15 reasons for making a career move

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changing jobs

Due to the current employment trends, life-long loyalty and affiliation to the same employer has become rare. Either the employer or the employee can be looking for a change in the internal structures.

There are many reasons for a change. Some people view things from a human resources point of view: how will such a move show on their CV? How can they explain things in a positive light, still telling the truth and focusing on the positive outcomes of their previous employment? While this is understandable and very important, no one can please everyone. Everyone has qualities, but we do not experience things in the same way. This is why employment decisions, from both the employer’s and the employee’s point of view, come down to personality and corporate culture choices.

Sometimes, the reasons are less important than the motivation to find one’s own place in the job world, professionally and emotionally. Psychological and professional reasons can be strongly linked to one another. Depending on individual tastes and personalities, emotional well-being tends to grow as job satisfaction grows. When one is professionally fulfilled, one tends to be motivated to get out of bed every morning to do one’s dream job or to join one’s dream colleagues, to be appreciated professionally / personally / financially, to enjoy the trust of their superior to take on and learn new tasks and skills, to speak humanly and tactfully with one another, to feel ‘holistic’ not just a ‘number’ in the employee register, to feel at ease and secure with an employer.

Whatever be the main reason for a career move, it does not mean that job hunters do not remember the positive outcomes of working for past employers. The natural need for evolution is normal. We all want to be surrounded by people with whom we share values and work ethics. Here are just a few reasons to consider a career change.

  1. The Market

A thorough understanding of the job market may come in handy, so that job hunters can evaluate what employers in their sector or profession require, what is the average age or whether specific work permits are required, for example. Being ”too old” or “too young” take on a new meaning, in view of the sector or work place. Some prefer very young university graduates to train them in line with corporate goals. Employers may be aware of their high employee turnover, but they have such a good reputation in the market that there are huge queues for replacements. ‘Older’ candidates in their 30s may experience difficulties in working with these companies, without prior work history within the industry.

Family issues, say responsibility for children, can be a major consideration when assessing a career move if the market is unstable. Foreigners are likely to consider their work permit issues (possibilities for renewal, types of work permits available for them, etc.) and their contribution period to be entitled for unemployment allowances.


Professional reasons

Mismatch between one’s professional strengths and the company’s requirements


  1. Job profile-related reasons

It may happen during your career that you do not have enough responsibilities and you become bored. Routine at work can trigger the desire to try something different. In the long term, you can grow out of your current role, as it is not providing you with enough inspiration for your working day. You may observe that your colleagues have had career progression, but you stagnate in yours, even after a long employment period. You may realize that you do not seem to have prospects for a promotion and you cannot expect job openings. To resolve this situation you may want to look for a new challenge.

At times companies have not put corporate guidelines in place to retain employees, with regular positively-focused evaluations and tangible outcomes, job rotation, recognition of their colleagues’ devotedness for quality work, continuous professional development courses, etc. It can also happen that superiors have no time or intention to provide hands-on training and experience to colleagues. It may also happen that their professional experience is not relevant to yours. In certain places, managers become managers due to their leadership and interpersonal skills or their loyalty to the company over the years and not because of their professional experience.

The ever-changing needs of an organisation, such as a change in strategic direction, will result in the need to assess the skill sets of employees. This review can be a clarifying evaluation for both parties, and it may affect the employer’s workload planning. As a result, some may be in charge of too many responsibilities. Some may feel under-appreciated, financially or personally in the workplace. To find balance, they may look for a more suitable job.

  1. Identification with the corporate ethics

Employees may find that they do not share the ethics of the organisation, when confronted with issues such as an impersonal attitude, focus on profit, even practices such as outsourcing to emerging countries with very cheap labour or animal testing in the cosmetics industry. There can be both positive and negative aspects in all companies. Everyone needs to evaluate these aspects for themselves, and not necessary follow others’ values if they feel differently.

A few other points to be considered could be corporate transparency, equal treatment of employees, and improving and keeping up with best practices regarding corporate governance and industry benchmarks.

The above may result in internal conflicts, but even more dangerously, this type of conflict may escalate to company level.

  1. Career Reorientation – midlife revelation

At a certain point in your professional life, usually around your midlife, you want to analyse your experience, what matters to you and what your expectations are for your future career. It may be that you realise that you no longer attribute your ‘dream job’ to the same type now than at the beginning of your career. Tastes, personal aspirations and even your own character may change with time. A review of what motivates you can guide you towards a career reorientation.

  1. Better opportunity

Sometimes, even though you may have just taken up your new position, you get a call with either an interview opportunity or an offer. At other times, you’ve been working in a company for some time when a recruiter or human resources manager might come to you with a more interesting opportunity. You may have to weigh the pros and the cons of accepting a new position: distance between your home and workplace, time spent away from your home and family, future professional growth, reputation of your future employer, financial aspects, etc.

  1. Signing temporary contracts on purpose

A good way of enhancing your career progression is by undertaking short-term contracts with solid companies. As both your employer and agree on the length of the contract, no one is deceived. The employer has the opportunity to work with a person with fresh views, bringing in the understanding of various sectors, companies and ways of achieving the best results. Temporary employees are likely to be highly flexible, adapt to new procedures with ease, and anticipate certain internal issues and tasks based on past experience. Permanent employees, on the other hand, can gain insight from temporary employees, become familiar with different methods of achieving results and learn to work with different personalities. Thus, both parties make the most out this common experience by bringing in a different view on one hand, the experience and working culture on the employer’s side.


