The job market has endured a lot of upheaval in the past two years but, for now, it is being firmly driven by candidate availability.

In the world of accountancy, there are far more opportunities in Public Practice than people who are looking for a new challenge.

It is fabulous news for ambitious, skilled professionals who can present themselves well. They have a pick of fantastic positions, and a new job offer is never far away, but this can also become a slightly double-edged sword.

After 20 years working in the North East recruitment market, right now, when a good candidate reaches out to me and is sure they want to move, quite often I can help them to secure a job offer within a matter of days. And for many, this is far too fast.

From the time they decided to start looking to when they receive the offer, they haven’t had the time to feel like they have explored their options properly and, while I would only put them forward for something I think fits with what it is they said they wanted, moving jobs is a big decision and they need to be sure the offer is the right one for them.

When speaking to people about this, I always ask them to consider several different elements before making their decision:

1. Firstly, take a moment to make sure you have enough information to be able to make a choice. Have you researched the company thoroughly? Did you ask all of the questions you wanted to at the interview? Once a role has been offered, don’t be afraid to ask for further information. You could even arrange to go into the office for a tour so you can get a feel for the place and culture. At this stage, you are in the driving seat, so do whatever it takes to give you the peace of mind you need.

2. Be honest with yourself and discuss any doubts you have, however small they seem, with the business, your recruiter, or family and friends.

3. Once you have an offer, go back to your original reasons for leaving your current role. Consider carefully whether you are satisfied that the new job and business is going to meet your objectives.

4. It is very easy to get carried away with the financials. A great offer may sway your decision making, but try to remember that salaries can change, especially if you are in the right company and doing a good job.

5. Think about the long-term. Do you want progression and if so, is there a path in place for you? What is it that you ultimately want to achieve, and how will having this experience on your CV influence your options in three to five years?

6. Try not to be too influenced by emotions. You must put yourself at the centre of the decision-making process and think practically, as the impact of your happiness at work has an enormous bearing on so much of your life.

7. We all have the best of intentions when it comes to work-life balance but will the new role give you the balance you want? If not, do the benefits outweigh the sacrifice?

8. A little compromise can sometimes be okay, providing that it aligns with your bigger picture and goals. This is particularly useful to remember if you are considering a number of different offers at once.

Above all else, a new career move should excite you. That’s why I would also say don’t be afraid to listen to your gut a little too. You know yourself better than anyone so, if it feels right deep down, and the rational analysis checks out, then it’s time to make the change.

At this time of year, my work and life tend to become especially hectic, and I don’t think I’m alone.

For many people, the nearer we edge toward the sanctuary of a well-earned festive break, the more this most wonderful time of the year transforms into one of the most stressful.

Whether it’s linked to the pressure of sales targets, the financial year-end, or the need to lock down new budgets and plans, the calendar’s end never fails to instigate a deep desire in people to clear any outstanding jobs and tick them off their list before they can even begin to contemplate relaxing.

This year, when you add into the melting pot two years of constant change, irregular holidays, the blurred work-life boundaries created by homeworking, and the pressure of organising a magical Christmas at home, it is all too easy to see why December and January are the months that carry the highest risk of people burning out or losing the enthusiasm to work for their current employer.

What can you do to help yourself?

A certain level of stress may be unavoidable but, even if you are working long hours, burnout is preventable.
Firstly, there are some common warning signs you should look out for, including an increasing number of errors at work, higher than usual levels of anxiety and worry, being constantly tired, or becoming disengaged and moody.

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to sprinkle a little bit of joy back into your life. Start by stepping off the daily treadmill, even if only for a short time, to look after your health and well-being:

  • Exercise

Not only is exercise good for physical health, but it is also good for mental health and gives a positive emotional boost.

  • Eat Well

Eating healthily and, if possible, including foods in your diet that act as natural antidepressants, like those rich in Omega-3, can also help to lift your mood.

  • Get some sleep

Resting your body and resetting your mind is essential for your welfare, and that means getting into a healthy and regular sleep routine.

