When Cool People Announce They Are In A Job Search

loser!A number of weeks ago a very successful businessman that I’ve networked with signed up for JibberJobber. Because of our friendship/relationship I e-mailed him right away, something along the lines of “wow, it’s cool that you are checking out my website and poking around! Let me know what you think.”

His immediate reply was “please don’t tell anyone I’m in the job search.

Can I just tell you, I nearly fell out of my seat? Here is a guy that, from where I’m sitting, is a business giant. In fact, one of the most successful people that I know. The shock of someone “like him” in a job search just really threw me. Eventually we had some conversations so I could understand better what was going on, and try and figure out what role I could play in helping him.

This whole experience made me think back to my layoff last year. Why did I get laid off? I must have been a loser. Why couldn’t I get a job? I must have been a loser. Why couldn’t I get any interviews? I must have been a loser with leprosy. Even though I had done all the right things, in a traditional sense, to build my own job security, I was still, well, a loser.

Actually, those were all the stereotypical feelings that I had. But I think too many people feel the way I used to. I wondered how many people are wondering what in the heck went wrong with him?? It made me think about reasons why you might lose (or leave) or your job:

  • You can’t do the work, or
  • you are a slacker, or
  • you don’t understand office politics, or
  • … something like that.

It all comes down to Because you suck, right?

Wrong.

Here is why this guy is leaving: because he wants to follow his passion.

The last 24 months at the job that laid me off were pretty much hell. It affected my marriage, my relationship with my kids, and my morale. I should have left a lot earlier. But I didn’t – I was hanging on to a false hope. I sometimes felt like the abuse victim that had this twisted hope that things would get better, things would change, everything would be alright. But it didn’t happen that way.

I wish I would have known this guy a few years ago, and learned the lesson from him that it’s okay to leave what looks like an awesome job when the passion just isn’t there anymore.

Are you passionate about what you do? If it’s time for a change, are you scared about what others will think?

15 thoughts on “When Cool People Announce They Are In A Job Search”

  1. By the way – this is more normal than anyone realizes.

    The difference is that with well-known / key employees, the company makes an agreement to keep him on while he’s looking for a job so that they can find a replacement and aren’t leaderless.

    But whether or not they are in a job, *everyone* looks for a job. The stats are that a full half (50%!) of employees in any company in the U.S. have been with the company less than 5 years.

    You aren’t a loser for looking, not liking your job, or being laid off (unless it was for porn on your work computer). You are looking for that (constantly moving & changing) situation that fits what you were made to do.

    Nothing wrong with that!

    Dan

  2. A very interesting story, more people should consider what it takes to follow their passion. Are we in the job position that really makes us feel the passion?

  3. Bengt, and along those lines, what happens when “the honeymoon wears off?” Of course we shouldn’t just job hop when it gets boring or tedious… but how to discern?

  4. Bingo. There are stigmas associated with unemployment that need to be ripped up and punted over the fence into the neighbor’s yard.

  5. Interesting. Being self employed, I’ve never been in that situation. I’ve only had one job in my entire life, and I quit it after 7 months once my business was up and rolling. 🙂

  6. I recently experienced much the same thing after a leadership change in my old job resulted in a toxic work environment. It steadily got worse and worse and I was miserable. My health suffered, my self-image suffered, my work suffered and my family suffered.

    I left (not soon enough) and was fortunate enough to find a job in an area that I’m passionate and enthusiastic about, working for wonderful people. I once again look forward to coming to work and feel energized again.

    Never underestimate the power of doing work you love. 🙂

  7. I bet you have some statistics that show leprosy is the #1 reason people don’t get interviews, right? 8)

    As corny and cliche as this is going to sound, the best piece of advice my Dad ever gave me was:

    “If you’re going to do something for 8 hours a day every day, you damn well better enjoy it.”

    When you’ve lost that passion for your current job (and that’s happened to everybody) it can still be an uncomfortable thing to admit that and put yourself into a state of massive change.

