When thinking about a job change, it is tempting to switch all your mental energy into the move. There is always some bothersome aspect of the current job that makes life less than perfect. Maybe your project got canceled, you got passed over for a promotion, your salary increase was minuscule (or negative!), or you are just tired of going to the same office every day for the last five years. Whatever the reason, that imaginary job across the street is looking very attractive. Faced with the daily grind versus the dream job you are sure is waiting for you, it will become harder and harder to concentrate on the current work.
No matter how good you are (or think you are) there is no guarantee that the market will offer up the right job for you in the timeframe you expect. Indeed.com, the popular job board states that on average it will take about three months. Another rule of thumb I have seen is one month for every $10k in salary. At $100,000 you are looking at almost a year at that rate! A good fit involves more than just aligning skills for the right price. Location matters, the new boss might be weird, the dress code might require jacket and tie while you have been wearing t-shirts up until now. If you head off into job search land with an unrealistic expectation that you will find something in a month, it will affect your ability to make an objective decision at the end of the month when you only have one job offer. A feeling of rushed desperation makes you sign the offer and then three months later you realize that it was a mistake.
Everyone, whether job hunting or not should have a “Gun To Your head Plan A”. This is the plan to moves you forward in your current job. If some very bad person stood next to you every day with a gun pointed at your head with the threat of pulling the trigger if you quit at anytime in the next five years, how would that change your thinking about work? Let’s ignore the horror of this example for a minute and focus on the idea of committing the next five years to achieving as much as you can with the current company. The typical response is immediately, “I don’t think I would stay here another five years.” I get it, you want to quit, but humor me, if you have to show up and work every day for another 1,305 days (weekdays minus holidays) what could you accomplish? If you put the effort in to make a difference at the company every day what would your salary be at the end of five years? If you volunteered for difficult projects or looked for opportunities to contribute what would your title be? More individually focused, what would your resume reflect if you looked for opportunities every day at your current company?
A lot can happen in five years. The manager you dislike could be replaced by someone you respect. You could move from an individual contributor role to a people manager. Your firm could get bought out and suddenly you are in a new company anyway!
This “gun to your head” plan is important. As mentioned above, you may not find a new job right away. As you sit at your desk stewing about the stupid project you have to work on and clicking through job boards you are not moving forward. Your resume will look the same 6 months or a year from now and you will still be miserable. At the very least, improve your chances as best you can and following your “indentured servant” plan will help. You can better judge outside offers when you know what you would be walking away from. Did you know that having a plan makes each day just a little bit more bearable? Focus on what you can do that will impact your current company. You might not feel like helping your company right now but trust me, a resume that shows how your company grew thanks to you is way more powerful than a resume that only focuses on personal achievement.
While everyone should have this Plan A in mind, it is OK to consider external opportunities as Plan B. Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side of the street. But, run this plan in parallel to the first one. Do your job hunting after hours. You can take a day off to interview but don’t spend working hours on job boards or preparing your resume. Focus on Plan A at work and Plan B at home.
I am going to let Buddha wrap things up for me here:
“Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Fidel Consulting KK COO, Kieffer Lawrence2020-11-16 01:54:27