  1. Personal or professional issues and conflicts

At work, you may have conflicts with your colleagues, with your boss, or maybe with the company’s clients. Bullying and sexual/moral harassment are workplace issues that can be difficult and inconvenient to address. Providing evidence and proof can be a challenge, especially in a ‘modern environment’, where communication happens on a subtle level.

At times it may take some time to realise what is going on. After a while, you may start questioning yourself and your capacities. You may feel discouraged about looking for another job, and you may have serious stress problems until you take steps to resolve this situation. In some cases, employers may take advantage of employees, cutting down on growth or financial opportunities. These experienced ‘injustices’ can be a demanding and daunting task to learn to digest emotionally and you may decide that your emotional well-being is more important. If it’s not possible to resolve this situation, it might be best to leave the company, before the situation becomes too serious –and before it becomes too difficult to leave with a positive reference.

  1. High work load and becoming a workaholic

Some people, even in high positions, cannot afford to go on holidays, and find it impossible to even imagine taking a holiday. This may be due to the ‘workaholic syndrome’, where an unhealthy focus on results raises expectations and requires more and more work to be done. This type of environment allows only for continuation, not holidays. Opting for your personal well-being and forcing yourself to stop may become the only ‘exit’.

  1. Burnout is another source of anxiety or dissatisfaction.

Burnout, or ‘the consequences of severe stress and high ideals experienced by people working in “helping” professions’, can have a range of symptoms. Burnout is commonly regarded as being the consequence of stressful activities in or outside the job. Three main areas of symptoms are considered to be signs of burnout syndrome:

  • Emotional exhaustion: People affected feel drained and exhausted, overloaded, tired and low, and have low energy. Physical symptoms can include pain or digestive problems.
  • Alienation from (job-related) activities: People affected find their jobs increasingly negative and frustrating. They may develop a cynical attitude towards their work environments and their colleagues. They may, at the same time, increasingly distance themselves emotionally, and disengage themselves from their work.
  • Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout regard their activities very negatively, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and experience a lack of creativity.


  1. Difficulty taking holidays when necessary

Certain companies either do not allow for enough or well-timed holidays because of their corporate structure or branch of activity. This can force employees to plan their holidays in accordance with the organisational guidelines, and that may not always correspond with personal priorities. In this case, it might be better to look for a job in a different company or organization, so that one can have more personal quality time.

Personal reasons

  1. Salary

Sometimes we feel that our efforts and skills are not appreciated enough or our life circumstances change. We sometimes need to respond to these challenges with more financial engagement. Sometimes the job market is favourable to us and offers us better remuneration.

  1. Commuting, location

The distance between our home and our workplace can be important. In general, we want our “second home” to be close to our real home. In addition, the infrastructure around the company may not be ideal, for example, in an industrial park where there are no cafés, restaurants, a food shop or other shops around. Sometimes, simply having a park nearby can be a source of relaxation on breaks. Just like when one is looking for housing, job location is also important to one’s well-being.

  1. Family and professional life balance

Due to the complexity of our lives today, our motivations can overrule decisions purely based on financial aspects. Our family commitments may push us to look for a change in order to be more present for our family members or for ourselves (more free time, more study time, more holidays, etc.).

Mothers often need to be flexible and creative with their time organisation to find solutions for babysitting and arrangement for Wednesdays. If the company cannot offer baby-sitting services or be flexible enough for other solutions, the mother may need to take steps to have a more flexible professional life.

  1. Health issues

At times, it is your health which requires you to think about a different way of living your life. Your knees may need more resting time instead of moving around, or you may need another type of job where you can walk around and not just sit at a desk. You may wish to change for a job where you can socialise more or less (depending on personal tastes) or go into less competitive branches where you are more relaxed.

Perhaps, after an operation, you may experience that you need flexible working hours or part time for a while to let your body fully recover. Your supervisor may want to give you all this but the dynamics of the company may not be suitable to such a flexibility. Generally, companies, superiors and colleagues are understanding and supportive as long as it is a transitory period, but it may become difficult for both to find an optimal solution. In this case, a different job context and employer may be the only solution.

  1. Economic factors and management

Because of the economic crisis, companies may experience low levels of activity. This can be individual activity or branch specific. Noticing the shrinking business at work, employees may take the initiative to reposition themselves in the job market.

Management can also be forced or decide to restructure a company. The new settings may not suit everyone and some positions may be made redundant or may relocate. Relocation and taking on new tasks may be difficult for some colleagues.

Sometimes key management members change, which results in another communication and direction style. The working atmosphere is likely to reflect this. The dynamics of a working team may also be affected by the arrival of a new colleague. These decisions will be welcome by some and not by others. Following one’s intuitive path by the freedom to choose their colleagues and supervisor again, to be with more like-minded people can be exciting.

The company can even decide to close the doors. After some problems, the manager can decide, or is even obliged in some cases, to liquidate the business. While there are certain measures in place to help employers save jobs, all or some of the employees may be forced to find another job.

Is it worth it?

Changing jobs can be stimulating and challenging, requiring lots of determination and commitment. However, the results will show that in many cases we gain something exceptional with this change in the long term. Sometimes what we gain is just the ability to shift perspectives, but this is ability that we can make use of during our full life.





Photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc


  1. Caroline Tully

    Wonderful article Tekla. So well written, relevant and easy to read. It captures many key points which need to be taken into account by anybody considering a career move / change. I have passed the link to ex-colleagues and friends across 5 continents as I think is can be of interest to professional people on different levels and in different fields.

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