It happens to everyone at some point in their engineering career: You reach a critical crossroads that requires action and don’t innately know what to do. Maybe you’re comfortable where you are, but a new opportunity is hard to ignore. You’re faced with a choice of staying with what you know or seeing what new challenges may await.
Ultimately, either choice feels like a gamble. While the new opportunity may not pan out, or not turn into the career you hoped it would, complacency with your career can eventually lead to a dead-end. To help you make the best decision for you, here are some major points to consider before making the call.
Stability or Growth
Most new job opportunities come with the perk of advancing your career. The position could be promotional, or could simply give you access to new skills or training options. But stepping away from a job that feels like a safe bet isn’t easy.
People are often seen as creatures of habit, and going to the same place to fulfill the obligations of a workday is a hard habit to break. And a job change brings about uncertainty. Before choosing to stay or go, consider whether you are comfortable in your current position or if you are stagnant. Additionally, is the new job opportunity providing career longevity, or is there a risk of it becoming reaching its own dead end? Does one position provide a better quality of life than the other?
If your current engineering job is comfortable, but you are still growing, there may not be a need for change unless you desire it. However, if you think you’ve reached the end of the road with your current employer, you might want to move on if you aren’t on the brink of retirement.
Your Network or Networking
If you’ve spent a notable amount of time in your current position, you likely have had the opportunity to get to know your co-workers, and may even have a few whom you consider friends. Having your network by your side is comforting, and can even make going to work a pleasant experience. But taking on a new opportunity means you have the chance to meet new people, expand your network and make new friends.
Making new connections can help move your career forward today and into tomorrow, but there is no way to know for sure that the new workplace will be a good fit until you are there. And a bad cultural fit can make any job a nightmare. However, if your current environment doesn’t offer much in regards to networking or a sense of comradery, then the risk may actually feel like a blessing.
Reputation or Compensation
If your current engineering job offered you everything you needed to feel satisfied with your work, you likely wouldn’t be contemplating a change. However, if a competitive offer elsewhere includes benefits like a higher salary, flexible scheduling, more time off or other forms of compensation, and your current employer isn’t willing to step up, then it can be tough to walk away from a new position.
But taking a new position means starting at the bottom in regards to internal reputation. It takes time to build trust between co-workers and managers, and making a change means starting over in this department. Even if some of your reputation in the engineering field proceeds you, there is still groundwork involved before you build a rapport.
When It’s Time to Choose
Most new job opportunities come with a countdown clock, so you often have to make a decision fairly quickly. After examining the pros and cons of both options, you need to choose whichever is going to provide you the life and career that you have in mind. Where you’ll be in five years is affected by the decisions you make today, so make the choice that creates a path to the right destination.