Is Now the Right Time to Switch Jobs?

Is Now the Right Time to Switch Jobs?
Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported widespread employment growth in March with the addition of 916,000 new jobs – led by gains in the leisure and hospitality industry, public and private education, and construction.


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Whether you are a transitioning servicemember or someone considering a career shift in the months leading up to the pandemic only to have your plans disrupted with the uncertainty caused by the current health crisis, you may be once again exploring your career options. Here is a short list of things to consider and the potential trade-offs involved.


1. Determine What You’re Trying to Achieve

This requires some self-reflection. What are your motivations? With the employment outlook improving, are you just looking to get a jump start on the competition to land your new position, or are you feeling bored or stagnant in your current role or just looking for a big change due to the pandemic?


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Understanding who you are and what you would like to do, and why, requires much introspection and consultation with people you trust and respect (and who have successfully made the transition into new career opportunities).


2. Investigate Your Industry

It’s time to do your homework. Research your target companies and talk to your contacts and connections within each field so you can gain a greater understanding of the unique characteristics associated with various industries and sectors. How did they fare during the pandemic – are they struggling, or do the long-term projections look good? Did they furlough and layoff a lot of employees? If yes, have they been called back?


It’s also important to be realistic – do you have the skills, education, credentials, and experience to land the job and then be successful in your new career track?


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3. Know the Trade-Offs

Once again, it’s important to know yourself: Only you can decide whether now is the right time to land a more satisfying position or if the shift may not be worth the risks based upon your unique situation.


For example, are you willing to trade a higher salary for a position you feel passionate about, but with smaller financial reward? Are you ready to trade a high-powered role for one with more work-life balance? Is now the right time to leave an established company for a position in a less-established organization with greater responsibility, or a greater chance for growth and career advancement?


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Making a career shift can always feel a bit daunting, overwhelming and a little scary.  However, by assessing your professional goals, personal priorities, and economic motivators combined with analyzing your choices and potential trade-offs, you can make a sound decision to attain your right employment and career fit even in these unprecedented times.  


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.