Recently in my role as a Third Party Recruiter for the Plastics Industry, I have run across what seems like an epidemic of people leaving their jobs in order to find a better job. Not being employed while looking for a job might have okay in the late ’90s, but this is 2007 and things have changed. Companies are much more selective about who they hire than they were about 17 years ago in spite of the Government “statistics” (lies, damn lies and statistics) to the contrary. If you have a great resume and good contacts in the industry, getting a new position is not too difficult but anyone with multiple job changes in the last few years (often through no fault of their own) and limited contacts is finding job searching much more difficult than they imagined.
One individual I talked with recently left her job because she had not received a pay raise in the last two years and she “had to pay the rent”. The problem is that when she left the job she did not have another position. Now she has been out of work for several weeks and cannot understand why recruiters and job boards cannot find her another job. Unfortunately, being out of work and a couple of job jumps recently makes helping her find a new position very difficult. Another job seeker I talked to has been out of work for several months and he said “I would not have left my job if I had known finding another would prove so difficult”. He had a very good job but became disenchanted with his company and decided he wanted to leave to provide more time to seek a new employer. He has had 20 plus interviews but no offers.
Leaving a job to devote ones self to finding a new one sounds good but too much time on ones hands can work against you, especially if desperation sets in. Interviewers, like sharks, can smell blood in the water and that can really work against the interviewee. The job seeker can also become too aggressive when search for a position and alienate the very people he needs help from. My advice is; if the job is not totally broke, don’t leave until you find another position.
There really is enough time in the day when you are still working to search for a position especially in this era of cell phones. Even if you get caught looking for a new job and are fired, I believe being fired while looking for a new job sounds better than leaving a job to devote more time to finding a new job. My grandfather worked for the Nickel Plate Railroad and when I was young it always seemed like he was out on strike. The strike would finally end and he would get $.10 more per hour after being on strike for weeks and it would be years before he would achieve any real benefit from that raise because of all the pay checks lost while he was out on strike. I never understood the economics of leaving a good paying job just to try to make a little more money then, and I certainly don’t now.