Are you looking for a new job in 2014?

Are you in a job you hate or desperate to return to work after a career break? Deciding you want to make some big changes to your working life is great but before you do anything, read our tips on what to consider before you take the plunge.

1. Your financial situation

Your financial situation might be totally reliant on a fixed and regular income coming into the house. Undertake a financial health check and be mindful that if you change jobs, you're unlikely to get a mortgage or a credit card based on your income alone during your probation period. Your employment is also less stable during this time (when you could only be on a week's notice), so it makes sense to have a financial cushion.

2. Your personal life

Don't underestimate the stress of a new job on your life. Not just the stress of job-hunting, but the need to prove yourself once you start a new role. If things are already tough in your personal life (maybe you have relationship difficulties or a new baby), don't take on more than you can cope with. Equally, if you need flexibility to sort something out at home, this will be harder to get during your probation or in the start-up phase of a new business.

3. Your health and welfare

Any job needs to support your health – both physically and mentally. Think about the things that have made you feel unwell or stressed in the past (such as commuting, long hours or working in a disorganised company) and ensure you avoid that in a new role. Also, if you have private medical insurance with your existing company and have made a claim, do check whether your pre-existing condition would be covered with a new employer. If you take more sick leave than average, avoid going self-employed.

4. Your current work situation

“It's not me, it's them.” Sometimes, jumping ship can mask issues you want to leave behind in your current employment but which you might end up taking with you. If you feel no one appreciates you and the management team is exploiting you, it might be you have some development issues that are better addressed in a known employment environment. Get some feedback from someone you trust at work about your chances of thriving in a different company.

5. Your flexibility

Sometimes people are committed to a location or can only work during certain hours because they have childcare or other responsibilities. This doesn't need to be as restrictive as it sounds but think about what you can and can't do as certain ways of working might suit you better. Many a successful business was started up around the school day.

6. Your personality and your values

Have you ever had your personality profiled? If you have, you know it highlights how you like to work. Identifying the personal values that are core to you feeling happy at work is important – start by writing a list.

Working in a way you prefer means you will perform well: this, coupled with a personality that is aligned with the industry you work for, is significant.

7. Your motivation and goals

Depending on which stage of career you're at, your motivation for changing jobs will vary wildly. There will be some people reading this that would consider just about anything for better perks, more money, career progression – and success. Others only want a job that gives them a good work/life balance. So ask yourself, does your planned change fit in with your master plan? A new business is time-consuming, for example, if you are thinking of starting a family.

8. Your boundaries

We all have natural strengths and no amount of development, training or pushing will truly change that. It is much better to play to your strengths than it is to set unrealistic goals. If you are unsure about what you should be aiming for, ask your current boss or someone whom you respect and admire for their opinion. It might be you are in your comfort zone and a new job and challenge will see you flourish.  

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