2017 has started off with a bang, bringing more new jobs than I have ever seen in my 21 years! You may be getting calls from multiple recruiters regarding new jobs and asking yourself, “Should I leave my current job for a new one?” We are committed to helping candidates make the right decisions at the right time. There are a couple of questions I would advise you to ask yourself when determining if this is the right time for you to change jobs:
- If you stay in your current position, what else can you do or learn in the coming year? If the answer is that you will be doing 80% or more of the same work, it is time to explore new opportunities that will provide you with new growth experiences. Many professionals have seen an increase in volume of work, but more RFPs or Directory Submissions does not automatically translate to more growth opportunities.
- What kind of firm would you like to work for? Recently I met with two candidates – one said, “I definitely want to work at a smaller, more entrepreneurial firm that is open to ideas and is willing to ‘step outside of the box’”. The other candidate said, “I want to work for a large global firm with lots of infrastructure and resources.” It is important to ask yourself, “How would I describe my ideal firm?”, and “What type of environment would I thrive in?”
- What do you like about your current role, what would you like to do more of, and what would you like to eliminate from your responsibilities because you are no longer challenged? Be realistic – there are certain responsibilities that are inherent to particular roles and come with the turf. Focus on the highest level responsibilities where you feel that you add the maximum value, and explore the roles that would both utilize your talents and allow you to expand your skills.
Asking yourself these kinds of questions will help you determine if this is the right time to consider a move. Once you are ready, I urge you to pay attention to two things as you are considering new opportunities: First, think about the work values that drive you. By this, I mean what kind of work environment motivates you to do your absolute best work? When you thrived in the past, did you have a “hands off” boss or an extremely results oriented one? Did the Firm value innovation or grit more? Second, think about the kind of culture you have thrived in. By culture, I mean “the unwritten rules of how things really get done around here.” Every workplace and school has a culture. For me, I know that I need to be in place that is entrepreneurial and allows for creativity and ownership over projects. While working in law firms, I worked for one establishment where this culture was perpetuated and for another firm where it was not. I made the mistake when I changed jobs in that I assumed all firms would be like the one I thrived in. It was a painful but important lesson when I found out that having a similar job in the same industry does not mean that the cultures are similar. As difficult as this experience was for me in terms of job fit, it made me a more sensitive recruiter to the importance of cultural fit when placing candidates.
To make the best career decisions, start by asking yourself some important questions and by doing some self assessment. You will see much more clearly what job is right for you and when to make a move.