Why You Need to Have a Job to Get a Job

Feeling happy and content in a job seems like a goal everyone should strive for. But what if someone feels pretty happy and content in a position they’ve had for a year or two, or longer, but hasn’t had any discussion about moving ahead within the company? Does that mean it is time to start looking for a new job?

Gary Burnison, CEO of global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry, says anyone who finds themselves in that position should ask themselves one question: Am I content or complacent?

“Too often ‘happy/content’ is a euphemism for complacency — and complacency is a killer, particularly in this world of change that demands new job skills,” Burnison says. “Are you so happy in your job that you wake up at 4:30 in the morning without the alarm? Or, are you treating the snooze button like a pet — in constant need of tapping? If you’re happy and motivated, you’ll perform better. And when you perform better, you’ll get promoted.”

If, upon reflection, “complacent” is your answer, leaving isn’t necessarily the answer — at least not right away.

“If you’re tempted to quit your job — don’t! You need to have a job to get a job,” Burnison stresses. “Otherwise, that gap in your resume becomes a major red flag. And don’t jump at the first thing to come along, or else you’ll be right back in the same mess. Your next best job might be two cubicles away.”

How do you move forward? Be curious and do your research, Burnison advises.

“The No. 1 predictor of success is knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do — otherwise known as ‘learning agility,'” Burnison continues. “So, if you want to succeed, let your curiosity lead you, whether that takes you to a new employer or makes you more valuable in your current job.”

That means being proactive by discussing targets, milestones and priorities with your boss. “Don’t wait for your annual review — it’s an ongoing dialogue,” he stresses. “The world isn’t once-a-year, and neither is your performance.”

Thoroughly exploring the job market, with an eye toward your next career opportunity, is also key.

“People spend more time researching their next smartphone than they do on their next job opportunity. You need to be targeted. Where do you want to live? What companies do you admire? What culture, type of boss, work arrangement would suit you best?” Burnison says. “The more you know, the further your networking will go. And networking is a contact sport. It’s all about the other person. You can’t take out of your network what you haven’t put in.”

(Article written by Kathleen Furore)