should I even consider interviewing somewhere else if I’m happy with my job?

A reader writes:

I am having a personal and professional struggle deciding if I should even entertain the idea of applying for an attractive job when I am fairly satisfied and secure where I am, a position I never found myself in before.

Some context: My education and first few years of professional experience were in media and communications, but I ended up joining the corporate world at Company A, a large, global manufacturer, as a lowly helpdesk tech because, while the field was starkly different, the significantly better pay and benefits immediately improved my life.

I did pretty well, but that success didn’t translate to a meaningful promotion. After years of applying to internal positions and being rejected at the end for lack of more experience, I started to look outside. After nearly four years at Company A, I finally found a good media-related role with Company B, a smaller but very stable business, where I have thrived thanks to a wonderful manager – the best I’ve had by far – and a good team environment where I have grown a lot in a few years.

That is where I am right now: I have a good role with a lot of freedom, a lot of projects, great professional development, good work-life balance, okay benefits, and a manager who I see as an outstanding mentor and professional. Some things could be better – benefits, pay, flexibility – but it’s nothing that makes me complain. There’s been no reason to look at the grass on the other side, and I didn’t, until now.

I received a message from a recruiter back at Company A about a position there, this time in my field, that honestly sounds like a shoo-in for my skills and current experience. I know Company A already, my salary and benefits would be bigger, the role would have a more direct influence and a global scope, and I’d see many work friends who are still there. But I would be going into the unknown in regards to my manager and team in a rather sketchy time in terms of the economy, and I’d be abandoning a manager and team who I am eternally grateful to for giving me the shot I needed to jumpstart my career.

Am I being stupid? Should I just continue to grow where I am and pay no mind to the opportunity? Or is it fine to take a stab at it and get the experience of applying to something without anything to lose?

First and foremost, gratitude is a lovely emotion to have, but it’s no reason to stay in a job. When your manager and company gave you a shot at the position you have now, they weren’t doing you a favor; they hired you because they believed doing so would serve their interests. You owed them your best work in exchange for their faith in you (not to mention your salary), yes, but it sounds like you’ve provided that. You’re not obligated to stick around for longer than is in your best interests. In fact, a good manager (like yours, as you’ve described them) wouldn’t want you to do that; good bosses expect and even want you to move on eventually, when you’re ready to take on something new. In fact, one of the joys of managing people is seeing them grow into new opportunities even when it means losing them from your team.

So please don’t think about this question in terms of what you owe your current manager. You wouldn’t be abandoning her if you left; you would be moving on to the next logical step in your career after offering several years’ good work, which is the normal course of events.

That leaves the question of whether it makes sense to pick an unknown (the new job) over a known quantity you’re pretty happy with (your current one). You will need to choose at some point, but you’re not there yet. You won’t need to answer that question until Company A offers you a job; at this stage, you’re just contemplating interviewing. If there’s any part of you that’s intrigued by the opening and thinks it could be a good fit, it makes sense to take the interview and learn more. There’s no point in preempting the opportunity before you’ve had a chance to talk with them.

Go on the interview, meet the manager, talk through the role, and get more information before you let yourself feel any pressure to decide one way or the other. In fact, one of the nice things about interviewing when you’re not desperate for an offer is that it’s a lot easier to conduct a clear-eyed assessment of a job’s potential fit. You should always consider it part of your role in interviews to interview your interviewer right back, to ask hard questions and really think critically about whether the job is one you want and would thrive in, but that’s a lot easier to do when you would be perfectly happy to stay where you are. So you’re in a good position!

Plus you have an advantage in knowing the company and still having friends there. A new job will always come with risks (the manager could be a nightmare, the role might be poorly thought through, the hours atrocious), but you’ll be able to mitigate some of those risks by using your connections to get the inside scoop about the team, the manager, and the role itself. Your contacts are much more likely to give you the dirt than they would be with someone they didn’t know.

