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Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

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Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Susan H. » Thu May 05, 2016 3:11 am

Dear forum,
2 days ago I was contacted by big pharma HR via linkedIn for a lab head position in process research which I am very much interested in. We talked on the phone and I forwarded my CV etc. and references. My drive for a change is not the employer but rather the position. In my current position I do not feel appreciated, I feel like a 2nd class chemist, who is not expected to give scientific input, but rather is in charge of production related tasks (I am currently working as a development chemist in a pilot plant, and although I love the environment, I feel that this position is of low prestige, which bothers me a lot). However, I have been nominated for a job rotation program with production which starts in autumn, and I have accepted. I do like my current employer, but I am not sure if I will get the chance to move to a more prestigious position in the near future. I feel like I get the runaround. Questions: in case the lab head position at the other company becomes realistic, is it wise to change companies, or is it too risky as I would start at 0 in some aspects (like networking within company). Should I put more time in exploring options within my current employer, and how could I do that? Any experiences/comment/advice much appreciated.
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Rich Lemert » Thu May 05, 2016 7:48 am

Either choice you make is going to involve both risks and rewards. The questions you need to answer are which choice provides the greater reward-to-risk ratio, and which fits better with your career goals.

One way you can help clarify the picture is to take two sheets of paper, and draw a line down the middle of each. On the left side of one sheet list all the advantages you can think of for staying with your current company; on the right, list all the disadvantages. Do the same for the other company on the second sheet. You should see some trends develop that may help you decide.

One thing to consider is that if you don't feel your current employer appreciates you now, what evidence do you have that they will appreciate you more after this job rotations program? I'm not saying it won't be a positive development, but you would need to go into it recognizing that your career development is your own responsibility. (How actively have you sought greater responsibility for your current position, for example.)
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Susan H. » Thu May 05, 2016 8:57 am

Thanks a lot Rich for your reply. I haven't actively sought greater responsibility with my current employer because I always felt that it would not be successful. E.g. I even had been discouraged by my boss to pursue the project leader path (which would involve increased responsibility) in the past. However, recently (and unexpectedly) my boss told me I got positive feedback from 2 important people a bit higher up and he somehow encouraged me that anything is possible and that the job rotation will help me in the direction of project leader. I am not sure what to think of all this. It's all not very transparent to me. What also bothers me is that my eduction from a formal point of view is too high for my current job; it would rather fit to the position at the other employer.
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby D.X. » Fri May 06, 2016 2:24 am

Rich Lemert wrote:Either choice you make is going to involve both risks and rewards. The questions you need to answer are which choice provides the greater reward-to-risk ratio, and which fits better with your career goals.

One way you can help clarify the picture is to take two sheets of paper, and draw a line down the middle of each. On the left side of one sheet list all the advantages you can think of for staying with your current company; on the right, list all the disadvantages. Do the same for the other company on the second sheet. You should see some trends develop that may help you decide.

One thing to consider is that if you don't feel your current employer appreciates you now, what evidence do you have that they will appreciate you more after this job rotations program? I'm not saying it won't be a positive development, but you would need to go into it recognizing that your career development is your own responsibility. (How actively have you sought greater responsibility for your current position, for example.)


Hi Susan,

I would like to echo Rich's advise and add from my experiences.

I'm not in the lab but i'm on the Commercial side of pharma. I have switched companies quite often in pursuit of increased responsiblity which have been linked up-grades in title/Level. In General this is the main reason People leave their employers - they generally feel they are ready for the next step but the employer may have a differentiated view.

Rich mentioned you are responsible for your own career so I won't go there.

In one Situation I was in, I was ready to make a move to another function/increased responsibility but my employer was not receptive, i.e. they felt I was not ready. I did get an offer from another Company to make that move, resulting in a Counter offer to put me on a "development path" to that function with no promises (the offered Training and rotations)- in my case well - I had the offer in Hand where I could have what I wanted tomorrow vs. have the "possiblity" to have what they offered after a period of time. Like you I felt the "development path" was nice, but merky, and I was ready for the next challenge now, and not later.

Yet in another, i look for opps within my Company and I was able to secure what I wanted via that developmental path. For now its good for me.

In today's world it is quite normal and accepted for Folks to rise in career with switching employers as part of that development mix. The opportunity is that you can get to the next step should an external see you as valuable. Sometimes one can get stagnated at an employer despite the value you bring, and this is quiet common. No, the employer is NOT trying to Keep your spot rather, ist more the Company or more specifically the Management does not see you as a fit for that incrased responsiblity ...yet..so they offer Training.

As Rich say there are risks and opporunity. The good in where you are now is that you'll get some traning without that increase responsiblity - the organization will have some tolerance for your Performance and you'll have the comfort of knowing your landscape while learning. The bad, you don't get what you want now. The opporunity with the external offer is for you to get to the next step now. And a huge upside is that...with any new organization you join, you get to re-invent yourself.

The risk is that you will Need to perform and you will have to learn a new Environment which will have its suprises. This is normal. But..can be very rewarding.

So hope it help- know that its quite normal to jump for career Progression, have no reservations about taking Advantage of such opportunity...in my opinion..go for it. You may learn something about yourself.

