Most people no longer expect to stay with the same company from the time they graduate until they retire. Real upward mobility usually happens by moving from one company to another.
When you first start working, you may be getting a feel for corporate culture and trying to decide if you really enjoy the job you are doing or if you want to adjust your career focus. It can be frustrating and difficult if you realize that you do not enjoy the type of work that you are doing. It can also be frustrating to realize that you do not have the opportunity to advance in your current position. Staying at a job with no opportunity is one of the common career mistakes that people make.
There are a few factors you need to think about when considering a career change or moving to a different company:
1. Why is it that you want to leave your current position and employer?
If you know that you may qualify for a promotion after a certain amount of time, you may choose to stay at your current company. However, if you know that you have maxed out your potential for growth at your current company, you may be in a position where it is time to look for a new job. However, if you have been passed over for a promotion, you may want to start looking, because your management may not see you in a leadership role. You do not want to spend time in a position where you are not valued and appreciated.
2. Have you been at your current employer long enough?
You want to stay long enough that your next employer will not worry about you jumping ship at the next great opportunity. This is a minimum of a year with the first company you work with. If you have the chance for a promotion within the company, you should take it. You can survive most situations for a year. If you do leave earlier than that, you need to have the reason why, clearly labelled in a positive manner so that you can handle any questions you get about it.
3. Do you have any obligations to your current employer?
When you signed on to your current employer, you may have received incentives like help with paying your student loans or moving expenses. Generally, these have a clause that states the amount of time you must work for the company without having to pay the money back. If your current employer paid for courses, training, conferences, any studies etc., you may need to work a set number of years with your employer or you will have to pay the money back. Before you switch to another company, make sure you have met all of your contractual obligations at your current job. Your signing bonus will have a similar stipulation with it.
4. Are you ready for a new job?
Taking a new job because you hate your current one is a terrible situation to be in and could be a big red flag for potential new employers. Rather than rushing into a new job hastily, the better path is to enter a new job with clarity, commitment and passion. It sets in motion the best prospects for success for yourself and your new employer.
Pick a place that lines up with your values and where you think you can make an impact. If your goal is to increase your upward mobility, then pick markets that are growing. Push yourself, create real value and win the rewards that come with delivering results.