Once you’ve interviewed and talked to other people there, you’ve reached the point where it makes sense to begin measuring the new job against your current one. You’re likely to find it a lot easier to do that after you’ve done that information gathering because you’ll have substantive, concrete data points informing your decision. There will still be some uncertainty in making a move — that’s always the case when you change jobs — but all this research will leave you well equipped to decide.

And keep in mind that there can be risks to staying where you are, too: Your skills or your wages could stagnate, your manager could leave next month and someone less wonderful could replace her, your company could have layoffs, and on and on. That’s not to discount the security of already being in a job you’re happy with — or the risk of leaving one you like for one you could end up unhappy in — but it might make you feel less trepidation about giving new opportunities genuine consideration when they come along.

Originally published at New York Magazine.

{ 70 comments… read them below }

  1. Nesprin*

    Applying from a position of strength is great!
    You can afford to be picky about role, salary/benefits and ensuring new team would be a good fit for you. At worst, you interview and decide that the role isn’t right for you, and at best, you get a new opportunity to grow and excel!

    1. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

      This! When I interviewed for my current job, I was temping, but it was a good long term-ish assignment that had an easy commute and paid decently. I really think that helped me during the interviews – I wasn’t coming from a place of desperation (for once!). If I got the job, great! If I didn’t get the job, well, I would just stay where I was. I really had nothing to lose.

  2. Sloanicota*

    In my mind the salary is the biggest factor to take seriously. Money can do a lot for us in our society, while prestige comes and goes. In your place, OP, I’d write down right now the number it would take to get you to be happy to take on this risk, salary-wise, plus the weeks of leave, the kind of benefits you need. Keep that number in your pocket and, if you are invited to interview and ultimately offered the role, don’t take anything less than that. We are clearest-eyed before the sunk cost fallacy kicks in after lots of trials and interviews and kind of sell us on this goal.

    1. Prorata*

      Actually, last job fired me for their suspecting I went on an interview, which I had.

      Claimed I misreported a loss……a claim with absolutely no basis in reality.

      Even used that claim on my separation notice to Unemployment.

      30 days and 27% pay increase later, started a much better job, working for much better people.

      The moral of the story is yes, in some states, you can lose your job for going on an interview.

      1. Festively Dressed Earl*

        Good riddance to the old job. I’m betting it wasn’t exactly a gem even before you interviewed.

      2. Lenora Rose*

        Okay – Ethical, non scummy jobs cannot fire you for going on an interview.

        I am so sorry you went through that.

      3. Kevin Sours*

        On the other hand, if that’s the situation you are in the answer is yes you could be looking for a new position.

  3. Peanut Hamper*

    It never hurts to interview. You may find out that you are not as happy at your current company as you think you are. Or, you may find out that you are far happier than you think are.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I suppose it *can* hurt to interview, if the company ends up feeling that you wasted their time / weren’t serious about the role, or if you do a really bad job and make a poor impression (I did this once and burned that bridge for sure!) or if your current company finds out and feels “betrayed” or your current boss stops thinking of you as a future leader because she thinks you’re one foot out the door. Of those possibilities, the poor impression is arguably within your control, and the other two are other people’s errors that you can’t do anything about. So, proceed with the interview OP :D

  4. E*

    I am going through this right now. No real complaints about the job I’ve had for the past few years, but recruiters kept contacting me. I spoke with one, mostly to make sure my pay was still in line with other places. I gave a long and specific list of things a place would need in order for me to consider leaving. The recruiter had something she thought was a good fit, the company presented an offer but I decided to stay where I was. A couple weeks later they came back with a significantly higher offer along with some other concessions like working remotely and an expanded more interesting role. I took the job which ended up an almost 50% pay increase and a step up from my current role. Being in this situation is probably the best way to interview, since you aren’t eager to leave there’s no downside if it isn’t what you looking for. if nothing else it’s a chance to benchmark your salary against the rest of the market and gain some networking for the future.

