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Ask Ash

17 September 12

Advice column: should I leave a secure corporate job when I feel I want to help people with needs?

Dear Ash

I have been considering a move to a new post in which I would potentially be working with “real” clients with housing and debt issues. I have been working in corporate for a while now and have become disillusioned with the long hours and meetings with corporate clients. Although there are some good financial perks, I don’t feel that I am utilising my legal skills to make a difference. I confided in one of my colleagues recently and he thinks I would be mad to leave my permanent job, especially in the current economic climate, and that I should put my plans on hold for now. I am now torn between job security and job satisfaction and am unsure whether to proceed with my application? 

Ash replies:

There is the old adage of the “grass always seems greener” .

Your colleague is right to highlight that you are fortunate to hold a secure and permanent role. That said, job satisfaction should not be underrated either.

You have to ensure, however, that you are considering a move for all the right reasons. You assume that you will obtain job satisfaction in the new role, but that may not necessarily be the case. I suggest you consider what it is you are seeking in an ideal role; if it is helping the needy then just remember that your perception of the new job may differ from reality. Speaking from experience, such posts can be quite emotionally draining at times and there is not necessarily any great appreciation of your efforts. That said, I can appreciate your wish to focus on helping individuals rather than faceless corporate clients.

However, before making any leap of faith, perhaps assess what you feel is lacking in your current role and try to see if there is anything you can possibly do to help change the situation, e.g. speaking with your line manager about taking on different tasks or even exploring secondment opportunities?

It may also be worth considering doing some type of voluntary work, say for Citizens’ Advice, in order to obtain a taster of what the new role may involve. In the meantime there is no harm in applying for the role in order to keep your options open.... Good luck!


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