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By: Dr. John T. Self

Should I Change Jobs?

Q. I'm getting frustrated with my current job. There's opportunity for me to advance in this company but I don't know how long I can wait. I've quietly floated some resumes out there, and I think I have an excellent shot at a similar job with a competitor. What do you think I should do?

- [name withheld], General Manager, [company withheld], Buffalo, New York

A. Whether you are accepting a transfer or changing companies, you should answer these three questions before you make any decision:

1) Is this change better for my overall career goals?
Do not change for the sake of change alone. If it is strictly a lateral move, how it will advance your career? If it doesn?t take you one step closer to reaching your career goals, it's probably better to bypass the opportunity.

2) Is this new company really as good as I think, or am I just making it appear better because I am so miserable in my current job?
If you're frustrated, it's easy to make the terrible mistake of ignoring warning signs about your new job. You may even convince yourself that any problems you see in the new job can't be any worse than your current one. But going from one bad job to another a bad job just sets you up for a quick resignation.

Think about how this would adversely effective your resume; It not only makes it look like you bolt at the first sign of trouble, it raises questions about your ability to make decisions. It's better to suffer through your current job a little longer while you wait for a better prospect than to quit and be miserable elsewhere.

3)Do I have a "good feeling" about this opportunity?
Don't discount your "gut instincts". Sometimes being desperate for a change makes it easy to ignore other warning signs. The change might add up on paper, but it may not "feel right". At the very least, find out why you're feeling that way. Look deeper into the new company by talking to current managers. Listen carefully to what they say ("Every day here is different..."), and consider about what they might be leaving out ("...because our turnover is ridiculous!") Trust your instincts.

If you can honestly answer "yes" to all three questions, then you should feel comfortable about going after a new job.

About the author:  John T. Self is a lecturer at The Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona). Prior to entering academe, Dr. Self spent fifteen years in the restaurant industry. While in the corporate world, he worked for several chains including overseeing six restaurants with sales of over twenty million dollars. He has also owned three independent restaurants. While at Golden Gate University, he started the partnership with Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China and is continuing in that involvement at Cal Poly.

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