    1. Sloanicota*

      The networking is not to be overlooked! I’m pretty sure someone I know interviewed with my old company just to get to know them better, which was a business advantage at the time. What better way to understand how an organization sees itself, positions itself, and what they are currently struggling with? Plenty of people on this site have gotten jobs from people they started interviewing with for other roles that didn’t pan out.

      1. E*

        No. it was hard to leave my old job as I liked the people I worked with but the new position allows me to gain experience in a different area of my industry. This was actually a big consideration for me since the more I know the easier it is to avoid potential issues with any future economic downturns. My industry was hit hard in the early 2000s recessions so anything to make myself more marketable is a plus.

        1. irene adler*

          Thank you for responding!
          Yeah, leaving a set of co-workers that I enjoy working with is something I’m struggling with right now. I keep telling myself to separate the emotional from the business (logical). But I need to take the leap to prevent career stagnation. And all the ugly that goes with that. Gonna keep your words in mind when I get weak.

          1. Alanna*

            This would be the biggest thing keeping me at my current job — I like the work, but I could do similar work elsewhere; I love the people. I try to remember, though, that while I know they like me a lot too, ultimately people have to do what’s best for themselves. The co-workers you like could end up leaving for their own reasons in a year or two. Staying yourself is no guarantee that they’ll stay too.

    2. mli25*

      I have done a version of this. My current job is…fine. Good pay, good people, little challenging work, not so great client. I have talked to recruiters that have come knocking. I try to get some basic questions/non-negotiables answered before agreeing to a phone call (remote work, salary, not a contract, etc). I have turned down a couple of offers because they weren’t right for me. It’s delightful to be in that position.

  5. HR Exec Popping In*

    I believe everyone should always keep themselves open to new opportunities. That doesn’t mean you have to accept a new job, but be open to exploring other opportunities. The reason I encourage this is that I would prefer employees make a conscious choice to work where they do. Not just stay at an employer because it is easier. So continue to talk with company A and see if you like the opportunity if and when they make the offer.

    And everyone – please always keep your resume up to date and go ahead and apply to jobs once in a while. Even if you are happy where you are. It is good to understand the labor market and your options.

    1. rayray*

      I agree.

      In my current job, I think most people in my department are either just working to get by till they figure something else out or they’ve just gotten comfortable and don’t want to bother figuring anything else out. I swear, everyone here has either been here 7+ years or less than 3.

      Many people were laid off the past year, and many of them were people I would not have expected at all and I don’t think they did either. I think it’s good to always keep that resume updated and to be open to different opportunities, whether you get laid off or just eventually end up stagnant. I think a lot of people here could do better honestly, just find jobs that pay better, are more challenging, and have an actual trajectory cause this company doesn’t offer a lot of growth.

  6. Lacey*

    Everything Alison said is true. I’d also add, even if you don’t end up wanting the job at all, it’s nice to keep those interview skills sharp for when the job you do want comes along.

  7. Polar Vortex*

    The beauty of applying is it forces you to take a deep look at everything. A deep look about the pluses and minuses of your current job. The make or breaks of what you’d need to see to leave your job vs what you could live without. What you’re currently comfortable with but won’t be comfortable with 5 years down the line as your life changes – eg I like flexibility now because my kids are very young but once they’re older I’d rather have higher pay and less flexibility so I can afford the eating habits of teenagers.

    It also lets you assess yourself. Writing a resume let’s you review who you are and what you bring to the table. It makes you know your worth, and can be eye opening when you’ve just been settling because of earlier instability. It refreshes skills you haven’t had to use – selling yourself, interviewing, etc.

    Nobody says you have to accept a position, but it’s well worth applying to other places every so often to get the benefits from above. Worst case scenario you find out you’re really happy where you are at and you waste a few hours writing a resume and interviewing. Best case you get a dream job at a dream company.

  8. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    One think jumped out at me: “a manager who has been a great mentor to me.”

