Whenever my phone rings, I wonder who it will be: a potential client or a superintendent unhappy in his job and looking for my advice on his next move.

Job dissatisfaction isn’t limited to our profession. But given that we are on the front lines in a people-pleasing industry and, as I’ve written before, we get the short end of the stick when it comes to customer appreciation. The usual reasons remain the same:

  • Money (not being paid enough)
  • Lack of appreciation for one’s efforts from members and/or management
  • Unpleasant work environment
  • Differences of opinion with management about club or facility direction
  • The thrill, or challenge, is gone

That’s when the voice on the other end of the line says something like, “So I’m thinking maybe it’s time to go somewhere else.”

You may be right. Maybe you should get another job at another club. And there could be a hundred great reasons to do so. However, before going too far down that path I have some advice: Be honest with yourself.

Before you do anything, conduct a self-evaluation of yourself, your current job, what you think another job will do for you and much more. Take the emotion out of the process and look at all sides of the situation. There are right and wrong reasons to change jobs, but don’t do so with your eyes wide shut.

Start by asking yourself these questions. And spend a good amount of time thinking about each one:

  • Why do I want to leave my present job?
  • How much disruption would it be to my life and my family? Will it be worth it?
  • Are my relationships with the GM, golf pro, and members that bad? Do I want to have to form new ones?
  • Do I want to take a leap into the unknown?
  • Is the grass really greener somewhere else?

If you’ve honestly asked and answered those questions (and dozens more you can come up with) and still want to change jobs, great. By all means, go for it.

How? You can check job boards and send out resumes, but be careful. Even a casual inquiry to a friend can get back to your current club and have negative ramifications. Which might not be a bad thing, but could accelerate your departure.

Ask yourself what you want out of a new gig: More money? More responsibility? Less hassle? Remember, life is a trade-off: What are you willing to give up to get any of those?

When you start talking to other clubs, be ready to ask yourself more questions, including:

  • Am I good enough to do this job? (This is probably the toughest question, so be really honest with yourself. And it might not be are you good enough, but are you ready and willing to prove yourself again?)
  • Can I handle the extra pressures that come with a new, probably upgraded position?
  • How will this job change my personal situation?

Think about family. If you have kids in school, especially high school, do you want to relocate them? Will they be able to handle it? Check out the schools in the new area before talking seriously with a new club.

What about your spouse? If you are currently in a situation that’s running well so you can get home for dinner, soccer games or holidays, consider what will happen if that changes with the new job? Not only changes to your free time, but who is going to have to pick up the responsibilities you can’t? Will your spouse be able to find a job in the new area or would your spouse need to give up a terrific position?

Turning the family question on its head, I recently talked to a superintendent who took a job in a different state but six months in knew he’d made the wrong decision. However, his family is happy in the new location– schools, neighborhood, friends, church. He’s in a bind.

How about spare time? Consider your involvement in the community, charities or whatever is important to you when you’re not at the club. These activities make you a well-rounded, fulfilled person. Are you ready to give up the ones you do now? Will you be able to commit yourself to such projects in the new job? Factor flexibility and quality of life into the equation when appraising a new opportunity.

Sometimes a new job is the right answer. But not unless you’ve asked all the right questions.

Tim Moraghan, principal, ASPIRE Golf (tmoraghan@aspire-golf.com). Follow Tim’s blog, Golf Course Confidential at www.aspire-golf.com/buzz.html or on Twitter @TimMoraghan