Short answer: NOW!
Many of my clients have a 2009 mentality. They are unconsciously still in an era of recession, when layoffs had been happening right and left, and unemployment had skyrocketed.
Definitely a difficult time to try for a new career or job back then. People sat tight, which of course made the job market even tighter.
But: It’s 2017, not 2009. Last October, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% — the lowest level since 2000! October also saw a record-setting 85 months of job gains.
(Of course, there is hidden un- or semi -unemployment where people are forced to work part-time or gig jobs, or have dropped out of the market altogether. ) But still, the employment picture is extremely good right now, at least in the short run.
That means your chance of landing a new job, or even a new career, are at a peak right now. If you’re gonna jump, do it now.
FIFO (First In, First Out).
Sometimes, not always, if there’s a recession, organizations fire those hired most recently. But employer loyalty to longer term workers isn’t what it used to be, and perhaps they’ll fire the older, more expensive employees first. (Sad to say for them). But if you are skilled, energetic and a continuous learner, chances are they’ll choose to keep you on.
Are you going for a career in an area at risk of being automated? Even so-called white collar jobs are at risk. Automation and A.I. are increasingly displacing even highly paid jobs. Think lawyers doing document review or radiologists reading CT scans, not just toll booth operators. A recent report by McKinsey predicted that up to 30% of existing U.S. jobs could be automated by 2030.
So if you are going to change, change smart. And plan on keeping your skills at cutting edge by taking training and continually learning.
I hate to say it, but don’t necessarily expect a big pay bump when you change your job or career. At least not quite yet. Pay is unconscionably lagging way behind profits and shareholder payouts. Pay increases are certainly happening, especially in the manufacturing sector, but October 2017 saw only a weak 2.4% annual rise — certainly not a reflection of current strong demand for labor.
Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try fora significant pay increase, or that you won’t get it. The key thing is to try, and to take a position that points you in a good direction and that you’ll enjoy.
Fear of change.
Most of us have it. We’re not all Elon Musks, thriving on high-flying, risky new challenges. (BTW, great book: Elon Musk, by Ashlee Vance.) There’s no easy anti-fear medicine. And it’s smart to calculate both upsides and downsides.
Change requires a leap of faith. Try asking yourself how you’ll feel if you are in the same job 5 years from now.
Some of my clients have been thinking about changing careers or jobs for months or even years. Taking the plunge can be unnerving at any time (sometimes it even takes getting terminated from a position you hate.)
Bottom Line: At some point, the economy won’t be this good. If you want to make a change, consider that now may be the best time in years. When better?