    Your manager invested in you. Don’t be afraid to use that investment.
    You can turn down the job, but don’t turn down the chance.

    1. ENFP in Texas*

      “You can turn down the job, but don’t turn down the chance.”

      That’s an amazing way to put it!!

    2. allathian*

      Yes, this!

      A friend of mine had a job she’d previously loved and a manager she liked, respected, and admired. In one of her 1:1s with her manager she told her that she was ready for new challenges. When her manager realized that there were no opportunities for advancement for my friend at their company, she basically said that if my friend ever needed a reference, she’d be happy to provide one. As a result, my friend was able to look for a new position without having to hide it from her manager, and she soon got a great stretch job. When my friend’s new company was hiring a little later, she recommended her former manager who got hired as a director.

  9. L-squared*

    My advice, always have a conversation.

    Worst case scenario, you spend 30 minutes or so on a call and decide its not for you. Maybe you find out its a great role. Maybe the role isn’t great, but you make a new contact who will keep you in mind for the future. Either way, it doesn’t really hurt to talk to people and hear them out.

  10. goducks*

    I’m going to offer an alternate take. There’s a lot of thinking on this site that one should be ever seeking to move up, to earn more, to do more and that anything else is doing yourself a disservice.
    In my opinion, if you are happy where you are at, that’s a fine thing to be. You don’t have to be open to new opportunities all the time. Liking where you are is a fine way to be, even if you could be earning more or advancing elsewhere. And you don’t need to defend your decision to pass the opportunity if you’re not really interested in moving no matter what. Life is short, do what feels right, what makes you happy.

    1. Polar Vortex*

      I don’t disagree with you in that people can be happy in the role they’re in and don’t need to always move elsewhere. I do think sometimes exploring options helps solidify that decision and that you’re staying for valid reasons instead of things like imposter syndrome or feeling like you owe your company not to leave it. Different benefits are useful at different times in our lives.

      But I would challenge the earn more concept you mention a bit. Although not necessarily a problem in every company, in many you can only get paid your worth by challenging your current worth. (Some countries you get offers to get your counter offers to raise your salary, some the only way to get more money is to go outside your current company.)

      Not that money is the end all be all, but it’s often argued that we shouldn’t consider money or money doesn’t buy happiness, and that comes from a place of financial security. And that’s a luxury for many people. Earning more can mean the difference in living pay check to paycheck vs being able to put away for retirement. It can mean the difference between renting and home ownership. The opportunity to afford kids or to give those kids opportunities we never had. The terror of losing your job and losing everything. It’s the difference between stress and security. Our dreams and what we have to live with in our realities.

      I know you likely didn’t mean it this way, but given how often managers and companies like to tout how it shouldn’t be about the money while their workers are screwed over and they can jetset around the world, I’m hoping people ban it from their vocabulary.

      1. E*

        Completely agree with you about the money. Money isn’t everything, but there is a lot to be said for being able to not worry as much either. My household isn’t rich but we are comfortable and it has made a huge difference with the amount of stress housing and food inflation would have caused if things were tighter.

        1. Polar Vortex*

          It’s my deepest desire that someday everyone will have a comfortable level for pay, living through financial insecurity is demoralizing, depressing, and terrorizing. It’s why realistic minimum wages across all jobs that meet cost of living (not just some jobs and excluding people like waiters) is extremely important.

          I’m eternally grateful for the managers who have advocated for atypical raises for me vs the one who during the great recession said I got a 25 cent raise then just laughed and said no it’s actually 10 cents, haha funny joke isn’t that great? Like being a full time employee at 6.75 an hour with 1 day of PTO for the year and still not making my bills was something they could laugh about and I had to laugh along lest I lose my crappy job.

          1. Chirpy*

            This, the last time my company did an employee satisfaction survey, they got a large percentage of people who said “what would make this a great place to work instead of just decent is mainly that we don’t get paid enough” and then we got to listen to someone from corporate (who probably makes 6 figures) come and tell us (who mostly average $9-16 an hour when a living wage is ~ $20 here) that we just “need to take pride in our work, money isn’t everything”. Ugh.

