When Monday morning rolls around, do you dread getting ready for work? Does the idea of going into the office fill you with feelings of stress or indifference? Do you feel undervalued for your contributions to the law firm or company you work for? Do you find yourself consistently complaining to coworkers or friends about your job frustrations?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time for a change. On the other hand, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of changing jobs isn’t always easy. If you still have doubts about how to decide when to change jobs, using this pros and cons list as a guide will help ensure that it’s the right decision for you.
Pros of a New Job
Whether it’s a lateral move to another firm in town or a promotion opportunity at a company in another state, these are some of the benefits of changing jobs:
You may be able to reduce stress factors.
The adverse health effects of chronic stress are well documented. While living in a post-coronavirus world, a critical advantage of changing jobs rather than staying put is significantly reducing your stress level.
Trying to juggle the constant rigors of a demanding job with long hours and a family is a stress-inducing recipe for burnout. If that sounds familiar, a career change could be highly beneficial for your physical health, mental health, and quality of life.
Opportunity to earn more money.
Each year, many people in the legal industry change jobs to collect a bigger paycheck. Those legal professionals perceive a job switch to be an opportune time to ask for and receive more money. Conversely, staying at the same company or firm for a long time typically makes it easier to climb the corporate ladder and be a higher earner.
When asking yourself, “Should I change jobs for more money?” and notably, if you are looking to relocate, be sure to weigh other financial considerations first, like housing prices, average commute, and overall cost of living.
It makes sense if you want to move to another region.
If you have a strong desire to practice in another part of the country, a career change makes perfect sense. However, before relocating your talents, be sure that the new job market offers enough backup career opportunities if the first gig doesn’t pan out.
Having a family of your own complicates the decision-making process even further. When wondering, “Should we move or stay put?” factors like quality of schools, the impact of Covid, and access to family-friendly recreational venues must be considered.
You can rekindle your passion without changing careers.
As an attorney, you were probably once passionate about helping others fight for their legal rights. After all, that was one of the main reasons you applied to law school— right? If you have become bored or indifferent about your chosen profession, a job change may be the motivation you need to wake up each morning and head to work.
The answer to the question “Should I feel bad about changing jobs?” should be apparent if you’ve lost your inner passion for performing at an optimal level while representing your clients.
It provides new opportunities for promotions.
Another benefit of changing jobs is enhancing your chances for future promotions. On average, a high percentage of employees in the legal industry see an increase in work responsibilities and promotion opportunities when switching jobs— including those aged 50 and above.
When deciding “Is it worth it to change jobs?” if career advancement doesn’t look very promising at your current job, it might be best to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
Doing so may help improve your work-life balance.
If you are sick and tired of working in a dead-end job for countless hours every week with minimal personal satisfaction, a new job may be the key to improving your quality of life. Many lawyers struggle with finding a healthy work-life balance due to annual billable hour requirements and overwhelming caseloads.
Once you’ve decided to have more leisure time and work less, changing your job can be a great way to achieve this goal even if you are otherwise happy with your current employer.
A new position can encourage personal growth.
Another upside to a new job is utilizing your skills, strengths, and experience while serving as part of a winning team. If your current position lacks personal development and growth opportunities, taking on new responsibilities and earning the respect of your peers are two sure-fire ways to boost your confidence and build character.
It can lead to a reduction in commuting times.
If you were to draw up a “Should I change jobs?” quiz, one of the topics would no doubt be commuting times to and from work. Each day, countless lawyers endure long traffic delays while practicing in large metropolitan areas like New York City, Chicago, and L.A.
One of the keys to enjoying a healthier work-life balance is reducing travel times by accepting a new job in a more commuter-friendly market.
Cons of Switching Jobs
If you find yourself bouncing from one place to another every few months, it may be time to ask yourself, “Does it look bad to keep changing jobs?” and “Why is this happening to me?”
In general, here’s what to consider when compiling a pros and cons list for switching jobs:
A new position can result in increased stress and anxiety.
Let’s face it— any job in the legal profession can be stressful. Change in life often leads to negative feelings like stress and anxiety. One of the main disadvantages of changing jobs is that you might feel insecure at first while adapting to your new work environment and coworkers.
If you are an inflexible person who tends to get apprehensive about dealing with too many new things at once, odds are a career change may not be the best option for you.
You will often have a probation period.
As the “new kid on the block,” you will need to prove yourself. Another disadvantage of a career change is the likelihood of being placed on probation for a while. During this probation period, you risk getting fired if the quality of your work doesn’t meet your boss’ expectations.
If you are terminated during that time and lack sufficient funds, you could have trouble paying your bills while searching for a new job.
You will need to adapt to a new working environment.
Another downside to changing jobs is adapting to an entirely new work environment and corporate culture. Since corporate cultures vary widely based on numerous factors, that culture may not align with your personal goals and beliefs— possibly leading to relationship issues in the workplace.
Adapting to a new corporate culture and working atmosphere could cause problems for you when switching jobs. In the end, those work environment issues may end up being even worse than the ones you left behind.
There are financial risks related to job changes.
Another consideration when deciding if it is worth it to change jobs are the financial risks involved. After all, if you quit your job, you may have trouble paying your bills for a while— including those student loans that you took out to bankroll law school.
If you get fired after only working there for a short period of time, it may become necessary to go into debt to cover your living expenses. Even worse, it could take a long while to find another suitable job that pays well enough to consider.
Considering a Job Change? Momentum Search Partners Can Help
When it’s time to change jobs as a legal professional, a reputable legal recruiter can be invaluable throughout the entire job search process. At Momentum Search Partners, our team of six legal recruiters has 100+ years of legal headhunting experience in Texas and nationwide. With offices strategically located in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, our fingers are constantly on the pulse of the Texas legal market. For more information about our recruiting services, contact us today!