After a long day at work, you finally get in your car only to find yourself starting to drift off into thinking how amazing your life may be at a new job. Maybe it’s more money. Or a less demanding boss. Or less politics and drama. And although it’s tempting to daydream about making a job change, when do you actually pull the plug and decide to start actively searching for a new job? And if you do get a new job offer, should you really jump ship?

There are a lot of different factors to consider, and although no job is permanent, it is still a stepping stone in your professional journey and should be handled as such.

We’ve all heard how Millennials are the ones not to get tied down and are more willing to job-hop (which is loosely defined as changing companies after 2 years or less). Gallup research supports this when it states 60% of Millennials are currently open to a new job opportunity and 21% reported switching jobs within the past year (compared to only 7% of non-Millennial generations). This moving around is said to cost the US economy more than $30 billion a year. (1)

So what is causing so much movement in the job space? Although every situation is different, one survey noted the following top reasons people were looking for a new job in 2018: (2)

  • 33%: I’m bored, need a new challenge
  • 24%: culture doesn’t fit with me/my values
  • 21%: I have either lost my job or expect that I will
  • 19%: higher salary
  • 3%: company politics

Whether these reasons directly or indirectly fit your situation, there are several factors to consider as you think about making a potential job move. Especially since this decision can be as much (or more) emotional as it is logical, by carefully weighing your decisions, it can only help ensure you’re making the best choice for all the right reasons.

In that spirit, here are 10 questions to ask yourself as you begin the job hunt. It is recommended to take some quiet time to thoroughly think these through and write down your answers. Some of the insights that come out of this exercise may actually surprise you, but could be a key piece to finding your happiness and fulfillment early on in your professional journey:

  1. Why are you considering a new job? This question will help uncover if you had a bad day/week/month at work or if you’re looking for more of a career advancement opportunity. There could be several reasons you’re thinking of a move -- write it all down.
  2. What do you like or enjoy about your current job? Whether it’s tasks, projects, people or your work environment, think through the specific elements of your current job that bring you joy or fulfillment.
  3. What do you dislike or what causes you frustration in your current job? Now think through the other side of the equation of what drives you up the wall. Perhaps it’s a particular job task or meeting you dread each week or the company structure isn’t aligned to your vision.
  4. Now think back to your previous jobs – what did you like? Next open up your mind to historical lane and answer the same questions based on your past jobs. It’s interesting to note that sometimes what brought you joy or frustration when you were at that job can be different when you think back after some time has passed.
  5. What did you dislike in your previous jobs?
  6. In the workplace, when do you feel most accomplished? Feeling accomplished can come in many shapes and sizes. Whether it’s your boss showing appreciation for your hard work, completing a high visibility project or having the ability to finish your to-do list each day, what helps you feel complete in your work?
  7. Additionally, what motivates you? Motivation is slightly different than above in that it’s what drives our behavior and ambitions. This could be the potential to make more money, feeling a part of the larger team or growth potential at the company.
  8. Make a list of your skills and any gaps you wish to fill. It’s crazy how difficult it can be to answer a simple question, “what are you good at?” Take some time to write down your skills and things you bring to the table. This can be a good time to also think through anything you wish to learn – perhaps a different skill or learning gap you can have in the back of your mind to fill, whether now or in the future.
  9. What sets you apart from other professionals with similar backgrounds? This one can be tricky, but important. It can include any awards, skills or past successes. It can also be personal – such as a passion, hobby or interest you have that makes you who you are.
  10. What does your professional journey look like? Start writing down your 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year vision. It can (and probably will) change, but having a roadmap of where you’re looking to go can help keep you on, or close to, the right track.

By writing down your answers to these questions, it will give you a guide to reference back as you look for a new job. It will also allow you to continue to build on your current answers – so you can refine and evolve your professional journey and vision, while maintaining a clear roadmap.

If you decide to move forward with your job search, having thought through these answers can also help you answer some common interview questions, such as: “What are your top skills?,” “Give me an example of a project or situation you succeeded at,” or the dreaded “Why are you looking for a new job?” Job hopping can be a smart and strategic stepping stone in your career journey, or it can be the stone that cracks and moves you off course. By doing the necessary preparation before, during and after your job search, you can keep moving forward in the right direction.

ISU Credit Union it always looking for some amazing employees to join our team. Watch for open positions that may interest you!