Mardi Humphreys, Change Agent, Integration Edge
The pandemic made us take a hard look at our priorities. What is now most important to you? In terms of your job, if you were able to pivot (e.g., a restaurant moving from fine-dining in person to at home delivery) or to transition to WFH (e.g., software developing), you’re grateful to have found a way to continue making a living. But now that we’ve moved into COVID-19’s phase of vaccines and variants, do you want to keep this up?
What Do You Want?
It’s time to decide what aspects of the working-under-quarantine conditions you want to maintain. Has the way you had to work made you want a different job, maybe even a different career path? If so, you have loads of company. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 3.6 million Americans quit their jobs in May 2021. But before you start searching for a new situation, get clear on why you want to leave your current one. If you’re running away from this job instead of running to another one, your discontent is likely to follow you. Ask yourself:
- Am I burned out?
- Did the pandemic reveal a side of my company’s culture that I can’t support?
- Were my manager’s expectations unreasonable?
- Did I discover a remote position would be best for work-life integration?
During the work day, when you feel frustrated or stressed, write down what you’re working on or what’s happening. Is it a project, person, and/or PTO? The answers will help you define your non-starters when considering your next role.
Defining what you don’t want narrows your choices down to what you do want. Compensation (salary, PTO, insurance, retirement benefits), location, culture, and leadership development are all obvious details you need to consider. But also ask yourself:
- What does your perfect job look like?
- Where are you doing it?
- When are you doing it?
- Who are you doing it with?
- Why are you doing it?
- How are you doing it?
What values do the answers to these questions reveal (e.g., freedom, culture, growth)? Rank them in order of importance. For one work week, notice what you are doing when you lose track of time as well as what you are doing when time seems to drag. Write these down and analyze them. While looking for a new position, search for one that allows you to do more of the work you enjoy.
How Do You Get It?
Once you figure out what you want, make a list of companies whose mission, vision, and values match yours. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Business Journals regularly identify great companies to work for. Target people in these companies you can reach out to for informational interviews. Notify your network that you are looking for a new role. Ask them not only for introductions to hiring managers you want to meet, but also ask how you can help connect them to the decision makers they want to meet. It’s tempting to apply for every job that looks like fun, thinking that eventually one will take, but that’s actually a time waster. It’s more effective to invest your time building relationships with your network. Insiders know a position is available before it gets publicly posted. A good rule of thumb is to network with five people for every one job application you submit.
Are you thinking about a new position? What are you looking for in a company?