Ask Paul: Is now a bad time to change jobs?


Dear Paul,

I have a sort of cost-of-living question. I know the best way to increase my income is to get a new job, but I'm worried about changing jobs in this economy. If I started a new job and they had to make cuts, it would be last in, first out. 

My current job has given me a small CPI increase, but it's not keeping up with inflation.

ask paul clitheroe is now a bad time to change jobs

But I feel there is more stability in this job, as I've been here a few years and I have some paid leave and would get a more generous redundancy payout if my role was eliminated. What would you do? - Toby

Toby, this is an excellent cost-of-living question and absolutely relevant. I probably should have studied more psychology and less economics, but I think we can look at your situation logically.

One thing that is really strong at the moment is employment, though your particular job skills are critical here. We do need to consider your personality - we are all spread over the bell curve, and some of us aggressive, some cautious, a lot in the middle. Where do you sit?

Here you need to know that my bias or my thoughts are only any good for me and may be damaging for you. I am quite conservative. But if I do a risk analysis and see more upside than down, I go for it.

As a 27-year-old many moons ago, I had a good job. But I had an opportunity to start, with four friends, a money business, which we called ipac.

This meant taking no pay for at least a year. But my analysis was that we had a great business plan and every chance of success.

So, I went for it. Ipac was a huge success, but when I made the move I had a great fallback plan. If, after a year, it was not working, I was certain my skills meant I could get another job.

So, that said, you need to look into yourself and your skills and make a risk-and-return decision. Frankly, in your shoes, if I felt my skills were in high demand and I enjoyed change, I'd take an educated risk and make a move.

But before you do anything, you need to be realistic about your area of work, your skills and your view on risk. The trick is to make an educated decision to leave or stay.

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.