Why did I decided to switch job now?

If I were to describe my job switch to my family, friends and relatives, most of them would think that I must be crazy or even naïve to be switching a job that pays better to one with a lower pay (especially given the times of uncertainties due to COVID-19). Yes, in terms of practicality, they could be right. Although the main objective of having a day job is to ensure a stable income (same for me), I also value the non-compensated aspects of a day job. So, here is the “why” I decided to switch my job:

1 — It’s a necessary trigger to prevent stagnation and complacency

I think one key question that many forget to ask when someone switch their job is “how long have you been in this position?” For me, the answer is over a decade. Within this period, I was promoted twice. One, perhaps, deservingly. While the other, perhaps, conveniently. If others have asked, “If you were to stay, where do you see yourself in another decade?” They would have known the real reason why I left: Because I see myself in the same position. There is no more progression for me. My current boss told me the same during the exit interview.

Being in the same position for over a decade had gained my knowledge and skills that I require for the daily tasks and operations that I have been assigned to. In the beginning, it was exciting and intriguing as everything seems new and challenging. As time passed, I begin to go into “auto-pilot mode” completing the tasks efficiently but, often, subconsciously. In my view, this is a dangerous trend. It is a path that I don’t want to take because it means that I’m getting too comfortable — not really thinking, learning and challenging myself anymore. I’ve seen some who are “stuck” with the organisation because of that. They become too competent with the work in the current organisation context. However, when changes are introduced to ensure the organisation remains competitive, they could not keep up with the change or “exit” the system due to over-specialization (that resulted in uneven compensation when they decide to leave). Given that I value learning and staying curious, I know that it’s time to leave when opportunity arises. And it did.

2 — By leaving for a different sector, you get plenty opportunities to learn, experience and apply what you know in a different context

With a change in environment, I expect to be exposed to processes with different design considerations that are specific to the sector and be exposed to a different perspectives and ways of thinking. It just makes me genuinely excited thinking about that. The things that I could learn would be immense. Not only that, trying to apply my knowledge in a different field would also help to reinforce my understanding, test the applicability, reflect on the outcome, and deepen my knowledge on the discipline. All these come at a cost — a lower compensation and a steep learning curve. To me, the opportunity just outweighs its cost. I rather learn and allow my brain to spin till its content instead of having my brain rot at the mundane operational tasks that I have done so many times in my current job. Well, whether I will be able to adapt to the environment remains an uncertainty until I try. No point thinking too much about that.

3 — As long as I am able to survive with the compensation

In these couple of years, I managed to get out of the poverty cycle that I was originally in. As long as I am confident that I could survive with the compensation, then I see no issue accepting a pay, which could be lower, to satisfy other needs (i.e., learning opportunity, more exposure and experience, and curiosity). It is just that simple to me.

Of course, I am unable to say that my decision is right or wrong as I haven’t even started working at my new job. It will be a while before I reflect back on my decision in weeks, months or years to come. Then again, without taking some risks, how would I know what are other opportunities out there for me to explore and embark in an adventure?

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