A visitor to the site submitted their advice for how to know when it’s time to pursue your next opportunity. Check out this sage advice – and drop a comment with what you would add to the list.
Employment, like life, is cyclical. There are times when you know it’s simply time to go. Here are the top five drivers that have caused me to change employers in the past.
Too many folks get tunnel vision if they work in the same environment for years on end. They only get to experience what that environment and organization have. Because they’ve spent so long in one place, doing things one way, they are less receptive to change. This in turn leads to complacency, unsecured components, and tons of overhead (as in, unwilling to fit in efficiencies). Additionally, the individual does not learn anything new. In the tech world, staying in place means everything else passes you by, and you’ll become obsolete – like your environment. Lean forward. Accept change.
2. The challenge of learning something new
Learning new technologies is both fun and exciting. A job with no challenge is no fun. Case in point, one of the reasons I left one of my positions is because I knew every inch of my network and there was nothing new for me to learn there. Hence, I moved on to something else because I got bored.
3. The desire to move into team lead and leadership positions
This may only apply to me and a percentage of tech professionals out there, but after my skills grew to a certain point, I knew I wanted to lead teams of my peers. This is also because I wanted to (and still want to) pass on my knowledge to the next generation of professionals, and cybersecurity professionals specifically. What good is holding on to knowledge? I think it is a better idea to show others how to do things rather than becoming that single point of failure for an organization. Granted, some see that as job security, however regardless of how skilled ANYONE is, that skill and knowledge will eventually be replaced by others.
This mindset, if others were to believe it it, could greatly reduce the “cybersecurity skills gap” projected in the coming years. I’d like to have my data (and retirement fund) safe and secure when I finally retire –pass your knowledge on instead of trying to “save the day” and you can contribute to better information security overall.
This probably goes without saying: My largest pay jumps and promotions came when I switched positions within my company and when I switched companies. The 1950’s belief that if you stay at a company for half your life, you’ll be “rewarded” with promotions and pay raises now seems antiquated. That era is over, even more so in the technology sector. You are in charge of your own career. You make the moves, you reap the benefits. Companies no longer provide pensions, self-funded retirement benefits, and so on. Private companies can no longer rely on loyalty to keep employees around.
Also, know what you’re worth. This is the biggest mistake I see folks make. Don’t let career changes short change you! If you have an undergrad degree, a few certifications, and 5 years experience, don’t agree to an underpaid salary. And, do not be afraid to negotiate.
5. increased credentials/new skills
When I earned my bachelor’s degree – nearly 15 years into my professional career – I pretty much expected to get promoted or a raise. Nope. Same happened when I got my CISSP. Nope. With both a CISSP and an undergrad degree — and coveted experience — I was still in the same place, doing the same job. How’d I get out of it? Applied for a new job within the company (which got me a significant pay bump). I did the same thing after I earned my masters degree (and received another substantial pay bump). I’m not saying companies don’t care if you have more value to bring to the organization, but in the end it is about the bottom line (profit)and if two people with the same level of experience, degrees, skills, and knowledge qualify for a job, they’ll take the person who will accept the lower pay any day. Plus, they’ll keep you in the same place unless you initiate the move (that is unless you have exceptional leaders who are just as interested in your career growth as you are. Great leaders help their constituents grow and move on to the next challenge).
Again, YOU are in charge of your career. No one else.