Even in these difficult economic times, a lot of professionals still would like to find a new job or strike out solo and put up their own shingle.
I know. Like most entrepreneurs, prior to starting my own coaching and training company I had a 9-5 (or in my case, a 10-6).
Fortunately, unlike a lot of employees who – out of economic need, fear, or a combo of the two – stay longer than they would like, I left my company prior to losing my ability to be a top performer.
It’s important to know when it’s time to find a new job.
For I firmly believe, whatever reasons for leaving a job you have, the way you walk away from your company is the way you will show up to a new one – especially if it’s your own, brand-spankin’ new business.
To prevent yourself from staying too long at your current employer or leaving before you are truly prepared to go, I recommend considering these top two points. If you can confidently say “yes” to both of them, most likely you are ready to move on. Just as importantly, you will be able to do it with integrity – before the discomfort of staying outweighs the discomfort of leaving.
Have you accomplished everything you set out to achieve in your existing role?
It’s important both for your own sense of achievement and if you want your employer to recommend you to prospective employers in the future that you have lived up to professional expectations.
A subset to this consideration is, have you taken advantage of all the learning and growth your company is offering? While you may find your day-to-day tasks tedious after your first six-months or year, participating in an employer-sponsored leadership program or stretch assignment may be enough for you to hit your “refresh” button and get re-engaged.
Are you financially prepared to make a move?
Even if you are leaving your current employer for another company and you are going to be receiving a pay raise, make sure you know how long it will be until you receive your first paycheck. Some companies will not issue a new employee his/her first paycheck during the first pay period. If this is the case, you will want to save some extra money so you don’t get yourself into a bind.
If you are planning to walk away from your company to launch your own business or to freelance, it’s important to have between nine months up to one year’s worth of expenses saved. While this might seem unimaginable if you are barely saving currently, you can begin turning your vision into a reality by starting your business as what Life After College author, Jenny Blake, refers to as “a side hustle.”
Then, not only do you give yourself time to grow your business to a point where it can sustain you. You also give yourself extra money for when you do finally make the leap to free agent.
If and when you make the choice to move on, take the time to end your current role with your company with the right kind of bang. Successfully closeout any projects you’ve been working on, set up your predecessor to be successful, and most importantly, sow the seeds to continue to build the relationships you have developed with your colleagues and clients.
You never know when you might be working together again.
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