New Year’s Resolution – A New Job
I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. But for those of you seeking a resolution to make, here it is: “This is the year I get a new job!”
There are at least four options for you: A) a new, better job in your current company or organization; B) a job in a new company; C) a new career in a different field; or D) “hanging out a shingle” and starting your own consultancy.
We should all be seeking a better job. Unless yours is perfect with all of these attributes – great company, job satisfaction, good pay, opportunities to learn and grow, the ability to make a difference, steadily increasing and reasonable compensation, and security – then you should probably be thinking about something new.
A. It doesn’t need to be outside of your company. A nonprofit executive, someone I placed years ago in a different organization, came to visit me for advice. She had a great job in a well known nonprofit organization and the job had many of the attributes listed above. Except, she didn’t see a path for more responsibility and opportunities to make more of a difference (she was in marketing and development so she certainly had plenty of options outside of her current company). There was a new CEO in her company who created a new position, a COO. She thought about applying for that job. My advice was, since it required strong finance and a great deal of administrative management (all of which she was likely capable of doing) and since her real strengths were much more external, I suggested she not apply. Instead, I asked, what are the other areas in the organization that you enjoy and where you can make a difference. She mentioned that the education department had been without a leader for a year and that she was very interested in the international expansion happening at the company. I suggested that she go see the CEO and propose an idea – to create a new position where she would not only continue with her current responsibilities but one in which she would also take on the two other departments. Long story short, she is now SVP of External and Global Affairs, also responsible for Education. The moral; your CEO doesn’t always have the answers and proposing something, well thought out, something that will solve a problem for the CEO and something that would give you that extra something to achieve total job satisfaction, has to come from you.
B. But what if there aren’t any other opportunities in your current organization, or the culture and values of your company are not aligned with your personal values? Make a promise to yourself to make a change. In earlier posts I’ve given advice on how to go after a new job, so I won’t repeat it here. But there are a few things you may want to consider:
1) Getting a new job is practically a job in itself, be prepared to work at;
2) Keep working in your current position as if you are never going to leave. There may be projects that will take a while to complete and you may not be there to complete them, so why get engaged or why start them. Because, it may take you longer than you think to leave your current position and you are being paid to do your current job, so do it as well as possible.
3) And, because you are being paid, don’t use company time looking for a new job. It’s trickier, but look on your own time. You don’t want potential employers calling you at work and you don’t want to duck out from work for an interview (if it’s during working hours take personal time off).
4) Be patient. It will take time; for a middle management position at least three to four months, for the right senior executive job even longer. But stick with it and follow steps 1 to 3.
C. It’s never to late to embark on a new career. For those of us in the latter stages of our working life this could be the ideal time. For those starting out, it is the time to explore (remember, you probably just fell into your current job and hadn’t planned on staying anyway). For everyone else, hey, you only live once. If you’ve been thinking about it, and have any interest, here are a few “tips.”
i.) There are the new careers you know about and those you didn’t know existed. I remember one of my smartest college classmates had a summer job as a coffee taster (this is pre-, pre- Starbucks). Start with what you know but before you begin with steps 1 through 4 on getting a new job, take Step A and explore the possibilities. Talk to people in other fields, read about different careers, etc.
ii.) Filter the possibilities: you don’t want to embark on a career where the competition is stiff and the pay is not that great – social worker, or college english teacher, to name a couple. And as long as you are choosing, choose something that suits your lifestyle – flexible hours, or travel (or no travel), potential for great income, as in many sales jobs, the ability to give back to society, etc. If there are too many choices you won’t be able to make one.
iii.) Be really patient. Add a few months onto the timetable described in step B4 above.
D. Becoming a consultant