by Meridith Levinson

The 5 Ps of Career Management: A Framework for Making Career Decisions

Apr 08, 2011

Five criteria for simplifying the process of determining whether a particular career move is right for you.

Whether you’re considering looking for a new job or evaluating an offer from a prospective employer, the decision to change the course of your career is rarely easy.

That’s why it helps to have a framework for navigating big career decisions. Shawn Banerji, a recruiter with executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates’ information officers practice, advises executives to consider five criteria when assessing a job offer: the position, the people, the platform, the place and the pay.

“Those are the five things you really need to think about when evaluating an opportunity,” says Banerji.

Banerji’s framework, which I call “The 5 Ps of Career Management,” takes the complexity out of career decisions by focusing you on the five points that are most important in determining whether a particular career move is right for you. It is equally useful for trying to decide whether to leave an existing position. And while Banerji gives this advice to executives, it applies to professionals at all levels.

Here is Banerji’s advice for incorporating the 5 Ps into your career decision-making process:

1. Position: To determine whether a position you’re offered is right for you, ask yourself the following questions and make sure you have clear answers to them: What in fact is the role? What are the responsibilities and expectations for it? Who does it report to? Where does it sit in the organization? Based on the responsibilities, expectations, reporting and organizational structure, is the position properly empowered so that you can get things done? Are you confident you can be successful in the role?

2. People: Do you get along with the people you currently work with or with whom you may be working? Banerji notes that since you may be spending more time with your coworkers than your friends and family, you really need to like them.

3. Platform: Do you have a platform where you’re confident you can make a material contribution to the company? Consider the company’s business objectives: Are they going through a turnaround? Growth? Acquisitions or divestitures? Understand how your skills and competencies align with the direction of the business, says Banerji.

4. Place: Where is the job physically located? Does the real estate market in that area make it easy for you to relocate? Will your new employer help you with a move?

5. Pay: Is the reward commensurate with the risk and the contribution you’ll be making?

What criteria do you use to determine whether leaving an existing job is truly worthwhile or whether a particular job offer is right for you?