Job opportunities abound, so don't be afraid to move on

Dear Joan,
How do I know when it’s time to leave? I’m less than 2 years into a job as a marketing director in a small 15-person office. Eight employees have been here for over 20 years. The President has been here for 25 years. I’m the new kid on the block, with new ideas.

The owner micro-manages to the point of over control and frequently says, "We’ve always done it that way." The gal before me left at just about 3 years and is now in a much higher position with a similar organization. She was also young and had lots of new ideas.

The final straw happened the other day. A proposal for a new client, prepared by our President, did not match the offer I made to this client. The offer I made had been negotiated carefully over a period of weeks. I checked in with the President often to make sure I was on track. After the proposal was made to the client, the client called me. She said that the proposal was different from the one we agreed to. When she questioned the President, he claimed that my numbers were wrong and that he had to rework them.

My worries are not finding a job with the pay I want in my area. I have a BA in Management and Communications and 7 years experience in this field. How long do I endure?

I think you already know the answer to your own question. Two years is enough time on a job to get your ticket punched and move on. Jobs are so plentiful in some positions, and the market is so hot in general, that I doubt that you would have much trouble finding what you want. And so many people job surf today, leaving a job after two years
doesn’t carry the stigma it once did.

You’ve touched on some reasons companies see turn over among young people (and people of all ages, for that matter). Most of the reasons are within the control of the manager. Here are some causes we see.

They leave because there isn’t enough:

§      Autonomy, so they can be creative and have control over their own work.

§      Flexibility in work hours and in policies.

§      Fun and casual atmosphere.

§      Open communication that goes two ways.

§      Teamwork or a feeling that there is purpose in their work.

§      Input or a sense of being valued.

§      Growth and stimulation on the job.

Opportunities are everywhere, if only you know how to find them. Why not start looking while you’re employed?
Here are some discreet ways to take some initial steps:

§    Look in the obvious places, such as the want ads. Simply start checking out the appropriate section to see what’s available. Pay attention to who is hiring and for what. Look beyond your industry, to see if there are any related industries that could use someone with your talents. Check out the pay and benefits that are being offered. You will educate yourself about what to negotiate for. Start reading the newspaper with a pair of scissors in your hand, so you can cut out any stories that give you a lead on a good company or contact.

§    Check out the many job boards on the Web. You will find hundreds of sites that list jobs by geographic region, city, title and industry. For instance, some of the big sites are, ,,  There are great sites that specialize in jobs/careers available in specific cities/areas, such as and  In addition, most major companies also list open positions on their sites and some take resume information online. All you need to do is visit the major search engines, such as Yahoo or Alta Vista and start digging. You will also find sites that specialize in salary information, such as and, and

§    Visit some staffing agencies. Many people don’t realize that they now act as the 21st century employment agencies, placing people in permanent positions, as well as in temporary ones.

§    Don’t forget to network. Because you want to stay in your geographic area, your best source of jobs is the people you already know. Make a list of at least 30 people you know: family members, colleagues, neighbors and friends. Next to each name, list where they work and what they do. Call them up and say, "I’m beginning to explore other opportunities to grow my career and tackle some new challenges. I’m in the field of X and my skills are Y and Z. Is there someone you know in that industry who might be willing to give me some advice?" Ask them if you can use their name when you call.

Set weekly goals of calling at least four people each week and having at least one lunch or after hours meeting. During your meetings, ask them about their jobs and tell them what you have to offer. Ask them about job leads they may know about. If they give you names of people to contact, it means you’ve made a favorable impression. Make sure you follow up after you act on the lead, to thank them and keep them in the loop.

Too many people make the mistake of staying too long in a bad situation. Don’t waste another minute working for someone who would rather keep things under tight control than listen to a new idea.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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