DX
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Susan H. » Fri May 06, 2016 4:15 pm

DX, many thanks for these insights, very much appreciated.
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Ana » Mon May 09, 2016 8:33 am

HI Susan,

It is hard to move up within a company. Your direct manager will often have other interests before (his own) so is rarely interested in advancing your career, and somehow the grass is always greener outside and external candidates look better than you. To move up you need to move out. And potentially end up having a counteroffer as DX described or retiring some years down the road to the original company at a much better position (by then you will be external so you will look greener).

If on top of that you already feel you are in a position that is too low for your qualifications then I think it is even more advisable for you to seriously consider moving to the new company if they end up making you that offer. I would say even more, now that the unexpected opportunity has made you reconsider your employment level and satisfaction don’t stop at the current job prospect but look for other opportunities as well. Your job satisfaction cannot depend on random HR people contacting your through linkedin, if this has opened your eyes to the possibility of taking on a lab head position make sure you try to get there either internally or outside by actively working on creating those opportunities.
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Susan H. » Mon May 09, 2016 3:26 pm

Hi Ana,
thanks very much for your reply. I currently spend sleepless nights over this situation. Very good point and well put that I shouldn't leave my future to chance, like a victim. I am too easily distracted, but I am also trying to change this and become focused and calm. However, I feel a bit stressed (a lot of work during day), and I don't want to burn bridges. My current employer really offers a lot from a monetary and social perspective, so I wonder if it is careless to give all this up.
Susan
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Ana » Mon May 09, 2016 4:21 pm

It is only careless if you give that up for a worse job, not for a better job!

Thinking about changing jobs and making decisions about it is always stressful. Uncertainty can indeed keep you up at night and having your brain going around the same thoughts over and over. I don't think there is an easy way to do it. You can worry about the stress of making those decisions or worry about the regret of feeling stuck in a place, pick your poison!

I've gone through periods I wanted to quit my job but stayed. I stayed because thinking about changing jobs made me understand better what I was getting from my job at that time and I decided it was better to stay for some more time and focus on those things that I had identified as the most valuable ones, as opposed to some of the things I was doing until then. In that sense even the times I considered it but stayed helped me progress my career by helping me focus on what was the most valuable. I think what you are going through now can help you whether you get that potential offer and take it, or not get it or take it but look for another job, or choose to stay.

Also, don't take it personal. Employees come and go all the time. Bosses do too. It is not personal.
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby Dustin Levy » Tue May 10, 2016 10:20 pm

Susan,

Here’s some perspective from my career experiences that may be somewhat useful to you. Start out by giving some thought to your focal length, which in this context refers to how far into the future you’re setting your personal and professional goals. Some people are rather visionary and know where they want to be 20+ years into the future, others live more in the moment and don’t even know where they want to be 12 months from now. I’ve tended to operate with a 5 year focal length, meaning that I’ve set specific goals for myself in 5-year cycles (my current goals are due to be met by 2018, tick, tick, tick…).

When opportunities have existed for me to consider switching to another company, I’ve considered two questions. First, would such a change increase my chances of hitting those specific goals that I’ve set? If that answer is a clear yes, then the change is warranted. Hence the importance of setting clear, specific career goals to guide that decision. Without them, you’re taking a shot in the dark. The tricky parts come when you can’t be sure if the change will progress you toward your goals, or other pressures/uncertainties within your current role are causing you to seek a change. So, my second question to ask is “if this new role didn’t meet my expectations, would I still be willing to stick with it for 4 years?”

I offer this question for a few reasons. First, if your resume ends up being a record of changing jobs every 2 years, with no clear advancement, hiring managers will question your commitment and abilities. Second, a lot of the work we do as researchers and managers can take a few years to bear fruit. You might need to put 4 years before the big accomplishments and advancements occur. Finally, in the event that you aren’t presented with another good opportunity for several years, you may be forced to stay content in that company and role for a significant period of time.

I spent 6 ½ years with my first company and turned down two opportunities to leave before deciding to accept the third. All three opportunities were lateral moves in title, and the one I finally accepted was the only where I was reasonably confident that advancement would happen and that I could ride it out for 4 years if advancement didn’t happen.
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Re: Change employer for a better position or advance career with current employer?

Postby D.X. » Wed May 11, 2016 2:39 am

Dustin Levy wrote:
Some people are rather visionary and know where they want to be 20+ years into the future, others live more in the moment and don’t even know where they want to be 12 months from now. I’ve tended to operate with a 5 year focal length, meaning that I’ve set specific goals for myself in 5-year cycles (my current goals are due to be met by 2018, tick, tick, tick…).


From my career experience, I have to say, until now, I've been one of those who live more in the Moment and don't know where I want to be 12 months from now, career wise. Now I have an idea of some direction of my next 12 months, but my 5 year Goal is to stay employed. 7 to 10 year plan - out of corporate, running my own non-pharma, non-corporate Company, where I can fire anyone immediately and without remorse, who dares brings any form of politics into my Business ..he he he. There should be no politics with those who waiting tables anyways. Little joke.

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