It can be intimidating to start a job search, not to mention time-consuming. But sometimes the smart move is to explore what else is out there, even if that feels a little scary. Here are some signs that even if you’re comfortable in your current role, it might be time to take a risk with something new.
Not Feeling Challenged
Just because you’re happy enough in your current role doesn’t mean you’re really satisfied. If you’re looking for the chance to grow and develop, it might make more sense to start somewhere fresh where those opportunities exist. Maybe your company siloes their MSLs so you can’t try out new things. Or your team is so big that the line for special projects is unbearably long. Or maybe you just don’t have the visibility needed to prove what you can do to the higher-ups. A new job in a new therapeutic area or at a company that offers its MSLs more hats to wear might be the logical next move to develop your skills.
It’s a cliche for a reason: people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers. If you don’t mesh well with management, then it will sour your whole experience at a company. Even if you like your team or like the company as a whole, it’s tough to work for a boss if you’re constantly clashing over goals or ideas. Whether you’ve been assigned a new manager and you’re just not clicking, or the manager you’ve known all along no longer has your best interests at heart, issues with management are a clue that it’s time to start looking.
Your Company is Slowing Down
What do you see the future of the company looking like? Are they expanding their teams, or just allowing vacancies to remain open? Are you supporting an interesting pipeline, or working with an older drug that’s about to go off patent? How are your KOLs responding to the data you’re discussing – is it easy to get through the door, or do you get pushback as a “me too” product? If your portfolio is getting stale and you don’t see anything new on the horizon, it might be time to start looking elsewhere.
Things Have Changed for You Personally
Sometimes, through no fault of the company, your personal life and your job are just no longer compatible. Travel expectations have changed quite a bit over the last two to three years, as MSL roles went from fully in person to fully virtual before landing somewhere in between at most companies, and not everyone has adjusted well to their company’s current expectations. Different companies have different expectations for territory size and travel, and it might make sense to start exploring other options if your current situation no longer works for you.
I intentionally put money at the bottom of the list because it’s usually not the top priority for job-seeking MSLs. Companies can tell if you’re only interviewing because you want a raise, and it’s definitely a turn-off. However, sometimes you are undervalued in your current role and another job might offer a better compensation package, whether that’s a higher base salary, more equity, or other perks. A good recruiter (like the folks at SEMbio!) can help give you an idea of what the landscape of MSL salaries looks like, and where you might fall with your years of experience.
The most important thing to remember is: that it’s easier to find a new job when you have a job, and when you’re feeling “mostly satisfied” is the best time to start looking. Hunting for a new job when you’re miserable at work, or no longer employed, will make you feel desperate and that shines through in an interview. Even if you feel content, keep your mind open to new possibilities because something much better might be right around the corner!
Questions or comments? Email me at email@example.com.