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THE QUESTION

I have recently been offered a new job from a rival firm that is much smaller than my current employer. The compensation would be the same. There are pros and cons to the move.

The pros include: change (I have been in my current role for eight years and have spent 12 years with current employer); a work-from-home option; better opportunity for advancement; an entrepreneurial environment; and more opportunities for successful results.

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The cons: The new employer is not as stable as my current employer, and a layoff would be more likely; I like my current manager – we have been eight years together and he just gave me a generous bonus; and I feel loyal to my current employer.

THE FIRST ANSWER

Bill Howatt

Chief research and development officer, workforce productivity, Morneau Shepell, Toronto

First, review your pros and cons with someone you trust and who will keep your confidence. The next two steps can help you determine the weighting to give each item.

Explore your current career goals and aspirations. Write a response to each of the following questions: Where do I want to be in five years? Can I see myself wanting to retire from here in my current role? If not, why?

Next, evaluate your risk tolerance. Keep in mind your financial situation, your health and the market conditions for your type of work, along with your willingness to move, considering your living arrangements and relationships. Evaluate your risk tolerance for the unknown and why you think switching jobs or staying put is best for you. Once again, write out your responses.

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Now go back to your pros and cons, and assign a value to each item on a scale of 1 (low driver); 2 (moderate driver); 3 (high driver). The column with the higher score may suggest what you should do. However, some variables are outside your control. Sometimes even with a thoughtful decision process it may come down to your gut feeling, and that can be fine as long as you own your decision.

THE SECOND ANSWER

Faith Tull

Senior vice-president of human resources, Randstad Canada, Toronto

It appears that your current organization values you as an employee. Giving you a generous bonus is a sign you are being recognized and rewarded for work well done and that your employer is making an effort to retain you. You also appear to love the environment and your leader.

My question to you is: What drove you to seek alternative employment with an unstable organization at the same salary? You should carefully review the reasons that brought you to the position you are in now. Are you truly happy with your current employer? Is there something missing that they can't provide to you? Would it be a shock for them to know that you are looking into other opportunities? In our experience, no great employer wants to be put into this position with a "high potential" employee. Particularly one that they feel they have invested in.

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Find a way to open the dialogue with your current employer to express how you truly feel, and explain what is motivating you to look at other opportunities. You also need to understand the disappointment your current manager would feel if she/he were blindsided by your possible departure.

We found in a survey of working Canadians that mentorship and coaching is most often the best way to support employees in career and skill development. Consider approaching your employer about a formal mentorship program, or consider seeking a mentor outside of your workplace – it may be just what you need to assist in your career progression at your current job, or help build your skill set for future opportunities at potentially more stable companies.

Once you feel you have given your current employment situation your best effort, and if change is not possible, then you should embrace the challenge of a new opportunity armed with all the information.

Got a burning issue at work? Need help navigating that mine field? Let our Nine To Five experts help solve your dilemma. E-mail your questions to ninetofive@globeandmail.com

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