Jump for Job Joy

When it comes to your career, leaving the comfort of your "lily pad" may be a tough decision.

By Judith Sills Ph.D., published on September 1, 2007 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Before You Jump

If you're sniffing the air beyond your own pad, you'll certainly want to consider your current level of job satisfaction. Ask yourself these questions (only this time, force yourself to pay attention to your answers).

  • On a scale from dread to joy, how happy am I to get out of bed in the morning and head for the office?
  • On a scale from coma to challenging, how much am I learning, stretching, or in some other way developing professionally?
  • On a scale from despised to delightful, how inspiring, supportive, or otherwise productive are my relationships with my close colleagues?
  • On a scale from pathetic to proud, how does my current salary and/or level of responsibility match my aspirations?
  • And on a scale from thrill seeker to security lover, how much professional risk can I tolerate at this moment in my life (since I just got the divorce or since my mate makes a fortune; since the kids are in school or since I don't have any yet)?

Getting Your Company on Board

Once you've decided on the lily pad or the leap, here's how to improve your chances of getting what you want:

  • Make your ambitions for change—or for status quo—clearly known. Use your performance review to discuss your possibilities for upward mobility or your satisfaction with your current status.
  • If you are looking to jump within your current organization, take on special projects that no one else wants to take on. When you make an unexpected and outstanding contribution, upper management notices.
  • If you want to linger on the lily pad, make certain that the company understands the value of your longevity. Since your salary will hopefully go up with time, they need to know that your worth increases, too.
  • Make sure your assignments are interesting and challenging. The quality of your tasks will enhance your profile in the company and improve your own day-to-day satisfaction.
  • A strong line of communication to your industry outside your pond is essential. Use professional meetings and associations to gather realistic information about opportunities and pitfalls outside your sphere.