It has been said in many articles and books on career change and job searches, that the time to start looking for a new job is when you don't need one and not when you are forced into one. It does not help our cause when we have a short time period to find a new job and under stress from the drastic changes in our current work, including layoffs.
Searching for a new job when you are doing very well in your current one, does not come naturally. We all love what we do and feel complacent, sometimes justifiably so, and sometimes we feel that we are too buys to add on this task. But when you search for a long before you need a new job you have time on your side and will be in a better negotiating position with the new offer. You will have less competition from your peers in your current organization than when the market is flooded with freshly laid off workers.
The first lesson in strategy is, companies that shape their future and not react to it stand to win. The same is true for personal growth. When you start early, you shape your future and not react to the unforeseen thrown your way.
I had a VP in my past career who said this when he quit,
"There are three stages to your career in any organization. In the first third you are learning as fast as you can and trying to become valuable, in the middle third you add value and make impact on the organization's performance, finally you get ready to move on, either within or outside the organization, and start handing off your responsibilities to the next in line."
These days the total length of these three stages is getting shorter and shorter, it stands at about three years. The first part is getting much shorter and corporations expect you to add value from day one and the third stage starts at about the same time as the first, with all three running in parallel.
Are you prepared?