  • Ask for help

During stressful times, it’s so important to reach out for help when you need it and share your problems instead of burying them and letting them build.

I know it’s not easy – and I need to take a lot of this advice myself – but these four widely accepted pieces of wisdom should help to navigate you safely to the Christmas break.

If you still feel unhappy, however, the holidays also offer the momentary pause you need to reflect, and I would start with four key questions; where you are, what is important to you, where do you want to be, and are you happy with the balance between home, family, work, and time for yourself.

They are big questions, so you must be brave and honest with yourself. If you struggle, try chatting openly with family and friends, and thinking about what makes you truly happy. The answers to what you do next won’t be far away from there.

Personally, I like to use the downtime Christmas brings to be with my family and plan for the new year by creating lists and setting new goals and routines. This helps me to be clear about what it is I want to achieve in the coming months and how I plan to make it happen.

This year, I have a feeling it could lead to introducing and sticking to some new work-life boundaries, but whatever it means for you, don’t be afraid of change. It is always better to try something new than settle for something that doesn’t make you happy. Not many people regret making a choice, but plenty regret doing nothing at all.

Millions of people around the world are re-evaluating their working lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commonly known as the ‘Great Resignation’, this growing movement of reflection continues to drive record numbers of workers to voluntarily head for the door and join a job market brim-full of labour shortages and rising unemployment.

Should I stay or go?

Many different inspirations can trigger the search for a new job. When compiled by the pressures of a global epidemic, permanent changes to working environments, or even a new appreciation for the ephemeral nature of life, it is no surprise to see so many people reassessing their situation.

Like most things, jobs have ups and downs and, while it is easy to get swept along in a sea of change, here are some thoughts to help you to decide whether it’s the right time to make a change, or not.

  • Know your purpose.

Whatever the catalyst for change, when working out the best way forward, the most important thing to do is to make sure you understand what it is that truly motivates you.

We spend more than half our waking life at work, so getting satisfaction should be the priority. If you aren’t happy then maybe it is time to weigh up your options.

  • Be honest with yourself.

Start by asking yourself questions along the lines of What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What do you like about your current job? What is important to you?

You need to work out what matters most in the long-term and, if you’re lucky enough to match this with your strengths, it should become a lot easier to figure out the direction to your goals.

  • People grow out of even the best jobs.

Sometimes you need a change or a new challenge to reinvigorate yourself, but before you begin to search, make sure you take time to think about your current role, your employer, and your prospects.

Does your company’s ambition match your own? Do you get on with your colleagues? What does your boss think of you? What do you think of your boss?

There’s a lot to be said for being appreciated and trusted in the workplace. If you feel empowered and have autonomy, you need to make sure that will remain if you decide to move on.

  • Work-life balance sometimes requires compromise.

Try to avoid making decisions based purely on money. While it always pays to be aware of your market value and the quality of your total package, sometimes you may have to compromise a little on some of the wider benefits like holiday entitlement, pension payments, or bonuses, if you want to positively affect your overall level of job satisfaction.

That’s not always the case, but key questions to consider should be whether you have flexibility at work? Are you supported when you need it? And what is your current work-life balance like?

  • Think long-term.

No job is completely perfect, so it’s important to think about the bigger picture. Consider the experience you’re gaining, the networks you’re exposed to, and the kudos you get from working where you do. This should all help you understand what to do next.

Is the grass always greener?

The grass is not always greener but if you’re not happy you need to make a change of some kind rather than live with regret.

The decision to move on comes down to knowing what you want and understanding what your employer can offer, so, don’t forget to speak to them and give them the chance to change things.

It could simply be that you’re stuck in a rut and it’s not as bad as it seems once you adopt a more positive approach but, whatever you decide, be confident and don’t be put off by the fear of change because the rewards from finding a job you love can be life-changing.

There can be any number of reasons to kick start a new job search but, whatever the trigger, the most important thing to do is to understand your motivation for change.

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