So you hate your job. Maybe you have been with the same company for 15, 10, or maybe even just a year and you hate it. What do you do? We all know that it is tough to find a new job in our current economy. Some experts suggest that the average job search takes anywhere between 6 to 9 months. Others suggest that you can add one month to your job search for every $10,000 per year that you make. Poll most Americans and I would venture to say that a high percentage would choose to err on the side of caution: they know what they are getting with their current employer and job situation. To leave is to venture into the unknown, from the proverbial frying pan and into the oven in the worst case. But maybe these same people should face their fears and strike out now. There will always be an unknown factor when seeking out a new opportunity, but that should not stop anyone from seeking a new career or employer.
The best thing you can do to ease your fear of the unknown is to not put pressure on yourself to find a job right away. Map out an exit strategy and do your homework, e.g. conduct informational interviews with people you trust and look for ways to connect with others in your industry that can help educate you on what is changing. Know your value proposition (what you have to offer an employer and why they should hire you), create a target company list (as opposed to simply searching for companies hiring on the job boards), and get your resume in order. Your goal is to identify those hidden, unadvertised positions that only come about through strategic networking.
After you do all of this, opportunities will start to come your way. There is no magical time frame, but since you are employed (even though you hate your job), you can financially wait it out until you identify potential opportunities that are worth pursuing. And you can always turn down an offer that does not meet your needs. So, should you stay or should you go if you hate your job? To fully answer this question, you need new opportunities to compare your current situation to. Until you identify a better opportunity, you stay. As soon as a better opportunity emerges and you have an offer in hand, you go. If you are really brave and have the financial means to leave your job before you find a new one, it could be worth it to do so. After all, leaving will free you up to focus 100% on all of the job search objectives previously mentioned. This approach is not for the faint at heart, but for those with nerves of steel, it can work in your favor. What will you choose to do?