Someone recently asked me whether I helped people get “better” jobs or jobs that made them happier.
My answer was that the two were the same.
Of course, if you were to look at your career from a purely strategic point of view, I could give you four good reasons why it makes sense to change jobs within the same or similar industry three times during your first ten years of employment:
Many people view a job change as a way of promoting themselves to a better position. In most cases, I would agree.
However, you should always be sure your new job offers you the means to satisfy your values. While there’s no denying the strategic virtues of selective job changing for the purpose of career leverage, you want to make sure the path you take will lead you where you really want to go.
For instance, I see no reason to make a job change for more money if it’ll make you unhappy to the point of distraction. Not long ago, I placed a project engineer with a company that offered him a $47,000 a year job. Later, he told me that the same day he agreed to go to work for my client, he’d turned down an offer of $83,200 with another company. The reason? The higher offer was for a consulting position with an aerospace company in Detroit — a job that would have taken him down a road he felt was a dead end.
To me, the “best” job is one in which your values are being satisfied most effectively. If career growth and advancement are your primary goals, and they’re represented by how much you earn, then the job that pays the most money is the “better” job.
Your responsibility when contemplating a change is to evaluate what’s most important to you. Whether you focus on a single aspect of your job (like Pat, Craig, and Neil did), or on the overall nature of the job you’d like to improve…
The more clearly you connect your values with your work, the greater the potential for job satisfaction.