What If You Just Walked Away?

How can you make the right choice?

No, the question in the title is not about leaving somebody, but about leaving something.

Every year, clients reach out to me about potential job changes, new career opportunities, and even starting their own business. 

Most every time, my answer is “It depends!”

Realize, it’s hardly ever the money.  Sure, we’re all working because we want to make money, but many times, the questions I field from clients and friends about job changes have very few monetary differences involved.  Yes, maybe this job has an extra $5,000 or that career offers a better 401(k), but most of us move for more intrinsic reasons…

  • The new job seems “better”
  • The commute is shorter
  • The schedule is more appealing

How can you make the right choice?  After all, if you’ve been in that field for any number of years, you likely know about the company that you’re interviewing with.  How can you make the right call?

In my experience, you need to start with real data, not hearsay.  Sure, the recruiter might be filling you with tales of barbeques and Swiss masseuses, but how’s the work really getting done?  Somebody (usually the employee) is going to end up paying for all those benefits, so what’s missing in the equation? 

The real answers lie in actual conversations with the people who work there.  They don’t have any reason to lie to you, so seek them out.  Social media has made it nearly impossible to hide from one another, or simply ask the people you encounter while you’re onsite interviewing. 

“What do you like about working here?”

“What would you change?”

“What didn’t you realize when you were hired?”

“Knowing what you know now, would you come to work here again?”

There are a lot of ways to ask these types of questions, but you need to.  Sooner or later, you’re going to get employees who don’t like the company and they can alert you to things you might not have learned about in an interview, especially if it was over the phone. 

Another great tactic is, believe it or not, to simply ask the interviewer about turnover.  Why are they looking for people?  After all, no company is going to hire because they think they’ll need people in a few months, right? 

Alternately – and this is a touchy subject – you could ask the recruiter to let you speak to people who have left that position.  Sound sketchy?  An employer who is “on the level” wouldn’t usually have a problem with that, although various states might view this in different legal lights. 

Lastly, ask why certain people don’t get the job.  What are their characteristics?  You may realize, through this process of discovery, that the recruiter is describing your skills more than you may have let on in the interview. 

In the end, changing jobs is a very personal decision.  I’ve seen upper-income earners walk away from six-figure careers because the stress and the schedule was too much for them and find fulfillment and real happiness making a fraction of their former salaries.   

One thing is for sure, please, please, please … look before you leap!

All the best-

Jeff Roltgen, Tax Rescue CPA

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