Careers

The surprising way the $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot could help your career—even if you don't win

The Mega Millions jackpot is officially worth over $1.6 billion. Your chance of winning is just one in 302.6 million, but that hasn't stopped 280 million people from buying tickets.

Even those people who've never purchased a ticket have at least considered the question, "What would you do if you won the lottery?" For many, the first thing that comes to mind is quitting your job. In fact, that's what 48 percent of 1,000 investors surveyed by TD Ameritrade in 2017 said they'd do if they won a multi-million dollar payout.

If that sounds like you, it might be time to consider a career change — with or without the winning jackpot. If the thought of winning big so you can quit gives you a thrill, it's probably time to reassess your career goals and think carefully about the future.

Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch tells CNBC Make It that employees should regularly ask themselves, "When was the last time I did something at work for the first time?" in order to determine if it is time for them to quit.

If you haven't been given a new promotion, a new opportunity or a chance to learn something new in recent memory, then it is time to leave. "The facts are: Be growing, or get going," she says.

And now could actually be a great time to quit your job for something better or make a career change. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American workers of all ages and all wage-brackets are quitting their jobs at the highest rate since 2001, with more than 3 million workers voluntarily leaving their jobs each month.

Experts suggest this is because quitting is the best chance they have at getting a raise right now. The current labor market has 7 million unfilled jobs, but is not providing significant wage growth. According to Brian Kropp, vice president at research firm Gartner, the average increase in compensation for a worker who quits their old job for a new one in today's tight labor market is about 15 percent. "You're never going to get that 15 percent [increase] by staying at your current job," he tells CNBC Make It.

Ultimately, if you can't stop thinking about quitting — or know that's the first thing you'd do if you won the lottery — that may be reason enough to consider your professional alternatives.

"If you're thinking about quitting all the time," says Welch, "you already know what you need to know. It's time for you to go find a better fit, face exciting challenges and grow in new ways."

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