Making a career move can be an emotionally charged exercise, no matter how seasoned or senior you become.
There are so many things that will go through your mind, and questions you’ll have to evaluate. Things like salary targets, commute time, company reputation and culture, what’ll my new boss be like, etc.
But there’s one thing people often overlook, and one question most people never ask themselves until it’s too late.
And that question is, “What is most important to me now and in the coming years: work/life balance or career progression?”
Let's break that down.
What do you value the most? Time or money? Probably both right?
I mean sure, everyone does, but the trick is to evaluate the degree to which you want one over the other now and in the coming years. It’s a delicate balancing act.
Say you find an opportunity that offers you easy work hours and plenty of time off. Sounds like a plum gig right? You have lots of time for life outside of work. There’s lower stress, a lighter work load, more vacation time. This skews heavily towards work/life balance.
But the downside to this is very likely a lack of career progression. A job that favors work/life balance is unlikely to pay very much and it probably won’t have opportunity for career advancement.
So now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum.
A job with a focus on career progression is going to provide for more promotional opportunities and have you on track to further your career. Perfect! The executive suite is next along with a pay raise and that new promotion.
But all this career success comes at a cost, and you guessed it, you’re paying for it in time. You’ll probably be working long hours, in a high pressure environment, and prioritizing your work over other aspects of your life.
There is a relationship, however, that exists between the two ends of the spectrum, and you need to figure out where you want to sit between either end.
Do you want to work hard now and focus on progression and in the future when you’re financially set up, focus more on work/life balance?
Or maybe you’re at a place in your life where your career isn’t the most important thing to you and you need that time and energy to focus on life outside of work.
It’s a delicate balancing act. Determining where you are in your career and life and where you want to be. Understanding what makes you happy and what’s important to you.
This kind of decision ultimately effects your overall happiness because the ripples of that decision will spread to many facets of your life.
Do you have a family or people in your life to support? How are you prioritizing time to spend with those people? Are there career goals you want to reach? Are there places in the world you want to travel to?
Consciously evaluating and understanding what you want in your career is so important because when it goes right the job hardly feels like work, but if you never really give these items any specific thought, there are typically three outcomes – An unhappy existence, you quit, or you’re fired.
When you look at the scale of work/life balance and career progression, each individual will be unique as to where they fall on it.
In fact, there really is no right answer to a lot of these questions. There’s only a right answer to you, your goals and situation.
So when you’re looking to make your next career move, spend some time evaluating work/life balance and career progression and use this as a starting point to evaluate what is best. It’s a decision that could ultimately effect the rest of your life.