I have many friends who have been with the same company for twenty-five or more years. For younger generations, it seems to be an ‘old school’ mentality to make a lifelong commitment to a single organization. I used to think those who did so were complacent. I certainly have a new found respect to the commitments and loyalties of these few. I myself have worked for 10 different companies in the last twenty years. Having just recently departed from my last company, I got to thinking…why can’t I stay anywhere for longer than 5 years? How are people perceiving my work ethic if I change jobs again? Without going into the specifics of why I made the job change, I would rather focus on the perceptions and realities of actually making the change.
I first started looking at options to make a change 7 months ago. Once I had decided to look, the phone never stopped ringing with opportunities. One might think, “wow…lucky me, so many options!” Well the reality of it was 95% were not a fit. In fact many of them were opportunities I was not qualified for or would not be interested in. As consultants, whether in leadership or providing client direct support, there is a huge demand. Recruiters will do anything to convince you they have the perfect fit for you. The grass is greener at every turn, and the potential is bigger than the next guy can offer you.
Perception – Recruiters will help align my skill set and experience with an opportunity that fits my professional and personal goals.
Reality – Some (and let me make that clear, some) recruiters are not interested in your goals, cultural fit, qualifications, or ability to be successful at the opportunity they have. They just need people.
My experience made one thing clear. You own the decision to be submitted for an opportunity. No recruiter or manager can own that. Research the company. Research the opportunity. Use your contacts to find out everything you can. Interview everyone you can. Ask for the opportunity for an in person interview.
Perception – If you submit your resume and accept an interview, you are interested.
Reality – Interviewing is the best way to determine if you are interested in the role. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. I spent 15 hours interviewing just one firm.
No one is comfortable with discussing compensation. It’s awkward at best and everyone is skeptical of what you say you are making versus what you are actually making. In the world of consulting we have packages that include base salary, bonus incentives based on deliverables or hours billed, benefits, equity (sometimes), and work life balance (yes folks, this is part of your compensation). If you can be a part of creating the compensation package with your thoughts on each of these areas…you are on the right path to creating a job you’ll be invested in. It’s not just about the money, it has to be about the job.
Perception – You will make more money.
Reality – No one can tell you what you ‘will’ make in this industry. They can tell you what you potentially ‘could’ make. With variations of client needs, hourly rates, priorities of deliverables, market trends, competition, acquisitions, and other unknowns…seek a base salary that meets your requirements. View all bonuses and equity as enhanced focused job description bullets that might be awarded.
Of the 10 jobs I’ve had in the last 20 years, I’ve loved them all. I’ve never found giving notice an easy thing to do. Whether I was moving on for something bigger, moving away, or needed a change…I could never figure out the right thing to say. In this most recent departure, good bye and thank you was necessary…but reasoning for departure was my discretion. The bigger question was not “how to give notice,” but “when to give notice. Be prepared for anything, including wrapping up that day.
Perception – I can give two weeks’ notice and they will accept resignation and agree to my last day.
Reality – Your perception of your worth and value to the company by staying on for another 2 – 4 weeks may not be in alignment with your boss. In my case, we worked out a decision that was beneficial for everyone. I was lucky. In this industry, your resignation letter is often times welcomed to be effective that day.
This has been the hardest decision of my professional career. I’m super excited about the new opportunity in front of me, and thankful the long path of being slapped in the face with reality is over. Changing jobs is not fun folks. I hope all of you have found a place that you can one day say, “I’ve been here for 25 years!” I think I have…