This post is going to sound so simplistic that some readers may say to themselves…”Well, duh!” I am prepared for it, because in the past few days I have sat with people who freaked me out a bit as they hadn’t really thought through the ramifications of the career moves they were getting ready to make. And, after a conversation or two I heard things like, “I never thought about it like that before” and “I’m sure glad we talked.”
- “Am I going to like doing what I am going to be doing?” You have to be honest with yourself. If you are worried that you can’t be then you have to sit with the person who knows you the best and who will tell you the straightest truth. Ask yourself or your trusted friend if you will be happy doing what you are about to do. I was once talked into (for a number of good reasons) going back to a job that I had done before in my career; a functional specialist role, after already broadening my expertise into a generalist type of job. I didn’t listen to myself and within 18 months I had changed jobs. Not liking what you are going to be doing can’t be masked and will eat away at you until a change is made.
- “Am I going to like where I am doing it?” As much as we think we can “manage” this, it is a real consideration. If you need to move for the new job, you are going to need to like where you will wake up on Saturday morning. If you don’t, then no matter how much you like the job, you are going to run into a problem. Not to mention, that you need to consider this for your loved ones as well. Also, you have to take into consideration that commute times matter too. Knowing how much time it will take out of your day is so important. I have many a story of people who left jobs because the long commute was killing them.
- “Am I going to like working with the people I am going to work with?” This is the big one. Again, it might sound too simple, but working relationships are like marriages. More often than not, if there are problems when dating, those problems get worse once married, not better, or at least not better without lots of work and help. Companies are not quick to offer “boss counseling”. They are more likely to move towards, “We didn’t make a good hire.” That’s not always fair, but it is something we have to be aware. As I told an executive last week: “it can be the likenesses that bring us together and the differences that keep it interesting, but that demands shared values and principles and a likeability factor between people for the best relationships to develop. Working with people you don’t like or don’t think you are going to like, is a bad idea. On the flipside, I know lots of people who stay in not so great of jobs because they love the people they work with. Get this one right and the other questions asked above might take care of themselves but be sure the answer to this question is a huge “Yes! Yes! Yes!” before you accept the job.
The job of a good recruiter and a good hiring manager is to be sure that you are the perfect fit for the role and the company culture. But, they also may be trying too hard to get you to think the grass is greener on their side of the fence. That is why it is wise to stick your head through the fence first and chew on it a little bit before you make the change. Use Glassdoor to get a feel for the company culture, use LinkedIn to find someone who has worked in the job you are getting ready to take, reference check your new boss, but more than anything else ask yourself the questions above and be honest with yourself before you jump.