            1. Polar Vortex*

              I am so sorry. That’s terrible, and exactly what way too many of us have experienced in life.

    2. Kevin Sours*

      Sure. But OP isn’t saying everything is perfect, in fact they say “some things could be better”. And the question isn’t “should I take the job” it’s “should I take the interview”. The reality is if you are asking yourself “should I take the interview” the answer is almost always yes. Because when the answer is no you won’t even think to ask.

  11. ENFP in Texas*

    “I’d be abandoning a manager and team who I am eternally grateful to for giving me the shot I needed to jumpstart my career”

    Remember that this is a BUSINESS decision, not a PERSONAL one. Yes, they were helpful and you appreciate that, but you should not stifle your future growth out of a sense of obligation to them.

    To be honest, if the company you’re with thought cutting your position would be better for the company in the long run, they’d do it. Your manager might feel bad about it, but they’d do it.

    Do what is right for you and your long-term goals and satisfaction.

    1. Book lover*

      The first thing a good manager learns is that people leave. Sure, she’d have to replace you, but that’s her job.

    2. Alanna*

      Don’t be more loyal to your managers and team than they would be to you. If an opportunity came along that would be a great fit for one of them, they wouldn’t — and shouldn’t — stay out of concern for your career.

  12. I like hound dogs*

    Ooh, tough call. I’d definitely come down on the side of going to the interview; you can always drop out of the process or graciously turn down an offer. That said, I’ll share my experience.

    In grad school, I worked for a literary magazine and really liked my experience there. I told my husband that the managing editor’s job was my dream “someday” job. When I graduated, I decided I didn’t want to pursue an academic/teaching job and got hired as an editor at an ad agency. It was great! It didn’t pay that well, but I loved the work and the people, and it suited my talents and temperament.

    Then it was announced that the current managing editor of the lit mag was moving on, and I was invited to apply (!) I did, excitedly, and got the job. I was pretty pumped because paying positions at lit mags are rare, and it was in the city I was already living in at the school where I did my degree.

    But then, guess what?! I hated working there! It was too high-stress with a toddler, and the office policies and procedures were a mess, AND I just … didn’t like managing a team of four. At all. I’d had a nagging feeling that quitting my agency job was the wrong move, but the opportunity seemed too good to pass up.

    So I quit two weeks in and went back to my agency job, where I happily remained for several more years. I think I always knew in my gut that was what I wanted, but it was too hard to turn down the prestige and pull of a job I always thought I’d wanted. Tbh it was pretty embarrassing and I’m sure people gossiped about why I quit so suddenly, but … oh well.

    1. allathian*

      Chalk it up to life experience. You learned something about what you truly value rather than what you thought you should value. It’s a very valuable lesson, and I’m glad that you were able to go back to your agency job.

      I’m very lucky that I work for the government in Finland, because if you switch from one government job to another, your old employer is required to offer you your old job back if you leave voluntarily during your probationary period, which is usually 4-6 months. This just happened on my team, someone we hired last fall decided to return to their old job a few weeks before their probationary period was up.

  13. Bronze Betty*

    I agree with what others have posted and will just add that it’s a good idea to interview even if you like where you are. It’s a good opportunity to go through the experience of an interview without the pressure of really wanting/needing a new job, so that you know what you need to do when you are definitely looking: what were your strengths/weaknesses during that interview; what did you forget to ask; how might you better prepare, etc.

  14. MendraMarie*

    I’m going through this right now, but within the same company (opportunity to move to an entirely different, if tangentially connected, role and department). It (usually) doesn’t hurt to have the conversation – and the way I’ve phrased it to my current manager is “I will miss you terribly – but that’s not enough reason to say no.”

