by Meridith Levinson

The Bad Job: Do You Stay or Do You Go ASAP?

Nov 18, 2009

As bad as your job may be, you may need to wait until hiring rebounds and you're in a stronger position to negotiate higher pay.

Approximately one in four IT professionals are unhappy with their compensation, according to Computerworld‘s 2009 Salary Survey. Dissatisfaction with their earnings is the leading reason IT professionals polled by Computerworld would consider taking a new job.

That’s no surprise, considering the cuts companies have made to employees’ salaries, bonuses and benefits over the past 12 months. The question is, if you’re unhappy with your job or your compensation—and you can’t tender your resignation fast enough—do you take a good job that presents itself, say, within in the next three months, or do you wait for the economic recovery to really take hold?

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s define a good job as one that you’d enjoy doing, that suits your skills and expertise, and that’s with an employer whose culture seems equally well-matched. But maybe the compensation associated with this job isn’t where you’d like it to be.

As bad as your current employment/compensation situation may be, you may be better off sticking it out until hiring rebounds and you’re in a stronger position to negotiate a higher salary with prospective employers.  

Nancy Keene, a director in executive search firm Stanton Chase International’s Dallas office, says employers are low-balling the salaries associated with positions they’re currently trying to fill. “Some companies see this as a great opportunity [to get talent at a discount],” she says. “They might get a 10 to 15 percent discount off of what someone was making before [the recession].” (Check out Keene’s smart blog, The Perfect Fit.)

If the purpose of your move is to earn more money, you might just have to sit tight, as uncomfortable as that seat may be, because you may not be able to get more money from a new employer right now, or even over the next three to six months. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from looking if you’re unhappy.  

Are you in a situation where you’re fed up with your job or your compensation and you’d like to find something new ASAP? Or are you going to wait to start looking until the economy rebounds?