Research you must do before changing jobs to avoid a disaster

Much of the history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. (Thomas Sowell)

You really don’t want to come back to your old boss and beg to get your job back. Do good job research before you take a new job.  You need to research two areas: Your old job and your new job.

Your old job

List the things that could be changed in your current job to get you to stay. I don’t care how bad it is, enough changes could get you to stay.  Being taken over by another company, a new boss, more money, sales suddenly taking off, a new product, 3 particular people fired, more vacation and any other changes you really want should be on the list.

Be thorough.  Be realistic.

Now go ask for the raise and new title that are on that list. Go to your boss with suggestions that he change the other most important things. If he changes things before you quit, you will want to stay.  If he doesn’t even offer to change things until after he receives your resignation, you’ll know he is insincere.

Your new job

Are you sure what job you really want?  Are you sure?

Start checking the newspaper ads months before you are ready to move.  Put a few “job agents” out in the internet job boards.  Look for the jobs you may be interested in well before you start moving.  Find out what job skills, responsibilities and opportunities are advertised all across the country.

When you see skills or functions you are not doing, see if you can start doing them in your current job.  Volunteer.  Find out if you like the new things you will be doing.  For computer programmers who want to become managers the dropout rate seems to be about 80% going from programmer to team leader to manager.  Programmers usually find that they hate managing.  It is a fact, and it is true for many other jobs.  Do all you can in your current job to explore what the job you want will be like.  You may get lucky and be given the job you want in your current company when they see you volunteering to do parts of it.

Do research on your current job and the job you want. Then if the perfect job is the first one you interview for, you’ll be able to take it immediately with no regrets.

Something to do today

Make that list of things that really could make you happy where you are.  See if you can get your boss to start moving on them.

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Coming up

How to make a quick decision

Company research

The jobs on my resume

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