Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Trade Your Current Employer for a New One

  1. Why am I considering leaving my current company?

There may be one or two, or even many reasons you are dissatisfied at work. Be sure you have elucidated them in your own mind and prioritized them in terms of which ones can you live with and which you can’t.

2. Have I addressed the issues with a superior at my current company, someone who has the authority to remedy the issue(s)?

If your employer hasn’t been made aware of the reasons for your dissatisfaction, they won’t be in a position to change anything. Help them to help you resolve the problems that are bothering you. Don’t leave your current employer without taking this step, especially if the only thing that is motivating you to look elsewhere is your salary. If you feel you are underpaid, say so and give them a chance to compensate you more generously.  Check our article 5 Tips and Strategies For Negotiating Offers or Raises.

3. How do my career path objectives and the timeframe in which I hope to attain them compare at my current employer versus the new opportunity?

How often are promotions available and more importantly, likely, where you work now? Much of the answer to this question may be found in the differences of the two companies business plans.  Companies with growth ojectives will likely offer more advancement potential within a shorter time frame. 

Are you currently recognized for your hard work and accomplishments? Is it worth leaving your current employer if you are only gaining a few months in a higher-ranking position by switching companies, especially when other aspects of the job may not be the same or better? Does the potential employer have a more liberal promotion policy? How do their salary charts compare, rank for rank?

4. What things will I get out of the new opportunity that are not available to me at my current employer?  How important are those things to me?

There are many factors that go into job satisfaction or lack thereof. Consider things like total compensation packages, including bonuses and vacation time. Consider memberships to health clubs, organizations or shopping clubs, medical and dental insurance, and extended education. Lastly, look at day to day practicalities like commuting time to work and/or job sites, and how much, if any, long distance travel is involved. Rank these things in order of priority to you, and compare what you have now to what you’d have if you went with the new employer.

5. How does the culture of my current company differ from what I know or have researched regarding the culture of the new company?  Where will I be a better fit?

Look at things like leadership style, office design, and dress code. What’s their employer brand? Think about how often and under what circumstances employees socialize together, and what the attitude of management is toward these events. What’s required? What’s encouraged? What is frowned upon? Consider the variety of education, training and skill levels each company seeks in its employees, as well as diversity of staff. Does everyone look, act, and think the same?

6. What value do I place on my relationship with my boss(es) and peers? Can I really see myself not working with them daily/weekly if I accept a new position?

Considering how much of your time the heavy civil construction industry demands, it’s no wonder that you may come to think of your coworkers as a second family. Chances are you spend more time with them than anyone else. Do you really enjoy these people, or do you just tolerate them? Do you look forward to seeing them on a regular basis? Do you have a boss who is responsive to your needs and is interested in hearing your ideas? While you will undoubtedly make new friends if you change jobs, it can be difficult to leave old ones behind, especially those that have taken years to cultivate. Rank this among your list of priorities.

7. If I accept the new offer, will I be committed to following through with that commitment in the face of a counter offer?  Add link to “Three Points To Consider Before Entertaining A Counter Offer” article here  If not, what would a counter offer look like that I could not say “no” to?  Does it fix the initial issues that prompted me to look at other opportunities in the first place? Remember, you want to have discussed with your boss any issues/problems that are keeping you from being happy in your current job before you look for a new job. If you have done this and the issues persist, you can feel pretty certain that you aren’t being taken seriously. This means if you say you are leaving to work for another company, any counter offers you receive will probably be last ditch efforts to get you to stay. They won’t be extended, in other words, as appreciation for your service as a member of the team or out of concern for your well-being and job satisfaction. If you go back on your commitment to the new company because your current boss has suddenly “seen the light” and wants to give you everything you ask for, chances are there will be sore feelings on both ends for the foreseeable future.

8. Have I consulted with my mentor or trusted confidants in the industry regarding the career move?  What did they say?

Take advantage of the wisdom and experience of others, some of whom will no doubt have faced the same decision you are now facing. Ask their advice, based on what they experienced, and on what they know of the situation today.

9. What, if any, disruption will the new opportunity bring to my life?

How will it affect my family? Think carefully about the many ways, both big and small, a career move will change your life. (This holds true especially if you are relocating in order to accept a new job opportunity.) Consider whether these changes are for the better or the worse, and prioritize them in terms of impact. Brainstorm with your family members or anyone else whose life will change significantly if you change jobs. Unless you are single with no dependents or close ties to anyone, your decision to stay or leave will affect others.

10. What, if any, economic impacts will the career move involve and is the new offer worth the trade-off?

Will the new position mean a higher salary? A larger or more comprehensive benefits package? What will you be giving up in the process? Conversely, if you are making a lateral transition, or even accepting a lower salary in exchange for fewer working hours, will you be able to manage? In either case, keep in mind that money is but one cog in the wheel of job satisfaction. Look at the big picture and again, prioritize what matters most to you and what changes a potential new job will bring to your career and your life in the long term.

While at face value leaving one job for another might seem like no big deal, the fact is that a lot of thought should go into the decision making process. There are many factors to consider and usually other people as well. Take the time to thoroughly mull over the ten questions above so that you will be making the most informed decision possible, and can feel good about standing behind it. You’ll be glad you did.

Taylor Maurer runs the talent acquisition firm HCRC as senior managing partner. He is a professional heavy civil construction recruiter dedicated to attracting and retaining high quality talent.

Taylor Maurer

Taylor Maurer

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