Then you risk sitting with the exact same considerations a few months into your new job.

If you want to try to save, you can also try to negotiate that you do not have a trial period in your new job and that you have a longer notice of termination than the civil service law's general notice of termination. If you previously had a notice of termination of six months, it is not certain that your new employer will agree to it, but you may be able to negotiate a notice of termination of three months. Of course, the best chance of getting that wish through is if the employer is very keen to hire you, or if you already know each other.

Book a meeting with a career counsellor

If you find it difficult to assess whether the time has come for a job change, you can get help from IDA's career counsellors. As a member, you can book an interview lasting 1 hour and go over your situation and your options.