How do you know you’re ready to change jobs?
Aug 28, 2015145 views11 Likes2 CommentsShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Twitter
Friday Afternoon Summer Musings 8/28/2015
Last week I gave my perspective on how I think sales reps should be categorized, and I sincerely appreciate all the feedback, suggestions and overall positive comments.
Instead of focusing exclusively on sales or marketing positions, I’d like to take you on a wider journey. It’s a ride that we all take, some remain calm, cool and collected. Others get sweaty palms and heart palpitations.
It’s when you feel compelled to work somewhere else.
Often when looking for a new job, we scour the usual places we know. LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, and recruiters we’ve come across over the years, friends, colleagues, and the rest of our collective social Rolodex of the brain. (If you don’t know what a Rolodex is, (no not Rolex) now is good time to Google it – we’ll wait).
In my experience, I have concluded the 3 things that make people look for something new are as follows:
- I don’t see a career path where I can learn more, and do more, and of course, earn more
- My daily commute is painful, horrendous and progressively more expensive
- My manager and I have no connection, and never will
Of course, these bullets don’t apply if you’ve been affected by job cuts, poor performance of the business unit you’re in, or some other issue beyond your control.
Assuming for a moment that you are comfortably employed, but the 3 bullets I have listed above make getting out of bed every day, slapping a smile on your face, and doing your best (regardless of level of success) a painful exercise. What do you do now?
First and foremost, try not to get fired. I’m amazed by people who are getting a regular paycheck and add “seeking new opportunities” to their LinkedIn profile. That’s like taking your spouse or SO out to dinner and slipping a business card to the cute waiter with “call me” written on the back. Dumb.
Second, just like it takes a lot more effort in marketing to find a new customer than to keep an existing one, in the world of employment, you’re likely better off trying to find a new assignment at your current employer than walking out the door. By the way, I hung in for 2 years with a manager I knew I would never connect with because I knew, sooner or later, he or I would get a new opportunity, and move on. Peace returns to the valley.
Third, you can waste a lot of time with some websites (and some recruiters) that promise you are the person that they have been looking for all year. While I’m sure Monster.com and Dice.com work for some people, all I hear about are calls from insurance agents looking for someone to sell their products. Likewise, I haven’t heard a lot of success from aggregators like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com, but it may be that they cater to a different candidate/employer. (For the record, I do not have any interest in any other websites or recruiters, and have no personal issues with any recruiting or aggregator sites I mentioned. I am merely sharing personal experiences.)
The best advice for a job search comes from people you know and trust. It’s more difficult when you are 3 years or less out of school, but once you build up your network, you’ll have a far better chance at change than you do when you are the relatively new kid on the block. Plus while a high GPA is impressive, experience and proven success is really the key to getting the next job.
Before you jump ship, make sure there is a lifeboat below you
There have been times where a job offer is nearly in hand, and you can’t wait to tell your boss goodbye. You may be grinning to yourself that you won’t have to attend that 5 day “Hurrah Rally” at Disney World. But my friend, in the words of someone wiser than me once said, “It ain’t booked, ‘til it’s booked.” Or its sister version “It’s not your job until the ink on the W4 is dry”.
In fact, even when you think you have the opportunity nailed, don’t stop looking! My buddy Joe accepted a job (for one of the reasons I listed above), all the paperwork was done, when a recruiter called him up and said, “I think this would be a better fit.” He went back to the first employer, said “I’m sorry” and took the other job. Sometimes things just work out that way.
Do what you know you can do, not what you think you could do
You scroll through Glassdoor and come across a job that has about 65% of a match. Maybe they are looking for Business Intelligence experience, and even though you’ve never sold BI, you’re pretty sure you can bridge into the job. Maybe. But depending on how far the stretch is, if you fake it with charm, wit and personality to get in the door, odds are high you won’t make it because there is an expectation that you are ready to rumble. It has nothing to do with intelligence, and in all likelihood if you had a year to learn it all, you’d be a rock star. Instead, stick to those opportunities that match 90% or more of your experience and client base.
“It’s not about the money” – Steve Jobs
Before you get out the hammers to smash your screen, I don’t mean money is unimportant, but happiness and a feeling of contribution has very little to do with how much you earn. Everybody wants to earn more. Money is the means by which we value our contribution, it proves to others that we are capable and successful, and provides an incentive to work harder, especially when you are relatively new in the business.
If you made 50% more tomorrow, how many times during the course of the day would you be smiling because “Hey I’m making 50% more than I did yesterday”? Whether you get paid bi-monthly or weekly or whatever, once that money comes in and you start paying the bills, even with a 50% raise, you’ll find that your lifestyle hasn’t changed much.
What do we do? We upgrade the car, buy some new shoes, take a vacation, all good things, but the spend eventually equals (and sometimes exceeds) the earn, and before you know it, the glow has worn off, and you still have a crappy commute, a boss who you think is a twit, and a career path that looks like tumbleweeds rolling down in an old Western.
Develop your personal brand
I’ve come to embrace social media and grow a network of virtual friends. I like to think of this as building my own personal brand. I don’t even mind when someone tries to pitch me on something because he LIKED my post and I said thank you. With so many of us working virtually, from home or a client’s office, it’s quite difficult to make those in-person social connections that I enjoyed working in a branch office. When we worked together face-to-face, it was easy to grab a coffee or a lunch and get to know people on a very personal level. We went to each other’s weddings, new baby celebrations, and the occasional NY Jets game (no boos please). Those days are pretty much gone, so now we share those moments on Facebook. But here’s where you have unlimited possibilities. The electronic community we share is a place where you can express yourself, add value, write a story, and make new connections with people near and far. And those people are your new office mates, your new network and likely can help with your career.
Finally, there are about 100 working days left between now and the end of the year. I make a annual plan, and around this time of year review my investments, tasks I wanted to complete, and things I decided I needed to do. My #1 goal this year was to write more. I’m no Hemingway, but I seem to resonate with some people, and I sincerely appreciate the feedback, comments, shares, and even just your eyeballs.
Enjoy another summer weekend. There aren’t many left.