Time is your most precious asset. You can save and spend more money, but the weeks and months of your life just tick forward in one direction.
Your job is where you develop your skills, so you need to know when to hunker down in your job and when to fire up LinkedIn and start looking. Top stock traders say their most important trade decisions are picking the right time to “sell.” The same is true in your career.
The decision to look isn’t easy. You need to balance the danger of inertia with the distraction of always looking for the next best thing.
This article is designed to help you through this critical decision-making process by providing insights on signs to look for, questions to ask yourself, and how hiring companies perceive your moves. At the end, we also provide a link to a tool which will take you through a few questions and assess if it’s your time to move.
5 Signs It’s Time to Move
- Your learning curve has flattened, you feel like you are optimizing more than innovating, and you’re not truly moving the needle.
- Good people are leaving the company, and the culture is deteriorating.
- That opportunity to expand your role or start managing more people has been “next quarter” for a long time now.
- Management does not value or fully understand your role or initiatives.
- Investing another precious year in the same place is starting to feel “riskier” than moving somewhere and tackling new challenges.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Are you continually learning and being challenged in new ways? This includes getting exposed to new channels, tools, tactics, and analyses. Do you have room to pursue new areas that you’ve identified as important to your goals?
- Is someone investing in your learning and career development in a structured way? Do you have managers who give you the direction you need? You should look to avoid both extremes of being micromanaged and having someone completely hands-off.
- Is your channel or function valued? Does leadership and the rest of the org understand and support what you do? Is it important to the business? Is it well resourced? Examples of mismatches include brand marketers at a company driven by quants and engineers or SEO experts at a company just “checking the box” and not understanding the cross-functional commitment SEO entails.
- Are you still passionate about the company’s product and mission?
- How do you feel day-to-day coming in to work? How do you feel when you think about being in your current role in 6-12 months?
- Do you have a meaningful promotion or role change coming up?
- Is your comp competitive for your function and level?
- Is the company on track to meaningful growth or an exit? Are the most talented people who you admire sticking around or leaving?
- Is there a culture fit, and can you “be yourself” where you are?
- What is your overall risk tolerance for making a move? You need to take your broader personal and financial situation into account too.
The above questions help drive a rational evaluation, but it’s ok to give your gut a vote too — it can be a good overall indicator.
How Your Moves Look to the Market
You should focus your thinking around the internal factors above, but we also wanted to give you some perspective on how hiring managers and recruiters view work experience and tenure.
As a specialized marketing recruiting firm, we have a window into how these factors impact hiring decisions for our clients. The market looks with skepticism at someone who changes companies every year or two. Conversely, someone with very long stints at just one or two companies may raise questions around breadth of experience, ambition, and flexibility.
These evaluations aren’t always relevant (or fair), but here are the initial impressions we hear from hiring managers around these two extremes.
How Hiring Managers See Candidates — The 2 Extremes
Long stints at just one or two companies
Switches companies every year or two
You should make this decision for the right reasons. You don’t want inertia, laziness, or tunnel vision in your current role to prevent you from picking your head up and being strategic. On the other hand, you don’t want to be distracted from performing well in your current role because you’re spending too much time looking around. You also shouldn’t jump ship too quickly because of a temporary bad stretch at work or baseless hopes that “the grass is always greener” in a different role.
As a benchmark, 2-3 years is a good standard for each “tour of duty.” After that, the burden of proof shifts to making sure you are still growing in your current role and if you’re not, you might want to consider changing roles within your company or moving somewhere new.
Self Assessment Tool
The RevelOne Time to Move Tool can help you think about your progress. After answering a few pivotal questions about your career trajectory, you will be given a score with actionable advice.
People tell us this tool helped them consider the most important factors in deciding if it was time to make a move.