5 Signs That You Should Probably Make a Job Change – Ask HR Bartender

A new survey by CareerBuilder indicates that 21% of workers plan to change jobs in 2014. What’s interesting about this number is that 66% of the people considering a job change say they are dissatisfied with their pay. Which leads us to today’s reader question:

I’ve been doing the same job at my company for 20 years. I’m good at it and regularly receive above average to superior reviews. But things have changed in my life and I need to be paid more. I’ve gone as far as I can go in my department and frankly I’m a little bored and getting burned out.

I’ve interviewed with another department for a job that had growth potential but they hired younger. And I made a discreet informal inquiry in a different department and was dismissed. So my question is…how many more inquiries can I make before I become a sort of ‘joke’ and damage my standing in my department? It’s hard to keep a secret in the workplace. Should I seriously start exploring options outside my company? I’d rather not leave, but I need to find something else. What’s the best way to proceed?

Thanks so much for writing this note. I think we’ve all been in a similar situation at some point in our careers – do I stay or should I go? I wish there was one clear definitive answer. I’m sure you realize there’s not. But there are a few things to consider:

Understand the salary market for your position. While I’m the first one to say that pay isn’t everything, I do understand there are timeswhen pay matters. It’s important to realize when talking about pay that other things like benefits and professional development should be factored into the discussion. Before doing anything, do your homework about the market and your position. Find out what others who do the same or similar job are making then compare that to your existing total compensation package.

Take inventory of your skills. After researching the pay for your position, make sure your skills are current. For example, let’s say I’m a payroll clerk and have been at my job for 20+ years. I might be doing a great job. If I try to find a job with another company, do I have all the right skills? Or do today’s payroll clerks have skills I don’t? Before making a move, make sure your skill set aligns with what employers are currently asking for.

If you’re bored and burned out, chances are the company can see it too. The “bored and burned out” comment in this note really stuck out for me. I’ve known very few people who were burned out and able to successfully fake it. Something always doesn’t seem right. Companies and individuals who are concerned about employee burnout need to figure out ways to boost engagement.

Examine how you can change your job for a better salary. Often, getting a pay increase is associated with doing more or different work. If you know the market for your job and your current skills, spend some time thinking of ways to update your job in a way that will justify getting paid more.

Talk to your manager (maybe). I don’t know this reader’s relationship with their manager but there are managers out there who would be open to this conversation. They might be able to offer suggestions that will lead to making more money. And some people might not want to hear this, but they might also be able to absolutely, positively, undeniably tell you if a pay increase is even a remote possibility. That will let you know quickly what options to explore.




Just because we want more money doesn’t mean we are in a position to get it. Our salary is based upon 3 things: the company’s ability to retain talent at that pay level, the company’s ability to hire talent at that pay level, and the company’s ability to pay. If you want to change your pay, take the “I need more money” piece out of the discussion. Find a way to logically sell your skills compared to what’s happening in the market.


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