Along with buzzwords like “pandemic” and “coronavirus” that have skyrocketed in use over the last few years, “career change” is also a noteworthy phrase that has been on the minds (and Google search histories) of many Americans. In fact, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll, nearly a third of employees under the age of 40 have considered a career change since the beginning of the pandemic. From a desire to have more flexibility in their career to a reevaluation of their values and priorities, people are changing or considering changing careers for a whole host of reasons, executive-level employees included.
But while career changes usually hinge on things like salary, benefits, and the level of interest a person has in the work they are doing, high-level executive employees may be affected by an entirely different set of unique factors. In today’s competitive job market, it is not enough to simply be able to do the job. Employers are looking for executives who can provide a unique perspective and bring something new and innovative to the table. This is why it’s so important for a high-level employee to find their niche, i.e., to tap into the unique strengths and skills they possess that make them indispensable.
That said, a few factors can stand in the way of someone finding his or her niche in the workplace, including a lack of upward mobility, a lack of autonomy, and conflicting viewpoints with fellow executives. Each of these serves as a barrier that can be difficult or even impossible to break through. Do any of these things sound familiar? If so, it might be time for you to begin planning your next move.
We know it’s easier said than done. As an executive or other high-level employee, you have dedicated yourself to developing your skills and climbing the corporate ladder. A career change can be a big decision, and it’s important to carefully consider all your options before making a move. One thing to keep in mind is that you may not be able to find a comparable position at another company. That’s why it’s important to carefully think about what it is that you really want in your next role. Do you desire more responsibility? Do you want to manage a team? Looking for a different work/life balance? The opportunity to work in a new industry? More company ownership? Switching locations? Looking for a role with higher compensation potential? Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you can start looking for positions that fit your criteria. Keep in mind that a career change can be a great opportunity to take your career in a new direction, and with careful planning, you can make the transition smoothly and set yourself up for success in a new role.
Here are some factors to consider to ensure as seamless a transition as possible.
Overall Compensation: Yes, salary is obviously important, but as a high-level employee, it’s quite possible that salary isn’t top of mind for you. Instead, you might be focused on stock options and company equity. There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering taking a job that offers stock options instead of a higher salary. First, it’s important to understand the vesting schedule. Many companies have a four-year vesting period, with a one-year cliff at the outset. This means that you won’t be able to access all your options until you’ve been with the company for at least four years. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that options are only valuable if the company performs well. If a company unexpectedly underperforms, your options may be less valuable or even worthless. With that said, taking a job with stock options can be a great way to boost your earnings potential if everything goes according to plan. Just be sure to do your due diligence and weigh all of the risks before making a decision!
Retirement Benefits: When you’re thinking about long-term quality of life, financial security is undoubtedly a key player. Therefore, it’s important to consider how you will save for retirement. Many employers offer 401(k) plans as a way for employees to save for the future. However, depending on your financial situation, there may be other options that are more beneficial for you. A financial professional can explain alternatives, such as IRAs, qualified investment accounts and health savings accounts. It’s important to have someone who’s knowledgeable and can guide you through the different options available. With careful planning, you can make sure that you are prepared for a quality retirement.
Workplace Culture: Most people spend a large portion of their day at work (either in person or virtually), so it makes sense that employees would want to be in an environment that feels like a good fit. A good way to gauge whether a company might be a good match is to read reviews from current and former employees or set up meetings with a few of them. Another way to assess fit is to look at the company’s values and see if they align with your own personal values. While compensation may be less of a factor, many executives yearn for a career that is more personally rewarding, either by making a more direct impact or searching for a new challenge that aligns with personal interests. Ultimately, taking the time to find a company with a culture that matches your personal life culture is worth it—you’ll be happier and more satisfied with your work.
Make a Seamless Transition with Treehouse Wealth Advisors
At Treehouse, we have ample experience working alongside innovators and creators in sectors such as health, technology, and education. As a team of individuals who are dedicated to helping clients achieve well-lived, meaningful lives, we understand that life doesn’t always—okay, usually doesn’t—present us with a straight path, and sometime making a drastic change is the best option. Whatever your career change goals include, we’re prepared to help chart the path to guide you there.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for a second opinion!
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