Career crossroads: 10 topics to consider before changing jobs

With the year-end looming, many of us are assessing our career prospects and considering whether this may be an appropriate time for a job change. You may feel stifled in your current position, reluctant to return to the office after working from home, or fed up with difficult work relationships and micro-managers. Perhaps you’re ready for new challenges and opportunities to earn more, upskill, and build your professional network.

Changing jobs is a major decision, however. Its impact goes far beyond the workplace and the lure of a higher salary, notes JustMoney.co.za, a site that helps educate South Africans to make good money choices.

Before quitting your job, do your homework and consider factors such as your prospective new employer’s work benefits, potential workload, and skills development opportunities, says Shafeeka Anthony, marketing manager at JustMoney.co.za.“You may be enticed by a higher salary, but keep in mind that this could entail moving into a higher tax bracket, a longer commute, or less downtime with family and friends,” she says. “It’s vital to consider multiple factors before giving notice.”

Read a JustMoney article on navigating a midlife career change.

JustMoney offers the following 10 tips to consider before resigning:

  1. Timing: Instead of a job change, you may need a holiday to regain perspective. Identify the reasons for your dissatisfaction, and make a decision when you feel relaxed and refreshed.
  2. Goals: Consider your long-term personal and career goals, and determine if the new job aligns with these. Consult a mentor or trusted adviser to make an informed decision.
  3. Current contract: Review the fine print in your current job contract. Take into account restrictions such as restraint-of-trade agreements barring you from working for a competing company, or with current customers, for a set period.
  4. Company benefits: Review the overall compensation package on offer, including medical aid, retirement benefits, bonuses, company shares, and perks such as an in-house gym. It’s advisable to consult a financial planner when making this assessment.
  5. Corporate culture: Research your prospective employer’s culture. Search for information on the company website, read media articles, and check social media reviews.
  6. Tax implications: Consult a tax professional to ensure you’re up to date with tax laws, particularly if you’re considering moving overseas. 
  7. Work-life balance: Evaluate the expected workload and work hours. Will longer hours and extensive travel affect your personal life?
  8. Professional development: What new skills and experiences do you stand to gain? Does the company fund or reimburse further studies?
  9. Job security: How stable is the new company and the sector in which it operates?
  10. Emergency fund: Ensure you can cover your living expenses for at least three months. You may incur unexpected costs in a new job, it may not meet your expectations, or you could be retrenched.

JustMoney.co.za is a trusted voice within the personal finance sector. The JustMoney website offers articles, money management tools, and competitive financial products and services. More than 250,000 South Africans subscribe to the newsletter to stay informed and become financially savvy. Find the website here.