Friday, October 30, 2009

The Hunt, part 3

I think the hardest part of job hunting is that when you are voluntarily looking -- i.e. you've made the decision to move on -- you're impatient to move on and put whatever it is that is causing you to leave your current employment behind you. Mentally, you've said good-bye to the company, to your colleagues, and you're already trying to wrap up projects as not to leave any loose ends behind. With that mindset, it makes the time horizon seem even longer than it really is.

While I admit to being relatively passive in the job hunt, it doesn't mean I'm immune to the impatience. The only thing I could do once I made the decision to move on is to take action and do what I could to find another job. At the same time, you have to stay engaged and committed to the current employer and energetic and enthusiastic at home to get your daily chores done as well as the job hunt. It's not easy so I don't want anyone to think I was implying it's easy. It's stressful, soul-draining, and just awful.

The two pieces of advice I would give -

* Start looking for a job before you're absolutely desperate. This is easy enough to do if you are employed and not involuntarily terminated. The problem is drawing the line of when is enough enough, when is it time to move on, and what are you willing to put up with? In one case, I decided to move on because my manager was verbally abusive not only to me but to my teammates; the day I threw up at the office because of stress was the day I realized it was time to move on. Already, I was late making the decision because I was desperate to take any job that came along. Luckily, the next job that came along came with great people who are still my friends now even though it's been several years since we worked together. I believe in being honest -- if something's not working, you need to either figure out how to make it work or leave. Evaluate what your threshold for pain is and make a decision accordingly.

* In conjunction with the above advice, even if you're relatively happy with your position and aren't really interested in looking for other jobs, take some time every couple of months to see what else is out there. There might be something you're interested in applying for -- it doesn't cost anything but time. And even if you don't see anything, at least you know what's out there and you're making an informed decision about your situation with full knowledge. I think it's always important to know what types of jobs are out there, what types of skills are being asked for in the marketplace and who is whiring; after all, in this economy, the more information you have about about your marketability, the better.

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