I remember last year in my job search as I was applying for jobs that would help me grow, provide the income I wanted, or give me my executive status back, I was nervous! I was nervous about working with dumb people again. I was nervous about the long hours in a job, with a two hour commute each day. I was nervous about new political situations, or walking into a “good ol’ boys club,” or starting a job with big responsibility and figuring out how to fit into the team … and many other things.
I think I was most nervous about not upgrading my life. I had just left one hellacious job (yes, I was there for a long time, and it’s a long story), and I didn’t want to get into another situation that was running me into the ground. I wanted better.
And I was afraid I wouldn’t find better.
Over the last few months as I’ve had the privilege to work with career experts, and reflect on it, I’ve been able to piece together some of the things that I didn’t understand before. Here are some things that I wish I would have known last year that would have helped ease my nerves:
- It’s going to happen again. Why did I think I could find the perfect job that would last until I retired (or, help me retire early ;))? Statistics say we’ll have 9 job changes in our career… and Penelope Trunk’s new book says Gen Y will have nine jobs before they are thirty! Instead of looking at my professional career as ‘I worked at X company and had a great time” it will be more of “I was an xyz problem solver/rainmaker for various companies helping them to…”
- Preparation should not go on the back-burner. I should have realized that once I landed a job I should be preparing for the next change, which would likely happen in the next three years. Sure I would give 100% to doing my job but maybe I should consider more training to broaden my skillset, take on special projects to improve my resume, network like crazy (become a power connector),
- There’s more to happiness than job success. My life was out of balance – I needed to reevaluate priorities and really put time into areas that are important, not neglecting them by hiding behind my job.
- Blood is thicker than water. I needed to put my family first… I’m sad to say that I put even trivial job things before family things. Funny thing is, that job gave me a small severence package, but my family has stuck by my side and supported me even after the severence ran out. Too bad I put my investment in the wrong place.
- A good coach is critical. I “couldn’t afford” a professional coach so I didn’t look. But there are peer coaches at network meetings each week. You should BE a coach to someone else, as teaching will help you understand the princiles better. But seriously consider investing in a professional career/job coach. They will ask the real questions without beating around the bush, or worrying about hurting your feelings, etc. Sure they aren’t cheap, but if you can invest in a few hours that might be just what you need to get started on the right path.
What do you think? What’s missing from this list?