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The three major reasons to make a job change are opportunity, money and location. It’s critical that you understand their importance and never forget their consequences upon your career decision to change jobs. I frequently discuss these reasons with candidates the night before their interviews because I want them to stay focused on opportunity during the interview. The night before is the best chance that they’ll remember. I instill in them to focus on opportunity. These three reasons must be accepted as gospel because they’re proven through many years of experience.


Opportunity should be your prime reason to accept a new job and override all other reasons. This should be 60 percent of your consideration.

Real Estate 101 teaches you to always remember one of its most basic tenants, when buying property, the #1 rule for selection is location, location, location. When considering a job change the #1 rule in the selection process is opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. It should not be money or location. If the opportunity’s not right, the rest doesn’t matter. The key questions to evaluate the opportunity are: does the company believe in…commitment to building brand equity; an entrepreneurial environment; a culture that values risk-taking; commitment to pushing the decision-making down?


Money means the money package. This consists of the base salary, incentives, bonuses, commissions, stock options, stock grants, health benefits, savings plan, 401K plans, a company car, a car allowance, an entertainment allowance, club memberships, relocation allowance and retirement programs.

The money and benefits should not be your first reason for acceptance. Don’t let money get in your way of accepting a truly exceptional opportunity. Money should be about 20 percent of your consideration.


Accepting a job because of its location is the weakest reason. It should be about 10 percent of your consideration. Choosing location is choosing for your lifestyle preferences, not for your career equity. Before you interview with any company, you must accept the home-office location. Even if the opening doesn’t require relocation, you must be willing to relocate to the home-office city in the future. If you are unwilling to relocate to the home office, your career will be limited. In order to stay in your current location and to move up, you will have to change companies.

RECAP: This is necessary because some of the readers may question my advice on these reasons. In the early stages of your career, opportunity must override your desires for more money and a better lifestyle. In your middle years, job movement just for the money can make sense. Taking a lateral position for a bigger paycheck can be a smart move. During your later years, choosing a location for a stable lifestyle can be the best choice.

The pitfalls of career building can be choosing money or location too early in your career. Poor decisions can lead to job-hopping to stay in one location or to increase your income. In a very short time, your career progress will appear weak. During an interview, you say that you are relocatable, but you don’t get a job offer because you were not believable. The location of the job and future locations must be accepted by you. Companies can change the job title, increase the money package, but they cannot change their home-office location. If you are unwilling to relocate there, why bother with a short-term career move?

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.