Career advice for GenXers: is that career move a CLM?

Posted October 13, 2011 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

Ah, the joys of being in a job rut.  You’re sick of your boss, your co-workers are driving you crazy and you could do your job with your eyes closed.  Before you decide to polish off your resume and head off to the next best thing, you may want to pause and evaluate if a job move is the right move… or if what you need instead is a good dose of perspective change.

There’s something to be said for bouncing around from job to job in your twenties and early thirties.  It’s a chance to explore what really interests you; where your strengths and talents lie; and, what type of work you want to do.  Because after all, let’s face it, most of us get unleashed from school with very little clarity about what we’re going to be when we grow up.  So, experimenting in your early career years can be a good thing.  But then something happens.

Once you hit your thirties and early forties, there’s something to be said for leveraging your experience and building a solid track record which may mean sticking it out with one employer.  Now’s the chance to really deepen your experience in order to parlay it into bigger and better options in your later career.  That’s when you’ll (theoretically) be able to get paid the big bucks based on all the expertise you’ve amassed.

The challenge for high achievers is to be able to deal with the inevitable career rut that they find themselves in when the job they’re in starts to get a little predictable.  It’s easy to look for the next big challenge outside the organization.  But is that always the best idea? Here are 4 reasons not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water when it comes to your next career move:

  1. Starting over sucks… sure, there are upsides to starting with a new employer, but the downside of having to learn the ropes in a new culture, establish internal networks and navigate new politics can put you back in kindergarten when you’ve been used to operating like a grad student.
  2. Grass isn’t always greener… every organization has its drawbacks.  By jumping, you may not find yourself in a better situation than your current one… plus you’ll be starting from ground zero as highlighted in point one.
  3. You’ll lose professional equity… you’ve built up a reputation internally and are liked and respected.  This give you leeway when things go wrong.  Now you’ve got to earn that all over again…and you know how long that can take.  Do you have the patience?
  4. The wrong move can mean career suicide… the more senior you get, the harder it is to find roles and one wrong move can derail you for months or, in some cases that I’ve seen, years.

Make sure your next career move is for the right reasons.  When you’re smart and talented, your employer isn’t going to want to lose you.  If you’re bored, think about what you might be able to do to contribute the skills and talents that you want to use more of to your organization.  Career leaping mid-career carries higher stakes and tougher consequences, so take your time and do it right.

Happy leading!

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  1. Very good advice. We can all relate to boredom on the job but the trick is to figure out how to push ourselves forward. It is much easier when you work for a large organization because growth opportunities are more available by just transferring to other departments. Smaller organizations don’t always have that option and outgrowing a job is sometimes inevitable, but being smart about the move and ensuring it is based on logical development steps and not emotion is critical!