    Also think about the difference between comfort/contentment and challenge. It’s not a bad thing to be comfortable and content in your role – but if you want challenge, then after a certain point the only way to do that is to move on.

    Good luck!

  15. MxBurnout*

    “I’d be abandoning a manager and team who I am eternally grateful to for giving me the shot I needed to jumpstart my career.”

    (1) Passing up an opportunity to see about maybe thinking about advancing a career that they helped you “jumpstart” seems a strange way to honor their support of you!
    (2) You may have warm and personal relationships with your manager and your team, but this is a business decision, and you don’t owe your manager or your team some undefined period of loyalty/appreciation just because they hired and invested in you, which they did not do because you are a nice person who they get along with, but because it made financial and business sense to do so. You being talented/smart/skilled is a *benefit to them and to the business* that they are paying for, not a favor you’re doing out of the goodness of your own heart because they’ve been kind to you. You owe them professionalism and work commensurate with your compensation, and nothing else.

  16. learnedthehardway*

    You should do the interview. You don’t know enough yet to know whether or not to be really interested. You might find out for sure in an interview that yes – this is a really great opportunity/company that you really want to work for. Or, you might find out for sure that it’s not really all that and a bag of chips, after all. You won’t know, though, if you don’t interview.

    Just be upfront that you’re happy in your current role and company, but that the role / company seems compelling enough to find out more.

    Since you’ve been at your current company for a few years now, it’s a good time to think about your next career steps, find out if you’re paid at market rates, etc. etc.

    It would be another thing if you definitely were NOT interested, but since you’re intrigued, that’s a good interest level to start out with.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, I really agree with your last sentence. Just being slightly intrigued is a good enough reason to interview, IMO. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being happy where you are and not to be continuously looking for new challenges, but this LW is at least intrigued by the interview offer.

      This case’s even more intriguing because the LW has worked for this company before and they’d have an opportunity to reconnect with old coworkers who are still there. They left their previous job there because it was a dead end, but the new position sounds like it’d be right in their wheelhouse, given the new skills they’ve learned at their current job.

      So yes, in this case I’d say that interviewing would be a good idea.

      Gratitude is all very well, but leaving a job is simply a business decision.

  17. Sweet Clementine*

    I was in your position, OP, a few months ago. My job was a solid 8/10, with solid WLB and a supportive manager who let me move to a new location to be close to my SO. I got approached by a hiring manager on LinkedIn, and while I wasn’t that inclined to interview, I just thought I would go ahead and have a chat.

    Well, fast forward two months, half my time has suddenly given notice with no backfill, I have a new (far less supportive) manager, my org is having layoffs, and I effectively had a paycut with much of my cash bonus being replaced by stocks priced at a ridiculous rate. I am really glad I took that interview, which led to a job, which I will start in a month (along with a 50% pay hike, a title bump, and much more flexibility).

    All this to say, a good job can turn bad very fast. You should take the interview. Who knows how things will be when you finally finish interviewing?

  18. Pink Candyfloss*

    A recruiter is not a hiring manager. An interview is not an offer. Exploring possibilities by taking an interview is only one step. There is no guarantee you would even be offered a choice, so you should be (mentally) equally prepared to be offered or not be offered the role; if that helps you decide whether to even explore the option.

  19. baby twack*

    Interviewing when you really have nothing to lose is actually tremendously fun! This is rather similar to a recent experience I had, except I didn’t feel as much gratitude for the existing position as OP.

    The opportunity for the job I have currently came at a time that although I didn’t love the job I had, I was content to stay for 2+ years until I went completely bananas from being underutilized. I was approached to apply for a position and would be returning to a department I had previously worked in and still knew many of the people there. I did as Alison suggests and met with many former coworkers to ask questions about the position and team. I engaged the hiring manager in a phone call and got him to give me the “between the lines” version of the job description. When I interviewed, I felt like we were on equal footing and I didn’t have to give the “interview version” of any of my answers or questions. I ended up knocking it out of the park, negotiating over a 20% salary increase for what was considered a lateral move, and I LOVE the work I do now. Bonus is that I didn’t feel like I had to prove myself or impress hiring manager after I started because he already interacted with (and chose!) my preferred work self.

