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Timing is Everything!

As we all know it is a very common exercise at the start of a New Year to make resolutions.  Several of those include career related goals.  Perhaps it is focused on a promotion, more work/life balance or making a move to a new company.  It is very normal to contemplate your career aspirations when a New Year turns, but the reality is, as with any time of year, timing is everything!  

Here are some considerations:

  • When will your bonus from the previous year be earned?  Most companies on a standard fiscal year will pay out their bonus at the end of March.  This is partially a retention strategy for an organization.  Most folks do not want to leave a bonus on the table and come March/April they are feeling pretty entrenched, making it harder to leave.  Regarding job searching-If this is something you cannot walk away from, openly disclose this to a future potential employer.  It may ultimately affect when you could accept a new position or the attractive compensation package they would need to put together for you.  Keep in mind though that most companies are not going to fully pay you a bonus for work you did for another company.
  • Do you have equity and what is vested versus what is not?  Some stock options are only worth the paper they are written on and are a non-factor.  On the other hand, equity components at other companies can be a major consideration timing wise.  Is your current employer on the brink of going public?  Is the stock trending really well overall?  Or, are you under water and it really does not affect your desire to move on?  And further, is your new potential employer better positioned to offer equity that will equate to value?
  • If relocation is involved, timing REALLY is everything!  School aged children need to be considered, home owners need time to prepare to sell, trailing spouses and their jobs need to be considered, etc.  Relocation and timing are questions that need to be heavily weighed and discussed early and often!

Some additional points:

  • Don’t get too hung up on timing—Bottom line, it is never a great time to resign and if you have been presented with a great opportunity, you owe it to yourself to consider it.
  • If you are truly wanting to find a new position, some things will have to be left on the table.  For example, if you have been with a company for 10 years and earn 6 weeks of vacation, the “price to play” of moving to a new company is probably going to mean a reduction in this.  Also there are some short term things (full bonus pay outs, unvested stock, etc.) that you will have to leave on the table for long term gain.
  • If it is meant to be, it will be!  Be clear about your goals when considering your career and where you want to take it.  Know that everything happens for a reason and it will all work out the way it is suppose to in the greater scheme of things.