An Active Job Search

I caught this link in a Brent Ozar newsletter. It’s a post from Alice Goldfuss noting she’s on the market for hiring. Not that she’s looking for a job, but rather, saying she’s willing to talk to you if you want to hire her. Quite a bold announcement, but she’s quite a talent that many organizations might want. I don’t know that many of us could post something and have companies come find you, but I did like the list of items she lays out for a hiring conversation.

These are the types of questions that you might keep handy, even as notes, for your next interview. I’ve often had a series of questions like this that I ask when I go into an interview for a job. I’ve learned that I need to be curious and careful if I want a successful position for both me and the company. Both of us are trying to put our best foot forward, sometimes stretching the positives and minimizing the downsides. That means that both sides can be surprised later by how the relationship actually proceeds.

Many of us proceed from job to job, often taking the first offer we get whenever we are looking for a job. That usually occurs because we need to make money and cover bills. The timing of job interviews and offers usually means that we can’t often consider two at once. Sometimes we can, but it’s been rare for me.

My view has been that the best time to find a new job is when you have a job. If you are unhappy, or you feel that you want a better position/challenge/compensation/etc., then look for alternatives. If for no other reason, you should be aware of how your current job compares to others. It’s easy to get complacent and not realize that the world of employment has changed dramatically.

At the same time, I also ask you to actively think about the things that you like and don’t like about your job. Think about what you really want from employment. It could be the compensation, the hours, the challenge, the colleagues, the benefits, or anything else. Make a real list, and then assign some weights to these factors and decide what is important to you. I actually like the Thymometrics that Redgate uses to track employee satisfaction, and I take the data I’ve entered and use that to evaluate my own satisfaction with employment. I do this every year, making an evaluation of my own position and then making a conscious decision to stay. I’ve written about the service, and I love it.

For 14 years I’ve made the decision to stay in my position, usually because I don’t find other positions offering a better balance of the things important to me. I could make more money, but I’d have to change other things, and I haven’t found the overall value from alternatives to be worth me making a move. I hope you can say the same, but in order to do that, make sure you are actively thinking about what you want from employment, evaluating your current environment, and then actively managing your career in the way the direction that matters to you.

Steve Jones

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