when is the right time to leave a company

I can tell from an application when the person is rage-applying. If you’ve been in the workforce a while, you know about the rage-apply, and you’ve probably done it yourself – something has happened in a meeting, or a colleague has annoyed you so much that you see red and start randomly applying for whatever job looks vaguely like something you can do.

Rage is good – it can tell you things. But it’s seldom a long-term strategy and when the work rage has cooled, you often remember all the reasons your current job is actually perfectly fine, work-nemesis notwithstanding. However, if you have an ongoing dissatisfaction with your current role and company, it is worthwhile taking some time to consider if you should make a move.

So how do you know when it’s really time to leave your current company?

There is no right time to change jobs. There’s only the right time for you. Don’t apply for roles in the heat of the moment. Take a breath, enjoy the weekend and on Monday:

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Evaluate your current role, company, and future career aspirations. Do you find the work fulfilling? Does your company value the same things you value? Are you aligned to the company’s direction and future strategy? Are you being challenged, and offered opportunities to learn? On the flip side, do you want to move to a new company where you don’t have “any credits in the bank” and you will need to work extra hard to establish yourself and do you have the desire and energy to do so? Do you like your manager and your team – spending your working day with a good group of people is crucial to our professional wellbeing and levels of engagement? And, crucially, where do you want your career to go – and what’s stopping you getting there?

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Articulate what you want – do you want a similar role in a different organisation? Do you want to manage a team, or climb the corporate hierarchy – or do you want to pivot to something entirely different?  Have you spoken to your manager about your current frustrations and career aspirations – sometimes your employer is shocked to learn how dissatisfied you are and is more than willing to work with you to turn things around for you.

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Consider your current company’s benefits, and your salary. What are you willing to give up changing companies, and is it worth it? Do you think there are redundancies coming that may be worth staying for – it’s important if this is the case that you think about what the potential timeframe is for this, and can you actually stay motivated to wait for it to happen?  Other things like learning and development that is paid for by the company, how far away you are from gaining your long service leave, and policies around family leave are factors that you need to take into consideration, along with the basic hygiene factors of hours, location, and flexibility.

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Know your worth.

You have so much to offer, and when you’re ready, there are many exciting opportunities waiting for you. Consider what your salary expectations are – and are they realistic based on what type of role you are going for.  For example, if you are moving from one industry to another, the pay scale may not be the same – are you able to manage that change? If you are taking on a role with more technical expertise required, are you able to ask for a salary bump from what you are earning in your current role. It pays to do your research and understand not only the industry pay rates but what is happening in the broader economy.

Hopefully the above will help you reflect and evaluate what is the best option for you at this stage of your working life.

Divisional Manager; Financial Services

Elise joined Optimum Consulting Group in early 2023 after a successful and diverse 25-year career in the financial services industry, culminating in the recent position of Chief Operating Officer for an industry super fund. Elise has a deep understanding of the ever-changing and stringently regulated superannuation sector, and strongly proven expertise in organisational transformation. Elise is also a highly proven people leader and has provided effective leadership across diverse superannuation functional lines.

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