    1. allathian*


      It’s just so unfair to people who are either desperate to leave their current jobs or unemployed because people who aren’t desperate tend to interview much better.

  20. Fluffy Fish*

    “I’d be abandoning a manager and team who I am eternally grateful to for giving me the shot I needed to jumpstart my career”

    No you aren’t. You’d be using what they’ve given you to grow and succeed – and that’s what every good manager, boss, colleague wants for you.

    Sometimes it helps to put yourself in someone else’s position. If you were the boss – would you want a great employee who has a great opportunity elsewhere to not take it because…you were a good boss?

    1. Shandra*

      Yes. I stayed with the best boss I’ve ever had, not only for that reason but also because I needed to stay in one place for a while. Previously the longest I’d stayed anywhere was 2 years.

      He eventually left our firm because over time, more things changed than I could describe. Later I realized he’d wished I’d do what benefited me professionally, even if it meant leaving him.

      After a lot of thought, I left a year later. Which turned out to be a good thing for two reasons. One, the management changed and the firm became a toxic workplace before the term came into use. Two, I had gotten another, more senior boss who was a good person and definitely job security. But the firm opened a second local office that was a better commute for him, but not for me.

  21. toolate12*

    I’ve found interviewing for jobs I didn’t take an excellent networking opportunity, if you handle it correctly. I’ve been able to meet people in my field and have standing relationships with them later down the line, which is useful for all kinds of things. This is especially true if they reject you and you handle it graciously and warmly – a really nice chance to leave a good impression in their minds for later.

  22. Sookie Stackhouse*

    I’m in this exact position now! I actually scoured AAM for this exact letter a few days ago but couldn’t find anything so this is eerie timing. I’m very comfortable in my job now, highly regarded, have truly unlimited vacation (I’ve taken close to 30 days every year for the last 3 years and I’m in the US), fully remote, a ton of autonomy and paid relatively well. This new position would be hybrid, seemingly 1-2 days in office but the pay is double what I’m making now which would change my life considerably. A lot of people leave my current job and come back even after 6 months to a year so worst case, I’m sure I could come back. But I’ve definitely been struggling with the process of leaving my comfort zone so I can relate.

  23. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Be open to interviewing, but also be mindful of why you left Company A in the first place. Assuming that you would like to advance, what happens if you outgrow your role again and they’re still reluctant to promote you? Are they going to commit to your professional development? All this is moot if Company A is offering you a position you’d be happy to stay in until retirement, but it’s still worth thinking about.

  24. El l*

    Someday you will need to leave Company B. When, not if.

    Perhaps you’ll have to go because of layoffs.
    Perhaps your manager will leave and be replaced with a troll.
    Perhaps you can’t really stay because of some stupid bit of drama (e.g. the DNA Test CEO-Bro).
    Perhaps you’ll hit a ceiling – you can stay, but from this point forward you’re wasting time.
    Perhaps you’ll stay for a long time – but you’re a Millennial or Gen Z and you have 50 years in the workforce before retirement.

    Whatever the reason, point is – personal experience – even if you like your job and your boss, it pays to stay plugged in and interview every year or whatever. Because if you don’t, it makes the experience of Getting Good New job longer and more frustrating. Taking a few hours each year to talk with recruiters and even interview is a down payment against that painful experience.

    1. Shandra*

      Yes on Reason 4. I heard of someone in a job specialty where at a certain level, one had to move on to another company to continue up the career ladder. It was a given in that job.

      When she reached that point, she didn’t make the move because she liked her current employer and was hesitant to leave. Then later when she’d become bored and did try to move on, every interviewer asked her why she hadn’t done it already.

