Everything has a life cycle, also your current job. It is unlikely that you will still be in the same company 5 years from now. In addition to that, take care of your resume: you have to dynamize your career and changes are necessary to stay competitive. Recruiters may interpret it as lack of flexibility if you have not changed in a longer time.
Yet like when buying or selling stocks, it is very hard to define the right moment. So when should you leave?
Let’s have a look at the seven phases of the job lifecycle:
- The first weeks in the new company. You have high expectations and feel highly energised. It is so much better here than with your previous employer!
- After 3-10 weeks, first frustrations will come. Mmmhh, not everything is better here, actually some things were even better where you come from…
- Survive phase 2 and during your first year, you will constantly increase your performance and become a proven team member
- In year 2, you will get solid results. By now, you have understood almost all aspects of your job and you perform without much guidance or hesitation
- As of year 3, you will stabilize at a high level. You are able to manage all dimensions of your job, have created a reputation as well as a solid internal and external network. You have achieved the peak of your career in this company, your personal top performance. This phase can last several years though research shows that it is mostly not more than 5 years
- At one point of time, your motivation will decrease, you will get first doubts about your firm’s strategy or you disagree more and more with your boss. You are not as committed as you used to be. You begin thinking about a job change
- The end is near: You feel deeply demotivated, you are tired when getting up in the morning. Maybe you talk bad about your boss or with customers or suppliers. Small things stress you. People notice something is wrong with you. Your demotivation has a negative impact on your private life and your health. You feel worn out.
When you have reached phase 6, it is over: your career will be going downhill from now on. You should recover or leave fast.
Most people leave their company in phase 6 or 7 when their results are declining. This is not the best moment to leave: Most likely you want to look back at your job as a success and be remembered as a top performer or an admired manager. Staying on board through phase 6 will have a negative impact on your behavior and results sooner or later. You are in a downward spiral. And this is a lose-lose situation both for you and your employer.
The best moment to leave is therefore phase 5 when you are at the summit of your performance.
I am a headhunter. So don’t tell me when I call you “Thanks, it is going pretty well for me at the moment so I am not interested! Call me back in one year”. In one year, you are in phase 6 or 7 and your chances to make a real step forward are lower than today!