By Karina Margit Erdelyi

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Here’s How to Navigate this Scorching Hot Job Market

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Here’s How to Navigate this Scorching Hot Job Market

Hasta la vista baby! Employees have been giving their bosses an earful of goodbyes lately. With so much opportunity beckoning, FOMO is a real thing. Here are some ideas on how to navigate this hypercompetitive market and get what you deserve.

Something surprising happened last month. A record number of workers in the United States—we’re talking an eye-popping 4.3 million—quit their jobs. To contextualize, that’s nearly three percent of the entire American workforce, the highest percentage ever reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It looks like the ‘Great Resignation’ has become the ‘Great Employment Migration.’

The moniker ‘Great Resignation’ came to life this past April, when the number of people leaving their jobs broke records. That record was shattered in July, only to be toppled in August and then again in September. This trend is affecting industries across the board, from tech to hospitality to manufacturing. We are in the grips of a lopsided job market, with millions more job openings than job applicants. The scales are decidedly tipped toward workers—and people are indeed on the move, and opportunity beckons. Perhaps you’ve been wooed by the siren song of opportunity and have FOMO.

There’s a fork in the road: should you stay or should you go? Jump into the interview circuit and secure a new opportunity? – or perhaps leverage a job offer to enhance your position at your current employer — or consider having a conversation before getting on the job search merry-go-round.

When you navigate this job market, treat every interview and negotiation as if your reputation is at stake (honest brokers with clear intentions will be rewarded): You can over-extend yourself with multiple interviews while trying to keep your head above water at work in this hypercompetitive job market – what are you after – time is a currency that no one can afford to waste right now.

Should you stay or should you go? The proper sequence is to do your due diligence upfront, and if your current employer cannot deliver, then explore outside opportunities. Bringing an outside offer to the table is a bit different than putting in a sincere, genuine notice only to be presented with a counteroffer— as well, accepting a counteroffer is generally not advisable for myriad reasons.

Say you scored a tempting, but not perfect, job offer. Do you take it? Do you bring it to your manager? While it can be perceived as a powerful negotiating position, one that you think might net what you desire—more money, a promotion, or the ability to WFH for the long term, it could also backfire calamitously – because if you play the offer –> counteroffer game, you have to be ready to sashay out the door – and then, instead of enjoying the euphoria of getting what you want, you might instead be left with a new job you’re not sure about or hard feelings and elevated expectations if you stay.

Here are some top tips:

+ S.Y.R (Share Your Rationale)

If you’re serious about staying at your current job, you need to have a candid discussion with your employer about your performance and your short + long term goals. Trying to negotiate WFH? Talk about how the pandemic boosted your productivity. Want a higher salary? Point out (delicately) recent accomplishments and ways in which you want to make a greater impact. Want a promotion? Ask your supervisor to define the requirements for securing that next step.

Likewise, if working with a recruiter to secure the next great chapter to your story, be clear about your objectives and motivating factors: industry, location, aspirations for title, compensation — qualify interviews so that time is not wasted.

+ K.I.S.S (Keep it Simple + Smart)

Your manager may not have the unilateral ability to commit to WFH, increase your pay, or confirm a promotion. If they’re going to go to bat for you, keep your pitch pithy and compelling so it doesn’t get diluted when your boss discusses with whoever can make it happen. Likewise, if you are interviewing, communicate clearly a digestible story that showcases your qualifications to succeed in the role.

+ T.I.E (Timing is Everything)

Much of 2020 was a year of survival, while the year of 2021 has become the ‘Great Employment Migration.’ Timing is everything…as well, you should always be an honest broker, and your career objectives should be credible and clear, whether your aim is to maximize opportunity at your current employer, or committing to secure a better opportunity.