Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Should I stay or should I go? 10: thinking through careers per se and understanding where we are now and where we would go from there 3

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on February 24, 2016

This is my tenth installment to a series on intentionally entered into, fundamental job and career path change, and on best practices for deciding both when and how to carry through on it (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 416 and following for Parts 1-9.)

I have been discussing jobs and careers, and challenges that can arise in them and particularly in jobs currently held, in this series. And then in Part 9 I added in a scenario in which employees are let go through no fault of their own and with no choice in that, as a consequence of a downsizing, or layoff as this is also called. And this led me to two fundamental points that I raised towards the end of that posting that I repeat here and that I will address in this one:

• From day one of your next-job search, consider the possibilities and necessities of both same-career job changes, and more fundamental career path changes. And do so with an awareness that if you in fact have to make a more fundamental career path change and you only pursue what you hope would be same-career job opportunities, you are setting yourself up for avoidable delays and for all of the problems that they would create for you.
• And plan and execute your job search campaigns accordingly.

When do you have to make a job change and when do you actually have to make a more fundamental, and I add more fundamentally wrenching career change too? And when both same-career and new-career change options have to be considered and evaluated for their relevancy to your current work life situation, how should you proceed in looking for a next new job?

Any valid answers to these questions have to be grounded in background knowledge and in timely reliable current information, and in effectively gathering all of this and organizing it into useful, actionable patterns. I actually began addressing that complex of issues without indicating that I was doing so, in Part 9. And to repeat from there with rephrasing as appropriate and with additional points added:

• Actively seek to stay as up to date and as knowledgably informed as possible,
• And in what you do and can do professionally and in staying as up to date as possible in relevant new and emerging skills,
• And on what is happening where you work and for your employer as a business if you are still working,
• And in what is happening in your industry and in your company’s markets, where you are now professionally.
• And as a part of this ongoing information gathering due diligence, think in terms of transferable skills that you could use if you did have to move on. And think more widely in that than would be necessary if you were only going to move on within your current industry and business sector. How could what you do, and what you could bring to the table and do, fit into larger career change pictures as well?
• That last point focused on the positives and without consideration of impediments. Have you signed a non-compete or other agreement, and particularly with your most recent employer that is still in effect? Do you face any contractually agreed to restrictions from your work past that would limit or channel where you can look and what you could do, and at least for some specified period of time, as next step employment?
• Be as dispassionately objective as possible here and for all of these considerations, as glossing over uncomfortable possibilities cannot and will not help you and certainly if you do find yourself facing an end of job, exit interview and have to actively seek out new employment.

One of the very first postings that I added to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development holds specific relevance here: Networking for Background Information. We can be too close to our own work and our own career path to see everything clearly and without the distorting filters of our emotions. Sometimes the best information that we can gather is the opinion and insight of a third party observer who we trust and respect for their knowledge and judgment, who is not caught up in the almost certainly emotionally charged momentum of events that we ourselves face. And even if we can see essentially everything faced more dispassionately and objectively, no one knows everything. If we chose to seek a job change and particularly a wider-ranging career path change, insight from people who have worked where we would look, and who know those work possibilities from the inside, as they actually are for their employees, can be invaluable. (Nota bene: read that background information gathering networking posting that I just cited, as these are not job search interviews and you want to be careful to build and reinforce the bridges that you need – not accidently burn them from coming across as pressuring these contacts inappropriately.)

I said in Part 9 that I would address separation agreements as part of this discussion and I will do so as a next installment to this series, simply noting here that what you contractually agree to and sign–off on in such an agreement will have impact on both your upcoming job search, and whether or not you make a career change with it. And how you negotiate the terms of these agreements will have long-term career shaping impact in any case. So you need to do this effectively.

As a specific resource for conducting a job search, I offer my series: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B when Your Job Search isn’t Working (at Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development as postings 56-72.) I initially developed and offered this as a resource for people who have been looking without success and who find themselves in need of a more structured job search approach, but feedback has shown this to offer an effective first-try approach too, as essentially all of its installments include a hands-on exercise. And if you carry through on all of them in order, you will have conducted a complete, strategically planned out job search campaign, and as a basic pattern that you can adjust and reuse moving forward.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide.

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