Recently, I spoke to a job seeker who had been with her company for 13+ years. The Monday Blues started a year ago when there were some major management changes in her organization.
Instead of getting ready to job search when things became stressful and less than fun, she chose to stick it out, HOPING things would change when permanent management moved in.
Last I checked, hope is not a strategy.
And, now this poor woman is facing a 2-hour commute, one way, starting next month because she didn’t get prepared to search until now.
Unfortunately, her story is not unique. I speak to job seekers all the time who are fairly miserable in their job but can’t seem to escape it.
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The Risk Of Staying Too Long
The truth is the longer you stay in a position where you’re not performing at your best, the easier it will be for your employer to get rid of you.
Not only that but the longer you stay in a position where you feel like you are no longer growing and learning, the harder it will be to change because your skills will start to get stale.
Often times what I see is the perfect storm combination of these things. The job seeker tolerated the Monday Blues too long, and then found themselves with a pink slip. Now they have to play catch up just to compete on even ground with their peers.
Look, I get why people stay:
- They fear they won’t find anything else at their level.
- They justify it’s not that bad and decide to wait and get a package.
- They think things will improve with a management change.
In reality, these are just excuses because change is hard. The longer you stay, the more likely it will affect your mental health. Just the other day I spoke to a director of marketing who actually told me he felt demoralized at work.
It’s not just your mental health that suffers either. Your financial health suffers too even if you think you’re being paid fairly.
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The Real Cost of Staying with an Organization too Long
So when you look at the average salary increase when you change jobs it’s 15%. The woman I mentioned earlier was currently at $160K, so that means she lost out on $24K if she had switched jobs a year ago when her Monday Blues started. Heck even if she decided to start looking a year ago and it took her 6 months to land, she would still be $12K ahead.
This is the real cost of staying too long in an organization regardless of the reason you chose to stay at any organization for a long time.
People who switch jobs earned 48% higher annual pay increases in 2018 than those who stay in their jobs (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta/Business Insider).
And, this is not just going to affect people now, it affects the rest of your career because your future raises will be based on your new salary. It’s a little like compounded interest.
As an example, let’s say two colleagues are being paid the same salary of $120,000.
Sue leaves the organization and negotiates a $20,000 increase on her starting salary and a raise of 4 percent every three years.
Sam stays with the organization and only sees a standard 1 percent raise every year.
After just 6 years Sue’s total earnings will be $118,558 more than Sam’s.
That is like getting paid for an extra year of work without actually working the year!
Imagine what will happen to Sue’s salary if she switches again.
Are you now rethinking your “wait it out until it gets better” strategy?
Get Ahead of the Monday Blues
The one thing that is constant in business is change. This is why you should always keep a file of accomplishments so updating your resume is easy. It’s why you should always keep tabs on your network.
When you’re prepared for the change you won’t be making excuses. You’ll be out there investigating other opportunities.