Last week I offered a question in What Would You Do If You Had a High-Paying, Unrewarding Job? as follows:
What do you do with an unrewarding high-paying position? The so-called "Golden Handcuffs". I've got great benefits and a 401k in an industry where such things are very very rare. However, I have zero job satisfaction and zero potential for advancement. What next?
I let readers address the issue and there were many useful, helpful suggestions. I withheld giving my thoughts for the time being, but thought I'd give them now.
I've actually been in this situation a couple times: good pay but not really enjoying my job. The first time it happened, the job was actually fine for the most part, but I knew it was a dead end and I had to eventually leave. The second was torture. A new boss came in and he was a nightmare. But in both cases I used the same strategy and it worked out great. Here's what I did:
1. I started looking for opportunities immediately. I talked to a few (very few) trusted friends who I knew were connected and could keep quiet. I also ed a couple executive recruiters I'd been in touch with through the years. I even looked at a few job websites off and on (though none of the job I ever applied for online even got me a call back.)
2. I toughed out the current job. I've seen many people hate a job/company/boss so much that they quit without having another job. I would NEVER do this (unless, I guess, my life was threatened or some very unusual circumstance occurred.) I have never seen this strategy work out well for those who did it and many have languished for a few years before finding something else to do. (And since your career is your biggest financial asset, this is a big kick in the gut to your finances.) For me, the pain of not having a job is greater than dealing with a good paying but miserable job.
3. I kept succeeding. In both cases, I had several big accomplishments during the time I decided to look for another job and when I actually took it. Some of these successes actually helped me secure my next position.
4. I took my time. In both cases, it was a two-year process before I got the new job. Yes, I had to deal with a lot in those two years (especially in the second case -- the first was not that bad actually) but it was worth it. I kept earning a decent salary, kept my career in tact, and ultimately ended up with a better-paying job that I liked far better.
Have you ever faced a situation like this? What did you do? Or maybe you're facing one now. What's your game plan for making a change?