Ready to Move Up? You Might Have to Move Out

We all want to move onward and upward.

New job titles, pay raises, increased responsibilities – most of us that are growth minded seek these things out, but they can be hard to find in your existing workplace.

Even if there’s some upward mobility at your current job, the research is pretty clear that people who change companies see bigger raises and bigger “jumps” in title, even if the actual responsibilities of the job don’t change much. It makes perfect sense, too.

If you’ve been at one company for a while, and percentage-based raises are the norm, you’ll eventually stagnate (or close to it). The average raise rate in 2018 was 3.1%, and inflation was 2.44% – which isn’t a whole lot more money in your account. On the other hand, changing jobs means starting over with a new rate/salary, usually one that’s higher than your previous employer offers.

Now, this isn’t to say that you should quit outright, or that money is the only factor that determines a worthwhile job. You don’t have to chase more money with another company if you’re happy where you are. Understand, though, that if you feel the need to make more, to move up the ranks, to take on new titles and responsibilities, your best bet is to look elsewhere.

Long gone are the days where people were expected to work a 30-year career for the same business. Today, many people are changing companies every 2 or 3 years. What used to be a blight on resumes is now common – with a whole list of companies and titles, and people proud of the breadth of their experience. Employers are seeing this as the new norm, with more and more companies expecting both diverse work history and higher rates of turnover.  

So, if you want to move up, you might have to move on – plenty of others are. 

Loyalty and stability are important, sure, but when a job is no longer serving your career or your other life goals, it’s okay to make a move to the next thing. We’re all changing and growing all the time, and our careers should be too. Waiting for promotions that never happen, settling for minimal wage increases, or fighting against ceilings of opportunity are ultimately a waste of time and potential.

It’s hard to know exactly when to move on, and big changes can be scary – especially when they involve your livelihood. This, however, is yet another area where your intuitions and reflections can help show you the best path for you. Know that making more money and taking the next step in your career path will likely require a move to a new company, and carefully consider if that is the right choice. It’s all about how ready you are to move upward – and only you can truly know the answer to that.

Weigh the stability and fulfillment of your current work against the prospect of higher pay and more clout. Similarly, weigh the anxiety and transition time of starting a new job against your level of satisfaction re staying where you are. If you’re ready to move on, you’ll find it in your own reflections.

The data doesn’t lie. Changing jobs is often more lucrative than staying put. There’s likely more opportunity in going somewhere new, but you have to decide when you’re ready to make the move.