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Just when you think about making a career change, you do just that: You think about it. It isn’t a quick or easy decision. There are many factors and non-tangibles to consider.

In my coaching calls, common concerns seem to center around job stability and security. Other concerns are: a new company with new colleagues; new daily commute, and, how will the new job or ‘challenge’ really work out?

My recommendations are focused mostly on strategic and best ways to be addressed, i.e., when is the right timing; the overall details of the compensation package, career promotability, and the timeline. Another concern I hear is “Will there be a fallout from leaving a company too soon?” These are all legitimate reasons to consider before you make a career move. So, let’s look at some factors to evaluate a career change and then we will summarize at the end.

It has always been a good practice to evaluate your career options. You may be a little hesitant, but generally speaking, it helps your long term career to make a change. Oftentimes, people tend to get ‘stale’ in the monotony of the everyday work week. In today’s pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries, they are all consolidating at a consistent pace. Let’s break down the obvious concerns and stark reality of making that career change:

1.   Reality of Job Security is Going Away – It used to be the longer you stayed employed with one company, you had ‘job security’. That doesn’t seem to be the norm any longer. The rules have changed – jobs are being outsourced, companies downsize, retirement pensions are eliminated and once the economy fluctuates, upper management feels the need to tighten budgets and headcounts too. These factors govern future decisions we are forced to make. You must be ready to act at any time, and decisive about your choices.

2.   Stay Current with Industry Trends – When we get so busy, we ignore the larger picture at our current company. Priorities can change quickly, and we get buried in projects that have the least impact, unbeknownst to you. But you must stay connected. Know what your boss’s plans are (financial, tactical, and operational priorities). Don’t assume your boss is well-informed enough to keep you ahead of a potential downsizing trend. Take the time to read those internal emails, and set up Google alerts on your own company so you don’t miss any news of new initiatives that could affect your job. If the trees are shaking, it’s time to explore and see what’s out there. If a recruiter calls, definitely listen. You may like what you hear with potential opportunities elsewhere.

3.   More Challenging Future Ahead – If you are like most people, there comes a point in the workplace where a new challenge is warranted. Do you ever keep doing one thing over and over? Unless you are wired to be complacent, it drives you crazy, or makes you uncomfortable to be ‘unchallenged’ and insignificant. Making a lateral move to another company will certainly be acceptable, even if a bump in title is what you originally wanted. Discuss this with your recruiter. They often have some ‘inside tips’ to share that may help you sort out some unanswered questions.

My recommendation is this: As long as total compensation is on the rise, it’s normally a move to seriously consider. Company culture also seems to play an underlying factor in making a career move. Everyone wants to know what it’s like over there, but there’s no real way of knowing until you get there. While it’s true that corporate politics can get ugly, just stay true to your gut and don’t get caught up in water cooler gossip. It could drown you later on, and in most cases, you won’t even realize it until its too late.

We looked at a potpourri of situations and circumstances. The bottom line is to evaluate the current situation, contemplate the factors to make a move, and seek some outside counsel (recruiter, friend, spouse) to gather additional facts you had not thought about. Advice is very important. We may think that we don’t need it, but when it comes to packing up and uprooting habits you are familiar with, you need that help in sorting through the noise.

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