I've been unhappy in my job for quite a while now; the company is very 'traditional' and not forward-thinking, there aren't any opportunities to progress and development is limited. That said, it's a safe, secure job in a safe, secure company.

The new opportunity is more risky, but potentially brings more reward (in terms of happiness, potential career progression, and much more to learn).

How should I go about making this decision? (After agonising over it for a long time, I'm still not sure what to do!)

  • If you have a family to support is makes it a lot harder. Just you then do what makes you happy. – paparazzo Feb 20 '15 at 18:24
  • No family to support. Very difficult to know what I'd be happiest doing - but I think I know this current role is not it! – Joe Feb 20 '15 at 18:26
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    If you have the type of skill set that can find a job pretty readily then go for it. Just have a enough in the bank to cover how long you think it will take to find a job. I went with a start up that when bankrupt and it was still a good experience. – paparazzo Feb 20 '15 at 18:36
  • @Joe Take the plunge - you never know! If you leave on good terms they may even take you back as well. – James Feb 21 '15 at 10:25


The first thing you need to do is sort out your priorities. These are for you and you alone no matter what social expectations are.

What's more important to you? Money? Autonomy? Fame? Health? Time off? Family?

The goal here is to know what's the most important to you vs what's the least. When considering changes in your work realistically speaking how does your current role rank up with supporting those priorities, how does the new job rank up? If one job is going to benefit what's important to you more than another you know which job makes more sense.


No job is truly safe. I've been through 7 layoffs of which I survived 6. I can tell you only half of those were people aware the layoff was coming. Most of the time those who were laid off had no warning, just came to work, and unemployed by lunch. Not saying this will happen, just saying even the safest job is only so safe.

On the other hand the jobs can have an unreasonable amount of risk where you're not counting on if you'll be laid off, rather you're counting on when.

That said you need to decide how much risk you're willing to take and base what jobs you're willing to consider off that. (if you have family, they need to be factored in here)


One thing people have to be careful about is your finances with a job switch. You want to have enough set aside where if things just don't pan out you can survive unemployed for a least a good couple of months. (of coarse you should try to have this set aside incase of any unforeseen situation such as illness, layoff, injury, burglary, etc.)

If you have no safety net changing jobs can be exponentially more risky to your financial well being.

Grass is greener

You have to think objectively about what your job offers vs the new opportunity. It's very easy to get in a grass is greener where you see everything wrong with your current job without knowing what's wrong at the new place. I typically only consider the good of my job now, vs the good at the job to be to try and stem the worst of this in my personal choices.

Never second guess

When you actually make the jump don't second guess it. Give a good chance if it doesn't work fine, if it does great! What you shouldn't do is back out last minute or go back and forth on whether or not you're going to do it. Typically if you find yourself going "I don't know", "I'm not sure", "I probably shouldn't" than likely you shouldn't. Exception: I would say if you're back and forth more so because change itself and not what you're changing than you just need take a deep breath relax. Change is just a thing, neither good nor bad. It's the WHAT in change that determines where it stands.

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My advice is to set some objectives and time frames.

Have the finances to support the risks.

If this is a company you have been with for a while and no chance of it getting better then one thing.

I have had many transfers or new positions I did not like but I always told myself give it 6 months. Only once at the end of 6 months did I decide to leave.

From there I went with two start ups that went bankrupt to consulting during the Internet boom for good money to starting my own company. And the only part I regret is starting my own company.

Is the new opportunity out of frustration? Think it through and make the right transition.

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