Are you considering a different job? Before you jump into the job search process, take the time to consider why you want to change jobs.

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Whenever people come to me for coaching to get a new job or change careers, the first question I ask is, “Why do you want to change jobs?”

It sounds like a simple question, but it’s actually pretty complex. It often leads to some soul-searching to discover why they are unhappy and whether changing jobs is in their best interest.

Are you considering a different job? Before you jump into the job-search process, take time to consider why you want to change jobs. Sit down, relax and then write out your list of reasons. Maybe you want a new job because you feel like your manager isn’t supportive of your career development, or you’re bored and want to do something more challenging.

Read through your list. Think deeply about the underlying cause of each issue. If you feel like your manager isn’t supportive of your career development, you might feel like you can’t change this.

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But what if you look at the situation from a different angle? Have you taken the time to define your career goals? Have you created a career-development plan that includes actions you believe are needed to achieve your goals? Have you shared this information with your manager and asked for his or her help and support? What might seem like a reason to look for a different job could turn out to be something within your ability to change.

Sometimes, what you get out of staying in a job can surpass what you would have learned by giving up and looking for new job. Instead of running away from a problem, you may actually gain more from working through the issue. For example:

  • If you want to learn new skills or improve weaknesses, talk with your manager to find out if there is a budget available for you to attend training courses, seminars or classes.
  • If your lengthy commute to work is lowering your quality of life, try negotiating with your boss so you can work from home a few days a week.

No job is perfect, and it’s doubtful that you’ll enjoy every aspect and every minute of your job; people rarely do. But changing jobs isn’t the only answer. The key is to understand why you want to change jobs so you can determine whether it’s in your best interest.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.