While I suspect the majority of my readers out there are between jobs at the moment, given the focus of this blog, I wanted to take a quick detour and pen a short article aimed at sharing some advice for those of you in the working ranks, as well…

Amazingly, what I’m finding is that a lot of people who still have jobs, at present, don’t quite seem to fully appreciate how tough the job market has gotten over the past year.  Job hunters, am I wrong about this?  Seems hard to believe, I know, given the incessant news coverage of the country’s economic issues.  But I make this claim based on the fact that I continue to encounter a steady stream of people who either a) are planning to quit their job because they don’t like it very much or b) are planning to abandon their current line of work in the hopes of making a significant career change.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m only speaking in macro-level generalities here, not pretending that my viewpoint applies to every individual’s unique situation, since there are always special circumstances that can apply in these scenarios.  But on the whole, if you’re a person who is fortunate enough to have a steady income stream in place right now, especially one that carries health insurance benefits, I’d suggest you think extremely long and hard before quitting your job or turning in a resignation note.

Sure, your job might bore you at times.  Or require you to work long hours.  Or perhaps your boss continually asks you to “do him a flavor” and it makes you want to scream, at times.  But on the whole, as frustrating as certain aspects of your current role might be, I’d encourage you to not lose sight of the one precious thing you have in your possession: a steady paycheck.  Try to keep in mind that there are millions of Americans at the moment who have lost their jobs, are struggling to make ends meet, and who would gladly fill your shoes if given the opportunity.  Trust me, they’d gladly put up with “flavor” requests all day long if it meant keeping a roof over their heads or being able to afford their kids’ doctors appointments!

How does this advice apply to the career change scenario I mentioned earlier?  This same dynamic, the shortage of jobs relative to the competition level, has the logical impact of making the process of switching to a new career a lot harder than many people might think.  It can take many, many months right now, after all, to find a job in the exact area where you have proven experience.  How tough do you think it will be if you were to venture into an occupational avenue where you’re a complete underdog, with little-to-no relevant experience under your belt?

I know, I know.  Not the news we all want to hear or talk about.  But having recently come across a number of people who seem ready to quit their jobs, based on what strike me as some fairly minor and cosmetic issues, my suspicion is that a lot of working folks may still not grasp the true state of the marketplace — or how much they’d start missing those automatic bank account deposits every 30 days!  So to these people, I say “don’t be a blindfolded Tarzan.”  When you have a bad day at work, avoid kneejerk reactions, and don’t let go of your current employment vine until you have an even healthier-looking vine swinging up at you, ready for the grasping!

BIG DISCLAIMER:  The one exception to everything I’ve said above?   If your current job is so stressful and demanding that it’s literally ruining your health, than it’s obviously not wise to stay put.  If you’ve got a boss who is subjecting you to massive amounts of emotional abuse, for example, let alone physical/sexual abuse, it’s clearly time to move on–or possibly even to retain legal counsel.  And if you’re working in blatantly unsafe or unhealthy conditions, life’s too short to hang on just for a paycheck.  But there an awful lot of people talking about quitting for reasons that far fall short of these issues, and these are the people to whom I’m directing this post!