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The East African : Oct 31st 2015
44 The EastAfrican BUSINESS OCTOBER 31 - NOVEMBER 6, 2015 MANAG E R Five things to know: Setting the ≥eco≥d st≥aight on switching jobs E veryone from your mother to your mentor has advice about the best way to switch jobs. But how do you know whom to trust? Experts have described the current labour market as “candidate-driven.” So job seekers hold more power than employers, a trend that seems to be deepening. Does this mean that you’re in the driver’s seat? Not necessarily. We asked two experts for their perspective on whether conventional wisdom holds up in practice and against research. 1. “Never tell your boss that you’re looking for another position.” It may seem logical that you want a new job in hand before you reveal to your manager that you’re leaving. But things have changed. “It used to be when you left a job, you were seen as a traitor,” says John Sullivan, a human resources expert and professor of management at San Francisco State University. Companies now try to be sure people leave on good terms. They don’t want to “risk being disparaged on Glassdoor, Yelp, Facebook or Twitter,” Sullivan says. In fact, many companies now have programmes that keep the door open in case employees want to return. Companies like Davita Healthcare, Yahoo and KPMG are hiring large numbers of return employees. There may be great upsides to telling your manager you’re job-hunting, says Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at global executive search firm Egon Zehnder. When Fernández-Aráoz worked for McKinsey in Europe in the 1980s, he told the office leader he wanted to leave and move back to Argentina. They offered to let him work from Argentina while he looked so they could get as much time out of him as possible. His former boss at McKinsey gave him a great reference, talking about his openness and loyalty to the firm. 2. “Stay at a job for at least a year or two — moving around too much looks bad on a resume.” “There are many times when you really need to leave your job without anything else,” says Fernández-Aráoz. You may be obliged to relocate because of your spouse’s job or quit to take care of a family member. Employers have become more accepting of brief peri- Why wo≥k at the o∞ce may be ‘killing’ you By ANA SWANSON The Washington Post PEOPLE OFTEN like to groan about how their job is “killing” them. For some people, that statement appears to be true. A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of people’s life spans. It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups. Researchers say this is the first study to look at the ways that a workplace’s influence on life expectancy specifically breaks down by racial and educational lines. To do their analysis, they di- Smart companies will make COMMENTARY AMY GALLO “The world is changing so rapidly that you have to be agile or adaptable.” ods of employment, Sullivan says as many as 32 per cent of employers expect job-jumping. Millennials are especially prone to short stays at jobs. Sullivan’s research shows that 70 per cent of millennials quit their jobs within two years. So the advice to stick it out at a job for the sake of your resume is just no longer valid. Gaps in job history aren’t the sticking points they once were either, says Sullivan. Employers just want to know that you made use of the time either to gain a new skill, have a life-changing experience or learn something new. Still, says Fernández-Aráoz, you should avoid jumping around if you can, not because of potential damage to your future job prospects, but to spare yourself the emotional drain. “The real problem is starting again to find a new place, a new location, new friends, constantly having to reprove yourself afresh,” he says. You can avoid a lot of switching by thoroughly assessing potential opportunities. When considering your next job, do as much research as you possibly can before accepting the offer. 3. “Don’t quit your job before allowing your current employer to make a counter offer.” But, even if you’ve found a role that keeps you happy, you should still be learning and growing.” John Sullivan, a human resources expert and professor of management at San Francisco State University an attempt to convince you to stay, Sullivan says: “If you’re on their priority list, it would be considered ‘regrettable turnover’ for them and they’ll do what they can to keep you.” Counteroffers have become much more common for highly specialised roles, or where talent is scarce, according to Fernández-Aráoz. “They usually come with some form of flattery, promises and even better conditions,” he says. But be careful, he warns: “Most counteroffers are bad for all parties.” First, you had a reason to look for another job and that’s unlikely to change, despite your employer’s promises. Second, Fernández-Aráoz says, “You’ve made a commitment to the new company and you should honour it.” Of course, you should make a sound decision based on the unique situation you are in and analyse both alternatives. Fernández-Aráoz suggests looking at the long-term potential rather than the short-term benefits. 4. “Never make a lateral move — a new job is your only chance of making a big leap in title and compensation.” “That’s so last year,” says Sul- livan. “Yes, the old model was that you were assistant vice president, then VP, then senior VP. But that’s General Motors in the 1980s, not today’s organisations.” You should focus on finding interesting work rather than worrying about lateral moves. Fernández-Aráoz agrees: “If you are going for title and compensation, think again!” More money and a better title rarely are what make you happy in a job, he says. 5. “You should always be look- ing for your next job.” You want to be happy, not con- stantly searching, says Fernández-Aráoz. “Ideally, you should never be looking for your next job, simply because you love what you do.” He points to research that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has done on the state of “flow,” describing it as “a neurological condition of our brain in which we achieve maximum productivity while our brain consumes very little energy. We are fully immersed in what we do, fully absorbed, even losing a sense of time, and we’re able to function at our best.” When you have found this in a job, looking for your next one is unnecessary. But, even if you’ve found a role that keeps you happy, you should still be learning and growing, Sullivan says. To do so, you needn’t take on a new role with a new company; you can learn and grow in a different role or challenge in your existing job. “The world is changing so rapidly that you have to be agile or adaptable. You should constantly look for projects that give you more skills, do things outside of your comfort zone, so that you have another skillset, not just the one you need for your current job.” Over the course of your career, you’re likely to switch jobs multiple times. Ideally, those moves will be in search of a more fulfilling, challenging and satisfying job. Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and the author of the HBR Guide to Managing Conflict at Work. A stressful workplace may be shaving off of people’s lifespans. Picture: File vided people into 18 different groups by race, education and sex. They then looked at 10 different workplace factors — including unemployment and layoffs, the absence of health insurance, shift work, long working hours, job insecurity and work-family conflict — and estimated the effect that each would have on annual mortality and life expectancy. The data show that people with the highest educational attainment were less affected by workplace stress than people with the least education, the study says. Race and gender also played a role. Blacks and Hispanics lost more years of life because of work than whites did in every education and gender category. And women generally fared better than their male counterparts. The researchers say their findings have a clear takeaway: We need to focus on creating healthier work environments, especially for workers with less education. The good news is that the way to accomplish this is relatively straightforward. They suggest that many of these issues — including long hours and shift work, the lack of health insurance and paid time off, and job insecurity — can be partly solved through better policies to support workers.
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