Will you make more money by taking a new position with higher pay at another company? Job swapping is more common than ever and the professional game of "bigger and better" is becoming the norm. While no one expects loyalty, and while loyalty doesn't mean the same stability as it once did, can sticking it out with a company benefit you more in the long run than chasing a higher check right now? The answer is not a clear yes or no, but you can take a look at a few factors to help you determine which answer is right for you.
Job changes often come with the requirement to relocate which in and of itself is a high cost to incur, both to your time and bank account. It may be easy to hire movers and take a road trip to your new home base, but it can be quite uprooting if you have a well-established personal and professional community. On top of a higher salary, you should consider what position offers more room for upward mobility or if it's worth leaving your developed professional network behind.
At times, it can be easy just to look for change and hope things will get better. The reality is, not all changes are right, and your situation might even get worse if you aren't careful to find the right fit. You should seek out wisdom from friends, family, and professionals alike to determine the right path. Make sure you aren't taking a pay decrease for ten years so you can get an increase for the next three. Ask where the ceiling is in each of the locations, how close you are to the ceiling in your current vs potentially new position, and what guarantees you have.
Here are a few more considerations to help you make the big decision.
Talk to People with a Variety of OpinionsYour mom is going to have way different advice than your best friend, and so will your most trusted co-worker. Different people will come to their advice from a variety of personal and professionally centric viewpoints. Ask people who know you best and want to see you happy, but understand moving or staying may be advantageous to them. Family may get emotional and base decisions or advice on missing you. Friends may be excitable. Co-workers may have a tinge of jealousy, guilt, or frustration. Also, not every person who cares for you may give good professional or life advice. Look at their track record of decision making. Remember, strong opinions don't mean they are correct. If they are merely asking questions or giving advice from one perspective of "definitely move" or "definitely stay", you may want to seek advice from elsewhere.
Ask Someone Who Just Changed Jobs for AdviceThe great thing about friends is how they are growing up alongside you. They aren't watching you come or watching you go; they are moving in right alongside you. They've met you at a point where you came into their life and didn't expect you to always be right there because you know you're both growing up. At the same time, they expect a lot out of you because they became your friend and thus want to see your life flourish. People who you are close with but are a step ahead of you will better understand the sacrifice, the need to move far away, or the desire to make a family and foster relationships with parents and siblings all at the same time because they were right there too. You can have genuine talks with worries, fears, and hopes. You can process rather than having to have it all figured out immediately.
Imagine Your Future Self is Here to TalkRealizing what the career move will do for you sometimes feels like guesswork. This concept of asking your future self feels a little out there, but it is a helpful practice. Sit down and write yourself a letter from the perspective of you ten years from now. You'll start to feel what it's like to have moved across the country. Or do you feel like you would have moved back home by this point? Is your spouse happy? This simply puts gravity to your decision and serves as a reality check. You can address questions you'll have about the tangibility of upward mobility, the positive trajectory of your career moves, and long-term at the impact to your finances.
Take These "Tests"When asking for advice, first yourself if you'd trust this person to invest $5,000 for you. If the answer to that is no, then why would you trust them with how you're planning to invest your future?
Run through Murphy's law... what if everything falls apart? The worst thing you could do is hate moving and come to resent the people, places, and opportunities you made the move for. You have to be happy or find the good in things, or you will get too frustrated. If this could be the case, then you are better staying put until you feel like you have more clear direction.
Set aside constants (family, health, religion, etc.) and ask what will make you happy after the change, what makes you happy right now, and what are the things you want to make you happy. Cross-reference those lists and look to the similarities and differences for guidance. Being an optimist and content are important, but don't let those virtues cross the line into settling and complacency.
Altogether, you will have to take a risk. Just make sure your risks are as calculated as possible. Trust that hard work, and smart risks will pay off.