I cannot stress this enough: Today, the job market is excellent. It’s the strongest we’ve seen in 50 years! There are more open jobs than people looking for them, and the unemployment rate has been sitting consistently under 4 percent.
Despite all this, I keep running into a phenomenon that boggles my mind: Every day, I hear from people who hate their jobs but aren’t ready to find new ones.
To me, this sounds very counterproductive. If something isn’t right, I’m the type to look for a solution. However, these unhappy employees are busy. They have other commitments and higher priorities to which they need to attend right now. They’re not satisfied at work, but they’ll look for new jobs later, when they have a little more time.
I understand the logic behind this approach, but I want to share another perspective. On the job search, most of us think first and foremost of ourselves. That is, our thoughts are focused inward. We think, “I have the right education. I have the right experience. I’m qualified. I am ready for a new job.”
Rarely do we ever think about whether a new job is ready for us. What I mean is this: Every employer’s hiring process is influenced by the job market and the current state of the economy. Even if you’re at the top of your game, if the economy isn’t great, you might just be out of luck. If companies don’t have the resources to hire you, they won’t — no matter how great you are. Just ask anyone who graduated college during a tough economic time. They’ll tell you how hard it can be to find a job even with all the right qualifications.
Alternatively, if the job market is hot, companies may be more flexible with their requirements. This is especially true if there is a shortage of skilled people in your industry — which is the case for many industries right now.
The most important words to note are “right now.” There is no guarantee the job market will stay strong. Experts predict a recession will hit in the next year or two. Some people are already saying the job market is slowing down.
What does this mean for you? If you hate your job, now is the time to act. If you’re too busy to search, it may be time to reprioritize. Otherwise, you may need to decide to live with your job for a few more years if the economy really does slow down.
Job searching is a lot like musical chairs: If you want to find a new gig, you’ve got to find it before the music stops.
A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at Copeland Coaching.