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Seven situations when it’s a bad idea to look for a new job

It’s not always a good idea to start looking for a new job opportunity. Stepping out into the job market can be both exciting and daunting, but it’s also time-consuming and could potentially be an emotionally draining experience.

Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – there are plenty of situations when putting yourself out into the job market would be a bad move.

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1. You hate your new boss

If there’s a new guy in charge who rubs you up the wrong way, you lose your “advocates” within the firm and working life becomes a lot more difficult, this shouldn’t be an impetus to up sticks, said Linda Jackson, managing director of outplacement firm 10Eighty. “Try to work through your differences, or try not to let it get you too stressed out. If it comes up in interview, it’s difficult not to talk about it without appearing bitter and twisted.”

2. You’re going through a rough patch

Harnessing negative emotions is not a good way to kick start your job search. If you’ve had a bad week or couple of months at work, or are going through some upheaval in your personal life, it’s a bad time to start looking for a new opportunity. “You’re not in a balanced state of mind, and knee-jerk responses are not good for your career,” said Simon North, co-founder of careers coaching service Position Ignition.

3. You have been seduced by a headhunter

If you’re relatively happy in your current position, and have your head turned by a canny headhunter offering an alluring position, you may wish to think twice. If you haven’t been considering a move previously, have both job security and steady career progression, why switch? “The job may offer more money, but it’s not always what you want,” said North. “Opportunities come and go, but it may not be the best time to move and you could regret it.”

4. You are unrealistically ambitious  

Your employer has yet to recognise your genius and give you the promotion you thoroughly deserve, so it’s therefore obviously time to move on to a company that will. This typical generation Y attitude – that time served should automatically result in advancement – could lead to a flighty CV, said Jackson. “There’s always going to a period consolidating your knowledge and treading water until a new opportunity arrives. Don’t just leave for the sake of it – have a realistic assessment of your own worth before leaving for the next job.”

5. You want a better work-life balance

Fine, you’re getting a little older, or family commitments mean you need shorter or more flexible hours, but this shouldn’t be your main motivation for moving. “It’s an awkward one to convey. A lot of investment banks aren’t overly flexible on working hours, so trying to make this clear during interview can be a touchy subject,” said Jackson.

6. You just want something different

Doing something different won’t provide a launch pad for your career, if you don’t have any direction. Too many people take a new job for a change of scene, without thinking long term, said North. “If you have no plan B, and don’t know what you want to do next, getting into a competitive job market without a clear idea of the direction you want to take is counter-productive,” he said.

7. You’re expecting a counter-offer

If you want a pay rise, there are better ways to go about it than threatening to exit. Research – admittedly largely be recruitment firms who have a vested interest in discouraging counter-offers – suggests that those who receive them typically leave anyway after around a year, and that they can often cause bad blood with your current employer.

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