Career development is always there, under the radar. No matter how much you are paid, how happy you are at your current gig, there’s an undercurrent of what else is out there. What other opportunities are waiting for you to open the door and claim it? A few
weeks months back I attended an event called Do I Stay or Do I Go Now? put on by MPLS MadWomen, an organization that “inspires women to pursue their ambitions and achieve professional goals by igniting conversations to bridge the gender gap in the creative community.”
The event was held at the open space of Lakes and Legends, a craft brewery near Loring Park in Minneapolis. They are home to many Minneapolis Craft Market events so I’ve been there a few times. I arrived only a few minutes before the start so I grabbed a drink and sat down to gain insight into my own career path.
Two women, with very different career paths were on the receiving end of questions. Laura Fegley, recently named one of The Most Creative Women in Advertising and current Executive Creative Director at Colle + McVoy, and Corie Barry, EVP and Chief Financial Officer of Best Buy. There are seriously only like 60 female CFOs in the Fortune 500, so it was pretty cool to hear directly from one of them.
Laura has made her career full of job changes, while Corie has been with Best Buy for (if I remember correctly) 17 years. Each found solace in their chosen paths. I guess there really is no right way, just what is right for yourself. Read on for some career considerations I find important in making the decision if you are staying put or if you should find a new opportunity.
Do I stay or do I go now? 4 Considerations for Your Career Path
Making more money
There are many studies that show that an employee who stays at a company longer than two years can make 50% less in lifetime earnings. That’s scary stuff! The average raise in 2017 is 3% (and with inflation at 2.07% for 2016, that’s only a 1% raise!) When it’s possible to gain a 10% raise, or if you are really lucky 20%, staying put doesn’t seem like the best choice. This data makes us tend to think that we have to leave for a new company in order to make more money, and that is partly true — if you don’t ask your current employer in an effective way.
If you don’t want to leave you need to go in armed with your experiences and data. What are the average salaries of your job role? You can use sites like Glassdoor and Payscale.com to find this information. If you find you are underpaid you can use this as leverage to request your salary be brought up to market value. It’s worth the ask so get a little sweaty and do it!
Are your vested in your 401K?
If you do take the leap to a new job, consider what you might be leaving behind with your 401K. You could be leaving behind thousands of dollars. I know this because it happened to me (though it was a deliberate decision to do so). Some company 401Ks have a vesting period, usually around 3 years. Essentially what this means is that you won’t get to keep profit sharing or matched dollars until you’ve been at the company for the vested period.
I left a job after 2.5 years because my boss was a maniac. Seriously, they say you rarely leave a company, you leave a boss. I questioned if I could hang on for another six months, but my mental health was becoming extremely affected and I hated each day. I started looking and when a fabulous opportunity opened up, I swiftly packed my bags. I may have left money on the table, but the move was the right choice for me.
If you are thinking about job hopping, try to avoid losing out on thousands because you left too soon, but know, like in my case, that sometimes it’s worth it. This article discusses several other income considerations when leaving.
Are there plentiful opportunities or is it a dead end?
You need to ask yourself if you are in a job or a career. Be honest with yourself and what your aspirations are. If you are looking for a career, do you have advancement opportunities or other job roles you would be interested in taking on in the future. Sometimes there are no further career roles, but the experience you are gaining will help you leap frog when you move somewhere new. Consider what you are getting from your job role so that you can identify when it’s no longer meeting your expectations.
Let’s not forget to ask, “are you fulfilled?”
Finally, are you happy in your role? It’s hard to check every single box on your ideal job, but being fulfilled, passionate, and excited about going to work each day means something. Personal happiness and mental health means a lot, so even if you aren’t in the most glamorous role don’t discount your position or company if you are happy on a day to day basis.
I’m now coming up on 3 years at my company and starting to think about what’s next. Do I stay and keep gaining valuable experience in my role? Or do I do leave for other opportunities? I’m starting to do some soul searching and will hopefully figure that out soon. But for now, I’m bringing my best self to work and continuing to pursue blogging and party styling opportunities. If I’m completely honest, my 5 year goal is to work for myself full time, and that in and of itself brings some considerations, like making enough money to save away a nest egg, but also having flexibility and not terribly long hours so that I can continue to create for Elva M Design Studio.
Any other considerations you’d like to share for staying or leaving or a job? Comment below!