Look before you leap to a new job

Don't leave just because a chance appears, advises Adam Lawrence

Even though a recovery appears to be in motion, IT professionals considering a job change in 2010 must remain cautious. There are essentially two types of recession: "U"-shaped and "W"-shaped. A U-shaped recession lasts one cycle, and a W-shaped recession is really two recessions back-to-back. Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately gauge which type of recession we are currently dealing with. With this in mind, as you contemplate making a job change in 2010, consider these points: Run to a new job or career, rather than away from the one you have. If you have determined that your current employer cannot offer the career opportunities that you desire and are truly qualified for, then you certainly are justified in exploring other options. If, however, you do have viable career options with your current employer but advancement opportunities have just been delayed because of the recession, consider staying with your current employer and waiting until the economy has shown steady improvement for at least six months. Then re-evaluate. Question the assumption that the grass is greener on the other side. Be cautious: If you're dealing with a recruiter, ask him to tell you what is driving the need to hire. Former employees of a company can also be a rich source of current information if their connections with the company are still intact. Just be prepared to filter through any sour grapes if their employment with the company did not end amicably. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Consider the environment in which you currently work. You have probably built valuable relationships and professional alliances. You have likely figured out how to navigate the environment and "systems" you work within. You know the boss and the politics and you know the routine, which ultimately brings some comfort and sense of stability. In a new company, it could take a long time before you attain the knowledge and comfort level you have in your current position. Taking on a new position in a new company always comes with the risk of the unknown. You need to determine if it's worth it.

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