Don't get carried away by New Year itchy feet

When compiling new year's resolutions, almost every person's list will include a desire to take their career forward. Many...

When compiling new year's resolutions, almost every person's list will include a desire to take their career forward. Many think of this in terms of finding a new job, writes Roisin Woolnough

Apart from September - when people return to work from their summer holidays filled with renewed vigour and goals - January and February must be the two months that recruiters dread most. Feeling blue after an end to all the Christmas period festivities and fired up with fresh ambition and motivation, this is the time when employees are most likely to be dissatisfied with their job and start looking around for a new one.

For some, it is the kick they need to push themselves up the career ladder, but people should be wary of changing jobs simply for the sake of it.

Simon Mingay, vice-president research director at IT consultancy Gartner, explains, "The new year is a time when people start contemplating their situation, and the grass always looks greener on the other side. Yet, a significant number of people go back to a company they have worked for before - up to 20% - so you have to be honest about what is causing the dissatisfaction."

Mingay says employees with itchy feet should sit down and think seriously about what it is that they don't like about their job, why and what can be done to change it. "Identify what it is that you want to change - is it the environment? The job? A long commute?"

If you can pinpoint what it is that you don't like then you need to think about speaking to your manager to see if it can be addressed.

According to Gartner research, the happiest workers are those who claim to have a good relationship with their managers, whereas the least happy workers have bad relationships with their managers. Mingay believes many employees would be surprised to discover how open employers are to accommodating their ambitions and needs - as long as they are within reason.

"Most employers, and particularly in IT, are desperate to keep people and are prepared to be flexible on an individual basis, whether it is reducing stress, workload, changing the environment or whatever," he says.

Any IT professionals who want to move into a different area of IT should consider whether they can do so with their current company.

Where feasible, a good employer should be prepared to re-skill an employee for a different role within a company rather than lose that person altogether. It will also be much easier to find a job in the field you want to work in if you already have proven experience in that area, particularly if you want to work in e-business.

However, before you go marching into your manager's office with a wish list, you also need to think about what those changes would mean to the company.

While your manager will hopefully take your opinions onboard, they will also have to think about how this will affect the department and company. You will strengthen your case if you can show how any changes would benefit the company.

Imogen Daniels, advisor at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, explains, "Sell it to the manager as a plus for the company as well as for yourself. When you schedule some time in with your manager, you should perhaps let them know beforehand what you want to discuss so that they are prepared as well."

Top job tips

  • Work out exactly what it is that you like and dislike about your job

  • Think about how your role could be changed to suit your career ambitions

  • Make sure your career direction and your company direction are aligned

  • Tell your manager how the changes will benefit them and the company

  • Read more on IT jobs and recruitment