Decision Point: Should I move to a new role in my organization OR explore a new company?

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So you’re thinking about leaving your current job, but you’re not sure if you should move to a new role within your current organization or explore a new company all together. The two decisions are based on completely different criteria, though they both circle back to career growth. To know which one is right for you, read on.

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Decision Point A:

You move to a new role in your organization

You like your organization. The culture is great, the organization’s values align with yours, you like your co-workers … so why do you want to leave? It might be that you’re simply not fulfilled. Every job is going to come with duties you’re not crazy about, but if you dread going to work, that’s a problem. If you find that there’s nothing new for you to learn in your current role, then you’ve stagnated, and it’s time to make a change. Would your boss be open to you learning new skills and taking on more responsibility? That’s a great place to start. Upskilling is never a mistake.

But maybe you’ve decided that this role simply isn’t for you. Let’s say you’re working in accounting, but the work you see your colleagues doing in FP&A is fascinating to you (or vice versa). Then it’s time to explore whether moving to a different team might be the answer. If you like (or love) your organization, and they’re open to you making the move within, then that’s a solution worth trying.

Or you might be looking to move up. Perhaps you feel you’re ready for a management position. Again, is there room to do this in your organization? No matter where you work, there are always going to be fewer management positions than entry-level; it’s simple math. But it could be that another division or branch has just the right position for your skills and experience.

If you want to move into a new role with intentionality, first consider what types of roles can grow your skill set, then identify and gravitate toward those that are critical to your company’s success in a changing environment.

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Decision Point B:

You explore a new company

When should you look outside the company for roles? One sure sign is when your current organization is no longer encouraging your growth. If you’ve exhausted all the options for reinvigorating and reinventing your role, then it’s time to move on.

Emmanuel Caprais, group CFO at ITT advised: “If you feel there is a lot of runway at your company for additional responsibility, don’t change. And don’t leave for a title. Early in my career, I remember refusing two or three jobs before leaving the company I was with because they offered more money but not more responsibility. Another time I left and accepted a pay cut because I saw a more exciting long-term opportunity. I am now CFO of that company, and I could not be happier. Understand the critical path to accepting more responsibility.”

Another good reason to explore a new company is if your current one is causing you to develop bad habits. For example, if your workplace is unethical or dishonest, or maybe they subscribe to the “work until you drop” mindset, it could cause you to develop bad habits or poor character traits, in order to survive. It’s not worth it. Move on.

Creating an action plan

If you really need to move on from your job, you know it. That said, given the events of the past two years, generating the energy to look for a new opportunity, whether within your current organization or outside it, might feel daunting. Following are some action steps you can take to help move you forward.

  • Make a list of what is and is not working about your current role. You need to be clear — before you make any move — whether it’s something about the company or your current responsibilities that's not working. And you don’t want to leave behind what you enjoy about your job, so you need to take the time to fully examine that too.
  • Figure out what’s fueling your motivation. Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group, advises us to determine whether our motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. If it’s extrinsic — more money, better title, better benefits — then the “fix” you seek will be short lived. “While positive, these are short-term, and if the job doesn’t represent a long-term career move, job satisfaction will quickly decline and the negative motivators will quickly reappear,” said Adler. If they’re intrinsic — career maximization; you want to do, be or learn more; or you’re passionate about another organization’s mission — then these are strategic core values that can lead to a long-term career move.
  • Get genuine and valuable feedback from those who make promotional decisions in your current company. Moving on without knowing how you stack up — if there are skills you need to acquire, if there’s anything holding you back (personality traits, perceptions, work style) that you need to know about — you’re likely to run into the same obstacles at the next company you go to work for.
  • Get clear about what your values are. If your values don’t align with your current company, it’s best to find one that does. But first, get clear about what those are, e.g., collaboration, work-life balance, corporate community involvement, so you can find the right fit for you, a place where you love coming to work and feel pride in contributing to its mission.
  • Build your network. The majority of opportunities are not listed on any job site. Fostering your professional network is the best way to find the “dream jobs,” and people in your network may have the inside scoop on a company you’re considering joining. Get started by joining a professional association, and attend annual conferences and professional and civic networking events in your area.
    As you navigate your career, look to AFP to identify the key decision points that can shape your future. Check out AFP’s professional tips to help you make the best choice for your career.