Insights & advice
Things to consider when leaving a job or changing careers
March 2021 – 15 min read
People change jobs or careers for many reasons
There are benefits to making a job or career change
There are tell-tale signs that suggest it’s time to make a change
The average worker changes jobs every 4.2 years
There are several motivators for people to change jobs
There are pros and cons to changing industries and great reasons to look for a new job where you’re working now
Job security and income often increase with more education
There are several financial considerations to switching jobs
What’s in this article?
- Financial aspects of changing jobs
- Why do people change jobs or careers?
- Benefits of changing jobs or careers
- Signs it’s time to change jobs
- How long should you wait to change jobs?
- What motivates people to change jobs?
- Job change strategies
- Going back to school
- Things to consider before changing jobs
Financial aspects of switching jobs
If you’re considering a career change, remember there are other financial implications like:
Group benefits coverage
Understand how long you’ll be covered under your current benefits, and how long it may be until coverage from your new employer will take effect. Consider personal health and dental benefits to fill the gap if necessary.
Group retirement plan
If you’re in a company pension plan or group registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), determine your options for withdrawing those assets or transferring them to your new employer’s plan.
If you’re moving to take a new jobOpens in a new window - Opens in a new window, confirm who’ll pay for the relocation expenses. If you’re going to a new city, check out the difference in the cost of living, public transportation, real estate, etc.
Time between pay cheques
Will there be any gap between your last pay from your previous job and your first pay from your new one? If so, have you budgeted enough to cover your living expenses during that time?
Why do people change jobs or careers?
People end up searching for a new job or career for several reasons:
- Better pay
- Reduced stress/burnout
- Better work-life balance
- Lack of promotion opportunities
- Feeling unappreciated
- Negative work environment
Benefits of changing jobs or careers
Changing your work situation every few years can provide several benefits:
- More room for advancement
- New challenges can help you grow new skills
- A new job can renew your passion for what you do
- Searching, applying and interviewing for a new job is a valuable learning experience
Signs it’s time to change jobs
If you’re wondering whether you should start searching for a new job or career, look for these signs:
- You’re too comfortable and feel you can achieve more
- Your personality doesn’t match your workplace corporate culture
- Your job doesn’t match your areas of interest
- The job doesn’t allow you to live the lifestyle you desire
- The job doesn’t make you happy
How long should you wait to change jobs?
What motivates people to change jobs?
Going back to school, especially if your school schedule and your current job aren’t a good match
Negative work environment that makes work a place you don’t want to be
Moving to a new city, province or country may be a reason to leave your job, unless working remotely is an option
Getting full-time, permanent work may mean it’s time to leave a temporary, part-time or contract job
Changing life goals like saving for retirement or to buy a home, or new life events such as getting married or starting a family may be reasons for switching jobs if you decide you need a better paying job or better group benefits to support them
Personal or family illness may be a reason to leave a job whether you’re too ill to work yourself, or you have a quit your job to care for a family member
Personal scheduling issues if your job doesn’t allow you to adjust for childcare
Job change strategies
If you’re moving from an industry that’s in decline to one that’s on the rise, it may lead to better pay and career growth.
However, switching industries may also mean starting as a newbie again, which could mean earning less for a while and take longer to get a promotion.
Changing jobs in the same company
There are lots of reasons to look for a new position in the company you’re with now:
- You won’t have to figure out a new organization
- You’ll grow your network in the company
- You may accumulate more paid vacation or other benefit perks
Deciding to go back to school
Job security and income often increase with more education. Because they know that more education can impact your job performance, some employers may allow a leave of absence or flexible work schedule to accommodate you going back to school.
The drawbacks of going back to school is the loss of income, a possible gap in your resume, and possibly have to look for a new job in a different job market, once your education is complete.
Things to consider before changing your job or career
Work environment – Do you want to work alone or as part of team? Like a lot of variety in your work, or not? Work in an office with a lot of people, or at home?
Work-life balance – Flexibility for family obligations, commuting, paid time off, etc.
Salary vs. satisfaction – If you can overlook the quality of work environment for a bigger pay cheque, then money is more important for you. However, many people find job satisfaction more important than what they get paid as long as they’re making enough to live comfortably.
Growth opportunities – Will the company provide opportunity for you to progress in your career?
Is the job or career challenging – While some people like to stay in their comfort zone, others need challenges to motivate them to succeed.
Now that you understand more what to consider when changing your job or career, you may also want to:
Check with your company’s human resources department to determine opportunities or a career path where you now work
Talk with your advisor about how to withdraw or transfer your pension or group RRSP savings to a new employer
The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.