Michael Sterling

Four Strategic Reasons for Changing Jobs


Career Lookout: Climbing the Ladder of Success


There are many deeply personal reasons to change your employment situation. However, from a purely tactical point of view, there are four strategic reasons to change jobs within the same (or similar) career field three times during the first ten years of your career:


  1. Broader Experience. Changing jobs gives you a broader base of experience. After about three years, you’ve learned about 90% of how to do your job. Therefore, over a ten-year period, you gain more from learning “3 x 90%” than “1 x 100%” of experience.
  2. Increased Demand. A more varied background creates a greater demand for your skills. Depth of experience means you’re more valuable to a larger number of employers. You’re not only familiar with your current firms’s areas of expertise, service, procedures, programs and systems, etc.; you bring with you all that you’ve gained from your prior employment with other firms.
  3. Promotions. A job change results in an accelerated promotion cycle. Each time you make a change, you bump up a notch on the promotion ladder. You jump, for example, from staff auditor to senior auditor; or tax senior to tax manager.
  4. Bigger Paycheck. More responsibility leads to greater earning power. A promotion is usually accompanied by a salary increase. And since you’re being promoted faster, your salary grows at a quicker pace, sort of like compounding the interest you’d earn on a certificate of deposit.


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Many people view a job change as a way of promoting themselves to a better position. And in most cases, I would agree. However, you should always be sure your new job offers you the means to satisfy your values. While there’s no denying the strategic virtues of selective job changing for the purpose of career leverage, you want to make sure the path you take will lead you where you really want to go.


For instance, there’s no reason to change jobs for more money if it’ll make you unhappy to the point of distraction. In fact, I’ve found that money usually has no influence on a career decision unless it materially affects your lifestyle or self identity. To me, the “best” job is one in which your values are being satisfied most effectively.


Mining for Job Gems


Finding the “best” job is time consuming. Searching for an opportunity that’s the right fit for you can be a full time job in itself.  You must build your brand and clearly define not only your technical skills, but your soft skills as well. You need to network, research and evaluate in order to match your goals, values and personal needs.


There’s an art to climbing the career ladder. It takes strategic skill.  


Add to the mix that tax season leaves little time to sleep, let alone plot a career path, and it makes the effort of moving on and up extremely daunting. This leaves far too many professionals rooted where they are.  


If you’re feeling anchored, but not in a good way, it’s time for a change. Make it a strategic one, and you’ll find firm footing on the next rung of the ladder. 


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