Making a move to another job can be stressful. You may find yourself hiding in an alley outside your office or screaming into your phone at a noisy coffee shop, because these are the only places you can talk in private to a recruiter during work hours. Or perhaps you've been touting a few too many fictitious dentist appointments as an excuse for missing important meetings, so you can go to that grueling 4-hour onsite interview.
Looking for a new job can be very stressful and nerve-wracking, especially as interview processes at tech companies become more and more intense. The take-home projects, the day-long-onsite-interviews, the phone screens - you may just give up. How do you know it's actually the right time to make a move?
I've decided to leave the warm womb of a comfortable job at a big company, and forgo an offer from another large and well-established company where I would certainly thrive, all so I could take a leap to a startup that taps into a personal passion of mine. This is all very scary, but also thrilling... which brings me to the topic of this week's post:
When is it the right time to take the leap into a new job?
When to leave...
1 - You have a unique opportunity
If you have an opportunity that for whatever reason really pulls at your heart strings, and the professional growth and money are also there, it may be time to take a leap, even if you didn't necessarily intend to move. If you're feeling pulled towards a certain opportunity, there's probably a reason.
This was my situation; I'm pursuing a product role at a genomics company - something I literally thought could never happen without moving to California. Even though I was comfortable and working on cool things at my previous company - I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.
2 - You've stopped learning
If you're no longer learning at your current company, then it's time to explore other roles. Tech moves fast, and you should ABL - Always Be Learning. If you love your current company, and they will allow you to move laterally (if moving up isn't an option right now), that is another way to keep your skills fresh.
Side note: If you're looking to learn new skills, check out my Ultimate list of free online classes for product managers.
3 - No upward mobility
This isn't only a problem for those interested in moving up the ladder; the complete lack of upward mobility also means your product or team is remaining static... or possibly shrinking. That's OK for a few years, but if you've been static for 4+ years... it could become an issue.
4 - Talent is leaving
If one super-talented person leaves, that's to be expected. (The best of the best are always sought after.) This could be a lead product manager, a top designer on the team, or an architect that's spearheaded major technical improvements.
However, If all of the talent is leaving in droves... that's a red flag. Find out why they're leaving (chances are you already know), and decide if you should follow suit.
5 - You're vastly underpaid
If you've been at your current company for 4+ years, you may be in a situation where you're not being paid market value. Switching companies is the best way to bring yourself out of that hole. Yes, it's very uncomfortable. But when the recruiters call and ask for salary ranges, ask for market value or slightly above, and use that as an impetus to change companies.
When to stay put...
1 - You're being groomed for promotion
If you've been put on track for promotion, stay put. That is, if you're excited about said promotion!
2 - The company is experiencing growing pains but you still anticipate big growth.
Growing pains are hard, but if you can get through them the rewards can be huge. You may be observing frustrated layoffs or frequent changes in direction. However, If you are able to stick it out, you could land a much larger role within the company as it grows.
3 - You're still learning a ton on a day-to-day basis
If you're still learning a lot (of relevant skills and tech) - then stay put! Knowledge is power... and money.
4 - You love your team
A great team that jives well together is hard to find. (I had the best team at Charter, and I still miss that super cohesive camaraderie.) However, when that great team start to disperse is when you may consider Exploring your options. (See #4 in the 'when to move on' section above!)