Should you leave for a job that doesn’t provide a salary boost?

I’ve heard you should never leave a job for less than a 30 percent increase in salary. Is that true?

I’ve heard lots of conventional wisdom when it comes to career advice, and while much of the advice is conventional, it often isn’t wise. Let me ask you a question: If you are unhappy in your job and someone offers you a new opportunity, how much more money would you need to make the switch? Of course, you should always try to negotiate the best package, but many people would make that trade even without a compensation increase. The opposite is true if you are happy in your job. A new employer has to offer you something to persuade you to leave your good situation. Plus, there may be something more important than money — flexibility or opportunity. The package depends on what’s important to the individual and what their risk appetite is, because a new situation comes with the new unknown. Is it a 10 percent increase and more opportunity? Is it a lateral job move but 30 percent more? Is it the same money but more flexible hours? There’s no one-size-fits-all formula.

I received a good performance appraisal from my boss in December. She pointed out some things that I needed to improve, but there was nothing that indicated my job was in jeopardy. Now, I’m told that my performance hasn’t been up to standard, and I have 30 days to improve. I presume that if I don’t, I will be fired. Is this fair or legal?

The famous line from “Cool Hand Luke” comes to mind: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Which is unfortunately all too common at work and frequently exacerbated by performance appraisal systems, because managers are notoriously bad at giving clear feedback and particularly reluctant to do so in writing. However, this kind of reprimand is not against the law, unless the stated grievances are just a pretext for some other, unlawful reason for dismissal. The silver lining is that you have a heads-up to perhaps keep your job or quickly find another. I suggest you do whatever is needed to try to save your position and look for a new job simultaneously.

Gregory Giangrande is a chief human resources and communications officer in the media industry. E-mail your career questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande. His Go to Greg podcast series is available on iTunes.

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