      1. El l*

        Yes – I’ve personally experienced #4. Could’ve stayed easily another decade, but every day would be Groundhog Day – nothing would ever change. I left a year ago.

  25. Mint Berry Crunch*

    Are you me? I just resigned from my comfortable job in one area of media to another area and I’ve got loads of mixed feelings. Some coworkers are devastated because they rely on me a lot (too much really), while others are not supposed and very happy for me. But you’ll never know if you don’t take the shot! I’m just trying my best to leave on good terms in case I ever want to work for my current company again.

  26. SansaStark*

    Sometimes the interview process itself will help clarify your values and goals. I’ve known people who were interviewing all over and then realized how happy they were in their currently company/position. I personally thought I was in a great spot but applied for a job with a company that I’d admired for years just to see what could happen….and that turned into such an incredible opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. The interview conversations reinvigorated my love for my profession and reminded me how much more was out there.

  27. Kara*

    A couple of things to consider that i haven’t really seen touched on elsewhere. First, you mention that you’re very happy with your current coworkers and boss. What’s the culture and what’re the people like over at this new place? Working for and with good people can be the difference between a great and a horrible job. Money is important, but so is not coming home stressed and unhappy.

    The second is, what would your long term career development look like if you switched? You left this company once already because you couldn’t move up. Is that a problem likely to happen again? For that matter, what are your long term prospects at your current employer? What are their job openings like? Have you checked to see if your current employer has similar job openings that you might also be interested in?

  28. Another Academic Librarian too*

    I was in this position. I loved my job, the people I worked with, my manager was fabulous.
    A very rare opportunity came up that other people thought I would be perfect for.
    I knew from previous experience that you can have a great manager, they go on to a better opportunity and then end up working for a bad, inexperienced manager.
    The interview process was long and onerous.
    I took personal time to do it.
    Weighing everything, I chose the new position because there was an enormous amount of opportunity to grow.
    I also did a lot of speaking to people in my small world network about corporate culture and managerial style.
    Worked out great and yes, I have had opportunities I would never have dreamed of.

  29. Deb*

    “Am I being stupid? Should I just continue to grow where I am and pay no mind to the opportunity? Or is it fine to take a stab at it and get the experience of applying to something without anything to lose?”

    This really spoke to me with the words you used and your tone. I remember times, even as a full grown adult, where I would call my mom for “permission” to do something my heart longed for. (She’s dead now or I would still be calling.) You sound like you have a lot of energy for exploring this possibility and you’re wondering if you have a right to try. Yes, you do.

  30. Anon for This*

    I was where you are now, didn’t apply for the new opportunity, then my great boss left and was replaced with the boss from hell. I ended up leaving anyway. Go for the new opportunity. If they offer it to you then you have to do the hard thinking about what you want, keeping in mind that things could change in your current position.

  31. Sarah*

    I lived something very similar to this. I jumped into the interview process and decided I had nothing to lose, that I could always say no. What I found was that I could be happier, and that the new job would make me happier enough that it was worth leaving where I was.

  32. Moosicle*

    I just went through this! Got a couple of texts from the recruiter for an agency I’d done a temp job with a few years ago, ignored them because I had a stable job with great coworkers, and it was a job I was qualified for but was different from anything I’ve done. The third time he texted me I was a little salty about getting passed over for a promotion, so I asked for more info and emailed my resume, then went on a work trip. While I was still out of town, I was asked to do a video interview as soon as I got back. I figured I’d do it for kicks and giggles, because it was good interview practice if nothing else (great way to try out Allison’s tips!) Had a second, in-person interview less than a week later and got an offer the next day. The bump in pay wasn’t much; not enough to make the decision, but it’s a 9-5 (old job was mainly nights and weekends) and there’s room for real, challenging growth. I started last week and I love it so far. I was careful not to speak to anyone at my old job about it during the process and didn’t list any references there, so nobody knew until I gave notice. So glad I decided to at least give it a chance!

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