Ever left a job you liked to advance your career?

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was considering leaving a position she really loved because she was being recruited for another employer and it would be a big step up in prestige. But it would be a leap into many unknowns, since there was no way for her to be sure she would like the new employer, the new position, etc.

She ended up taking the job.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a similar place. I didn’t take the job. It would be a big jump in salary, and a great stepping stone for my career, but I really love my current position and don’t feel like leaving it yet.

Have you ever had the chance to leave for a big career boost? Did you take it? Why or why not? Are you glad you did/didn’t?

A big career boost (as opposed to just a big jump in salary) is pretty much the* only *reason I’d leave a job I loved.

I’ve done it twice. Both times it was the right decision.

Yes, and take it. I don’t know what the economy or job market will be doing tomorrow. A step up in a career is always a good thing.

Yes. I left a job as the director of the construction division to be the COO of a construction company for twice the salary. Turned out to be a not-so-good move, as I was downsized six months later and out of work for eight months.

My last job was in another state. I enjoyed the work and many of my friends worked in that office. We often hang out, and I was close to my family.

In 2016, I took a new job in another state. The job was at a bigger company with a lot more prestige and resources for what I wanted to accomplish. The downside was I didn’t know many people in this city nor anyone in the office.

Now, in 2018, I’m more than happy with my current position. I’m on a new, saner schedule; my girlfriend and I aren’t doing long distance; and I’ve made some new friends living here.

You spend a third of your day at work. Like many of us, you’re in it for the long haul. If a good opportunity comes along, don’t sleep on it.

Yes. Sadly there are so many unknowns about a new job.

But when I did it, the job had better wages and benefits as well as more hours.

On the negative side, the coworkers weren’t nearly as good.

I’m currently in the process of leaving a job I like (“love” is a strong word that I don’t think I would ever use for a job) for a job that will initially pay a lot less but will be the icing on my career cake. It will see me through to retirement and I will never even contemplate a new job again. I can’t wait!

I left a job I liked to go back to school. It worked out well for me in the long run but it led to a series of bad jobs while I was going to school at night. In the end grad school made me a lot more valuable as a consultant and i was able transition industries during the oil downturn, no one at my old job survived working for the same company in the same place, and now I’m making more money working less.

I wouldn’t have said “love” but I left a job I was content and comfortable in for one a significant further drive away but about 25% more money. As it turned out, my old company went out of business about two months later. Plus I like the culture and general feeling here much more than my old workplace (didn’t hate the last place but didn’t realize it could be so much better either). So an all around win for me… aside from that commute.

Yes, did not take it. It would have involved a move and I love where I live. I don’t want to live anywhere else. One of my biggest fears is that I get down-sized and have to move and I really like it here. I do probably need to start looking for a new job in the area. I’ve been in this position for five years or so and there’s a point at which that will hurt my career.

yes, and it was a huge mistake.

That is great. If I had to take a slight pay cut to be in a position that’ll take me to retirement, I would do it in a heartbeat. That would eliminate a lot of stress, especially in this job market.

If you don’t mind me asking, what is it that you do?

Perhaps, in the the meantime, you could learn a new skill that could be used at another job. That way, if the worst happens, you can find work elsewhere.

What happened?

Yes, I loved my previous job. But 4 years ago I left it to do what I’m doing now and I have no regrets at all. If I had stayed at my old job, I would have eventually advanced, but not at the pace I thought was deserved. As far as compensation goes, it might have taken a decade or more to get where I am now. And although my current job environment is much different, I like it a lot, too.

I was a graduate research assistant while working on my thesis. I job searched for a regular faculty position and took my first professorial job.

“Isn’t that what people normally do?”, you might ask.

Well, my advisor was of the opinion I should continue to be a grad student for a year or two (or more!) longer, just so I could pump out papers under his grant. The advisor knew that there was no replacement for me on the horizon.

This was a thing at the university my prof had come from. People there sometimes got sucked into staying students seemingly forever.

So the choice of staying or going was pretty much mine. Being a grad student was fun and all, and the region was very nice, but it was time to take the next step.

Can you fill us in as to why?

When these situations happen (should I leave my job for a new opportunity) everyone tries to be optimistic and say yes, and only tell positive stories.

Nobody hears the negative stories about how the new job was worse than the old one (less stable, horrible coworkers, terrible boss, company closed down 3 months later, etc).

Mine was weird. I had a boss that was nuts about me as an employee but just would not promote me; indeed, she promoted people over me that I knew she couldn’t stand. I got offered a better job somewhere else and while she lamented my leaving, still no offer of advancement; seeing it was a dead end, I left. About a year later, I returned to a higher job, and continued to advance over the next 20 years; weirdly, to me, my old boss was always my biggest cheerleader as I moved up. She never explained why she wouldn’t promote me, but I’d never have gotten anywhere on her team.

All that said, I firmly believe the oft-quoted advice that you can love your job but it will never love you back - always take the better job. It would suck to stay somewhere you loved then get cut for budget or re-structuring or whatever.

That happens at all levels though from what I can tell. And the people who do get kept on during a purge usually stay due to seniority, not competence.

Dad was in the Air Force from the time I was born until I joined. I was in a unit wher I traveled, sometimes over 120 days a year. It was fun, and I was having fun. The work was interesting, I was good at it, and I was working with some great people. After 8 years I was at the point where it was time to make it a career or get out. So I joined the civilian world, where I was no longer guaranteed a bunk and a meal, where I could be fired or laid off at any time, and where I saw my first real paycheck that didn’t come from the government (not really, I’d had a few jobs in HS). There’s a world of difference between being in the military and being a defense contractor.

Of course, the military doesn’t really pay that well - my monthly take home more than doubled, and kept going up.

I was having trouble getting my degree (for somewhat esoteric reasons) so I passed the time casually working as an intern at the ITD - the state transportation department. I wasn’t making much and was living at my parent’s house, but it was easy and fun and I was okay with it.

A friend of mine convinced me to leave that and follow him to a job in Vegas, which I did mostly based on the 50% increase in pay. The job was decidedly less fun, in part because it required me to actually get work done. There were other problems too - comfort of workspace, that sort of thing. Oh, and the entire job disappeared like a popped soap bubble a year later, and I returned to my parents in a hurry to restart. But it got me used to working a real job for real money (and to living on my own), so it certainly worked out in the end.

Yes, twice, and yes, I would it again…the first time allowed me to move to a higher level than I ever would at the present company, the second time was to a job that I hope to retire from, and is probably the best work environment I’ve experienced…