Frustrated job seeker

posted in: Job Doc Blog | 0

Q:  I have been in the same role for five plus years.  I feel like there is no where to go in my current company.  Whenever I apply to a posted job, I am told that I am one of many candidates. I can’t quit my current job.  I know others are unhappy here also.

Do you have any advice?

A:   Job-related frustration is more common than you might think. I hear similar complaints from others.  It is difficult to job hunt while maintaining a position at your current employer.  Some reasons for an employee’s frustration include an unreasonable manager, poor opportunities within the company, RTO (return to the office) after working remotely, less than competitive compensation, or the lack of feeling connected to the company’s goals or mission. The current job market is still quite strong, particularly in Massachusetts.  We hear about big company layoffs across the US, however large companies only account for one slice of the “employer pie” in the US.  According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, using the latest data available, there were 6.1M employer firms in the US.  Companies with fewer than 500 employees represented 99.7% of those businesses.  Firms with fewer than 10 employers accounted for just under 80% of those companies.  Small businesses matter. They may not be captured by the media hits, but many are thriving.

However, a few thoughts and/or words of advice:

  • The employment market is fairly strong.  The Mass unemployment rate is just over 3%.  Since the pandemic hit, we have had one of the most significant swings in the unemployment rate.  In April of 2020, the unemployment rate was 16.9% in Massachusetts. The swing from 2020 to 2024 is dramatic!  In Cambridge, the unemployment rate is around 2.5%. Life sciences, biotech and medical device companies are likely a factor in the Cambridge only rate. Some job seekers have found better employment opportunities in countries like Costa Rica. You can check out this article on Discover Pura Vida if you want to learn more about jobs in Costa Rica.
  • It is often easier to land a new job if you are currently working. Prospective employers will ask you why you left your current role, if there is a gap.  Some will be ok with you resigning, and some will question whether you were terminated or unable to continue navigate in your current company, even if the current company is not an ideal employer.
  • Keep an active network so when contacts in your network hear of a new opportunity, they will reach out to you.
  • Be positive and professional in your current role.  It is a very small world in the employment world.  Some day you may need a reference from this company, or someone from your current company.
  • Learn whatever new skills that you can while in your current role.

There is no perfect job, employer or manager.  Every role has downsides.  The market is in your corner though.  Employees have quite a bit of latitude at the moment.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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