job jumper tip #4: leave on your terms

I’ve started out the job jumper tips talking about WIDD files, being a discriminating networker and remembering it’s not all about the money. This week, I wanted to make a point that’s near and dear to my heart.

With a looming recession, people are starting to worry about their jobs, with good reason. You can’t make it a day here in the New York area without hearing about layoffs and redundancies. People get emotional about their jobs. They suck up a lot of your life; you know your cubicle neighbors’ kids’ names, you have eaten at the local Olive Garden together and cried over broken fax machines. It’s tough not to get emotional. Here is my tip, then, to try and keep some perspective.Tip 4: You will leave your job, someday. The ONLY questions are when (not if) and how.

You are going to leave your job someday. You will retire, quit, get fired or die. Most of us desperately want to avoid getting fired or dying on the job, but that leaves only two options: retiring or quitting. Unless you are Bill Parcells, retirement only happens once. That means that chances are very, very good that you will quit your job if you don’t get fired or laid off first. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not this year – but you will quit it. And the sad truth, for most people, is that the job you leave will become a memory. You may think you had lifelong friends there, but when you are surrounded by your new co-workers who are there 12 hours a day, will you be trudging back over to the old office after work to hit Friday’s? Chances are you won’t. I have made some friends from work over the years that I’ve kept, but the fact is that I don’t see them much. With commute, my current work, family and personal friends you just can’t make a lot of time for old work friends. If you jump a lot, your list will get long in a hurry.

So try to keep up with old work friends, if nothing else for networking’s sake. But in this day and age you can’t afford to get sentimental about your job. You’ll be leaving it someday, and it’s better that you do it on your own terms, when the getting is good. If you are frustrated today, remind yourself that in a matter of time – days, week, months or even years – the boss who annoys you, the coworker who backstabbed you or the people who were more than just coworkers will all be a part of your past.

Check out the rest of the job jumper tips:

(photo by wim harwig)