    Pete Johnson
    HP.com Chief Architect
    Personal blog: http://nerdguru.net

  8. Adam, let me throw a monkey wrench into it. He is self-employed, owning the business that he runs. Not for long.

    So, with that in mind, then what is the stigma? He just couldn’t hack business? Wasn’t doing well? He wasn’t the right leader for the company? The company has done VERY well.

    But it comes back to passion. There were certain things that he missed that a C-level corporate job would give him (I’m not talking about perks, he had plenty of those), and he was more interested in the excitement and passion that he expects in that job (which he knows well).

    Interesting, huh?

  9. I wrote a post back in March called Don’t Just Settle For Any Old Job. (http://www.interviewchatter.com/dont-just-settle-for-any-old-job/). It is a reprint of his Stanford commencement speech made by Steve Jobs. I know you all know who he is, but I didn’t until after I read the excerpt. He got fired, and it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to him.
    The question I posed then, I ask your readers here at JibberJobber, can you take your situation and turn it around and become even more successful than you were? I say, “YES YOU CAN!”

    I believe that whether you are laid off, fired, or leave on your own, with or without a job, if you remain focused, discover your passion, and don’t settle, you may find that the “speed bump” you are experiencing (job loss) can turn out to be one of the best things that has ever happened. Read Steve Job’s story. It inspired me.

  10. Two years ago, I left good job. Why? Many people asked because I made money, but felt like programed computer who just working, listen owner; not having opportinity to grow up. Not many owners like smart employs. Any own business is challenging, but positive thinking attitude, action, go forward, being around succesful professionals make us grow – especially if we like what we do.

  11. As an employment counsellor, one of the things I emphasize is DON”T take the first job that comes along. Or if you do, think of it as a J.I.T job to pay the bills. Find your passion and pursue it till you achieve success.

    “Find a job you are passionate about and you will never work a day in your life” Confucius

  12. I think many of us get caught up in what we do and the lifestyle it provides. If we’ve gone to grad school for a JD or MBA we feel that pursuing anything outside those very well defined career parameters will identify us as losers.Well I put up with that for too long and I wasn’t very happy. Once I let go and found a happy medium things are better. Just don’t wait too long.

  13. Jason,

    This is truly an excellent topic and one we don’t see very often. It is actually a “hidden” statistic; that over 70% of C-Level execs are actively looking for other positions on an ongoing basis. Often these senior folks don’t announce their dissatisfaction with their job or company (as loudly as lower or non-managers do), so their departure come as a surprise to plenty of people. In the Fortune 500 world, where I work, many vendors and service providers help c-levels connect with one another and plenty of managers jump from one Fortune 500 to another. Their resume reads like the Wall St Journal!

    Bottom line, to your point; everyone looks for a job at one point or another in their career, regardless of how high up (or not) you are in your career climb. The senior crew just are a bit more secretive about it … 🙂 (either that or they leave with a bang!)

    Thanks,

    Maggie
    http://corprockstar.blogspot.com

  14. REPLY: Joe Touchole

    I never thought of school as training for a job, not a school of ‘higher education’ . Its an institute for gaining knowledge. Trade schools, business schools, Technology Institutes train you for a job. I went to college for computers because of my interests and business to better understand the ‘real world’. Now I would like to go back for psychology and foreign languages. NOT to help me in my job, but because those are things that interest me and I want to learn more.

    It was suggested (strongly) by several law professors that I consider law a career. Debate well, understand the nuances of the case studies, however this has never interested me. I took law to practice the techniques I learned in Philosophy (Critical Thinking and Constructive Reasoning).
    Why did a computer major business minor take law and philosphy…it was fun

    AND THAT IS WHAT A PERSONS JOB SHOULD BE….FUN. Something you jump out of bed for.

    Now my computer knowledge could get me a job (boring) and so could my business management (more boring) but its my third selection Employment Counsellor Diploma program that got me the necessary ‘certificates’ to get into the field. I love it, get glowing reports from management and clients and look forward to each and every day. I never considered this field until I completed a Career Exploration program, which I think should be compulsory in every school for seniors. It might help many people avoid going into college/university, taking the course they think will get them a job and then finding they hate what they end up doing, instead of pursuing their dreams.

    JMO

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