Cents & Sensibility —
Before searching for another job

Beth Peabody

Last month’s column provided things to consider regarding the financial implications of wedding planning and targeted readers in their 20s and 30s.

This month’s column also targets this age group and includes career advice that can impact long-term financial security.

Current headline news trumpets a tight labor market in which businesses have had to raise pay to attract and retain workers. Because of these conditions, and the advent of online service providers like LinkedIn and Indeed, readers may feel like they are in a position of power over their employers. Salary levels early in a career are important to your financial future and a potential new job may be tempting as higher pay is usually offered to make a switch. Who doesn’t want to earn more money? Isn’t it a great compliment that another employer admires your skillset?

Before searching for another job — or before even considering an offer from another employer — give your current employer a chance. In general, employers are masters at juggling multiple duties including caring for customers and clients, seeking new revenue sources, dealing with supply chain issues and paying the bills. Meanwhile, they are required to train, mentor and care about their staff members. Sometimes the stress of all these tasks can be overwhelming and an employee may feel unappreciated. Most often this is not intentional as what’s important to the staff is not always top of mind important to the employer.

If you are feeling unappreciated, consider the following:

  • To gain financial security, you must build your career. A career is not measured by the number of jobs listed on your resume. A career is reflective of the skills you acquire by performing your duties and the knowledge you acquire by pursuing education and training opportunities. It is not your employer’s responsibility to build your career, but a good employer can assist if you ask. When was the last time you asked about your career path with your current employer? Dialogue such as this usually removes the feeling of being unappreciated.
  • Have you considered that other team members are a great source for enhancing your knowledge? Use non-business hours to learn of their career paths and seek input and advice. Have you ever offered to take a coworker to lunch or grab coffee?
  • Your reputation is your brand. Having a good reputation is invaluable and it can be your most important asset. Always strive to improve your reputation. Small steps include being a team player and offering to help with tasks outside of your main duties. Enhance the company’s culture by being friendly and showing mutual respect to all staff members. If you are working remotely, use video calls to enhance your reputation — show your face. If you are in person, build your reputation each day by taking time to stop in and talk with a coworker about non-business-related items.

While employers are struggling to find workers, do not use the tight labor market as leverage over your current employer unless you have discussed your career with them. Leaving without giving them this opportunity can damage your reputation. Give them a chance before ever considering or taking a new job.

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” — Benjamin Franklin

Action item for March: Consider what “career” means to you and enhance your reputation by discussing with your current employer.

Beth Stegner Peabody is CEO of Stegner Investment Associates, Inc., and a 1979 graduate of Sacred Heart Academy.

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