For many professionals out there this is a pivotal time of year. Not just for spring cleaning and celebrating that extra hour of daylight, but because performance reviews are due and bonuses paid out. Where they exist....
For many companies competing to hire the best market talent out there, the lure of a 'discretionary bonus' is often something that can swing the pendulum in an employer's favour over and above other offers that their preferred candidate may have received.
Whilst in some cases these bonuses can prove very lucrative, the contributory factors that determine how much your boss will shed out in employee bonuses are complex, unpredictable and often out of sight for the average employee.
Consider, for example, the possibility that your employer may have had a very busy and profitable year, which in turn may indicate the notion that staff bonuses will be decent. However, rather than share the profit generously with their employees, some companies may instead decide to invest in other areas of the business; implementing new technology, employing consultants to strategise about diversification or branding, investing in career development, maybe even acquiring another business? All of which costs money, therefore, depleting the pot for those elusive bonus payments that might otherwise have been within grasp.
Even if you are not waiting for a bonus, should this not be something your employer offers, it is likely that you will be due a performance review at this time of year, if it has not already taken place. This might spell 'promotion'. Congratulations if you have just received one! Nonetheless, even if this is the case, consider this; whilst you may now be getting more money or a new title but still not be content with other areas of your job, now may actually be the very best time to move!
Whilst it may appear disloyal, how long have you waited for your recent promotion? Moreover, how attainable is your next one? However genuine and pleased with your work your boss may feel, he or she is probably also relieved that you are now one less person that is likely to come knocking on the door any time soon asking for the cheque book to come out! If one is being ruthlessly ambitious, moving just after being promoted could catapult your career quite nicely.
If you have not received a promotion that you feel you deserve, then now is the obvious time to think about your options. Not all of these, however, may involve moving companies. It might well be time to ask yourself some hard questions. Why have you not yet received an expected promotion? Is it because of red tape, internal politics or laborious bureaucracy? In which case, get out now and join a business that is able to reward and recognise as and when merit is due! Otherwise, if you are really honest with yourself, is it actually because you are possibly not ready? Perhaps you need to work on particular areas of your professional performance before you can genuinely expect to be rewarded with a promotion? One of your options is to be realistic with yourself and really work on those areas where improvement might be needed.
So, if your bonus has not been anything to write home about, or if your promotion has not assuaged your otherwise discontent with your current employer, or should you indeed not have been promoted when you very genuinely believe you ought to have been - you have options.
Spring clean your career before the year runs away with you!