Time to Look for a New Job (Even If You’re Not Looking)

It's mid-March and, aside from brackets, the thing on many accountants' minds is finding a new job.

This is especially true if you're still in public accounting and you've just survived a brutal busy season. If you're considering a move and talking about it with someone at your firm, it's likely (s)he will try to convince you to stick around until performance reviews are completed. You know, just in case your next raise and bonus changes your mind.

Don't let these people dissuade you. The chances of your next raise or bonus being a life-changing amount of money is nil. The prospect of a promotion is even more tempting. Even if you're up for one, don't stop looking. A new title or office isn't going to make you happy.

NO, IT'S NOT.

Now, I'm not suggesting you leave your current gig for any old job, but don't NOT look for a job just because you might be getting a promotion or a raise in the next 3-6 months. Companies use raises/bonuses/promotions to manipulate people who are unsure about what they want out of an employer. If you're unhappy at your current job, no amount of money or an empty title will change that.  

I'm thinking about all this because Alan Henry wrote an excellent post at Lifehacker today, reminding everyone that their employer is not a friend. It seems obvious, but there are good points to keep in mind (including why you can't trust HR) but my favorite suggestion is to "keep a job offer in your back pocket":

Several years ago, at a cliché "motivational event", I listened to a forgettable personality explain how we should stay driven to succeed—you know, the standard "rah rah work harder" kind of stuff. One thing stood out, however: In his time as a manager, he found that employees with another job offer in their pockets were the ones that did the best work. They were the ones most satisfied, most assertive, and happiest at the end of the day. Why? Simple: They felt wanted. They felt like their skills were in demand, that they had options, and that they had control over their careers. He suggested that all of us do the same. 

Of course, not every employer is going to like that idea, but frankly, it's none of their business. I've worked for companies where managers would pull you aside to "make sure everything is alright" because HR snitched to them when you updated your resume. Those tactics are designed to make you feel like your current job is the only one you'll ever have or good enough for, and to make you fearful of the job market. Don't fall for it. 

Many of you will get pulled aside in the coming weeks and months by superiors who "want to check in." Few of these people will have your best interests in mind.

Sometimes it's easy to know if you're burned out and need to move on. But many people are on the fence about their current situation because they feel a sense of loyalty to the current company and/or the possibility of a raise feels close. If you're unsure, at least put yourself out there by talking to people you trust, try considering other possibilities, or even think about doing something crazy like starting a business or a firm if that's what you want to do. Don't backslide over something as superficial as money.

As the LH article says, this company is not your friend. You do not owe them anything. You owe yourself.  

The Company You Work For Is Not Your Friend [Lifehacker]

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