Has it become safer to quit a secure-but-unsatisfying job in favor of something potentially better?
Generally, yes, as employers are adding about twice as many jobs as they're cutting. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more people have quit jobs this year than lost them through layoffs or firings. Even better, the number of hires has increased about 12%, from 4 million in December to 4.5 million in May.
Despite the hope those numbers might inspire, it's safe to say that happy days are not necessarily here for everyone after two-plus years of recession and millions of lost jobs. The national unemployment rate is still at an alarmingly high 9.5%, and, according to one poll, 70% of Americans believe we're still in a recession.
Many of those who've remained employed amid the layoffs may be in jobs or companies they don't necessarily like, or looking for the right opportunity to advance their careers. But they've been waiting for the economy to improve enough before they make a move.
If that describes you, and you're wondering if the time is right for a job change, here are three questions you must ask yourself:
1) Where do I want to go?
Think about your career goals. Do you want your new job to help pull you toward your "work nirvana," a level of responsibility and contentment that can make you happy for the long run? Or do you just want a job that can deliver you from the soul-sucking hellhole you may be working in today?
2) What about my finances?
Are you looking for more money to help you reach your financial goals? Or does money even matter? Would you take a salary cut in favor of, say, a better health insurance plan or a shorter commute?
3) Is the company culture a better fit?
Do you work in a hard-charging atmosphere but want something more laid back? Or the other way around? Do you think you'd be more compatible with a different boss or colleagues? If you just want to bolt, don't overlook this part because, as the saying goes, "The devil you know may be better than the devil you don't know."
If you can come up with clear answers to these questions and determine that the time is right to look for something new, get your resume in shape and start looking at job postings and contacting your network.
And whatever you decide, good luck!
What other questions should job seekers ask themselves before determining whether to look for a new job? Share them with us below.
Has Fear Driven You to Stay in a Job You Hate?
3-Step Plan to Beat the Competition as Jobs Return
Insider Job Search Tips from HR Professionals
If Job Seekers Can Be Flexible, Why Not Employers?