A Path Less Traveled II

There was a time, a little more than a decade ago, when I believed that job loyalty meant job security. This was something my parents had instilled in me, as they worked for IBM for 30 years and retired happily. However, in today’s world of companies things have changed. Loyalty is rewarded with over barring job responsibilities, pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs. If you’re lucky, or very competent, you’ll hopefully only have to deal with the first two or three of that string of events.

Many companies, since about 2008, have been issuing salary freezes, reducing worker pay or compensation and if you’re in the technology industry you’re more than likely not being given a chance to train in new skill sets, short of taking on several other responsibilities from the departments “restructuring of resources”.

So how do you know if your job sucks? Your job probably sucks if you can say yes to two or more of the following (and you have been getting great reviews, such as 4/5 or 9/10 on performance evaluations):

  • You didn’t receive a pay increase, or received less than 4% this past year
  • Others in your department have left or been laid off, but the company hasn’t hired anyone to fill their role and instead delegated the tasks to you or others
  • You have taken on new responsibilities, but not been compensated for it, through either employer paid training, salary increase, bonus or title change
  • You’ve been working for the same company for over three years and not been promoted or given an opportunity to advance
  • You’ve been working for the same company for over two years and they will not pay for any training or education in your field (assuming you are not a contractor)
  • Work and life balance is starting to become unbalanced with sixty or more hours a week worked

If you’re experiencing more than one of the above, chances are you should start looking to jump ship. There is no reason to stay with a company that isn’t as invested in you as you are in them. The employer and employee relationship should be treated just like any other relationship; you’re both in it to gain something from the other and help each other grow.

So what do you do when you’re stuck? Don’t be afraid to move on.

In 2009 when I was unhappy with my current work environment and the state I was living in, I quit my job, packed up my stuff, moved and got a new job. But maybe you don’t have that confidence, it’s ok, quitting and moving states isn’t for everyone, and it won’t always work out. Another option that I’ve used and suggest is to keep your online profiles updated, at least update them every three months if you’re not generating enough response. I currently get between two to four calls a week from recruiters as well as several emails throughout the week. It’s a good ego boost and it helps to gauge your position’s salary range.

Eventually you’ll get a few you like, you’ll apply, hopefully then interview and if offered, you bounce out. But again, don’t’ be afraid to quit your job for a better offer. Even if you know it’ll only be a temporary move until you find something even better, you don’t have to settle for doing something you don’t like or being overburdened and underpaid with no advancement opportunities.

Get out and get ahead. You can always roll over your 401k to the next company, or just keep an IRA.

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