Feb 03, 2020

Switching jobs does not have to be painful

Seven hundred days ago, I quit my job at Globant to join Endava, and it’s time to do it again. Most people think that two years is too little to do something (especially on a management role) and therefore the decision comes with lots of noise and questions, but, should it be that way?

I’m 41 years old, and according to ‘social standards on employment’, I should be already thinking about settling down and securing my pension. For many of you, that might work out, but it simply sounds boring on this side of the screen.

Except for Banshai, which I founded and where I worked for almost 15 years at different intervals, these two years are the longest time I’ve stayed at the same place. Saying that publicly might sound alarming to many, but keep calm and continue reading.

Taking on a new job is not easy, especially when you have obligations in your life (family, kids, parents, house, school, car, loans, etc.), and if on top of those, you add several years working with people you trust and doing what you know it might sound like a bad decision.

In general, the number of commitments you have in your life plus the time you stay at the same company will be equivalent to the amount of problems you will fabricate to explain that “switching jobs is a bad decision”, so here are some things to think about for the next job opportunity that comes up.

Accept the interview, get outside

Most people won’t accept interviews or calls unless they are actively looking for a job change. Sure, you have a full-filling job and love going to work every day, so why look for a change? Well, Why not?

The reality is that there is nothing to lose. In the worst (or best) case scenario, you will get to keep your current job, and you’ve learned some things about your industry or your competitors. In the other scenario, you might find a great opportunity to change or start a career somewhere else.

So start going to interviews; get outside of your comfort zone. Practicing won’t hurt, and there might be good things going on outside.

Figure out what motivates you

Different things appeal to different people. In my case is mostly about learning and working with smarter people than me. More money is always good, but not the first thing on my list. So grab a piece of paper and write five simple things that are important to you (Job-wise), then see how the offer matches against that. Here’s an example of mine (in no particular order):

  • Commute to work under 25m or Work from home.
  • Autonomy to innovate or make things better.
  • Chance to learn from others, work with smart people.
  • Chance to work in products, not only services.
  • Opportunity to mentor and help others grow professionally.

Your new offer might not match all the bullets (same as your current job), but putting things on paper will help you compare, compromise on some things, and feel better about the decision, whatever it is.

That dream job only exists in your dreams (and YouTube)

We see lots of people doing awesome things on the internet. (Traveling the world, adventuring in the jungle, racing F1 cars, piloting rockets, you name it), and we say, wow, that is my dream job. I want to do that!.

The truth is that all these guys and gals are regular people like us. They might be doing something different than you, but rest assured they have their job issues, get tired, complain about their “crappy” jobs and still have to put a smiley face to the camera.

Complaining is human nature. The more time you spend in the same place, the more difficulties and frustrations will accumulate. It does not matter if it was your dream job once. Give it time, and you’ll start looking for the next dream.

When deciding on a new opportunity, don’t set your dream job as a baseline. Agree with yourself on making some compromises and commitments and move forward with the change.

The only way to find your dream job is to get hired to do it.

Trust your ‘gut’, but don’t let it decide

Your “gut feeling” is important. It is a natural mechanism we all have in our brain, designed to drive emotions, memory and basic behavior, including survival decisions. It is designed to help you decide about whether you should “fight or flight” in dangerous situations and put your body at ease or alarm state.

Having a “bad feeling” about something is useful in many situations, like when you avoid walking into an empty dark alley or escape from a group of people running aggressively towards you, but when it comes to making career decisions, it might not be the best tool to decide.

There are fewer dangers, and no wild animals are trying to eat us alive now, but our ancient lizard brains still drive many of our decisions. That “bad feeling” you have might be your brain reminding you that you have a comfortable position, switching jobs is an unnecessary risk and pointing out all of the unknowns and commitments you will have to make, so you decide to stay safe as you are now.

Listen to your gut, but don’t let it cloud your judgment. If you feel there is a risk of being scammed or hired into a shady business, turn back and run away, but otherwise, put those thoughts on pause, and move forward.

Embrace that you might regret it

Taking on a new job is always a risk, and it might not go as you expect. If you can’t make it work, something changes along the way, or it simply is not what was promised, that’s ok. Don’t blame yourself for it.

If you did things right in the past, there is a big chance the door at your previous employer is still open, but if not, that’s ok too.

Embracing that you might regret the decision from the start will set you in the correct mindset to calmly take action if that happens.

I hope these tips help you become more confident and make better decisions on your next job hunt. Feel free to follow me and send your comments and questions on Twitter. See you soon!.

Photo, thanks to: unsplash-logoTim Mossholder