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Looking for a new job?

I have spoken with a number of people that are either unhappy in the their current positions or are feeling an extremely strong desire to move onto the next chapter in their careers.  For the folks that are extremely unhappy or frustrated, I know that this is going to be difficult but in order to move forward, you need to have a clear head.  So take a couple of deep breaths and get those frustrations under control.  Frustration is just a form of anger, get it under control or the anger will be visible to those that you speak with and is that the message that you want to send to prospective employers?

Now that you have decided to find greener pastures, you have decided haven’t you?  Remember, no decision is a decision.  If are not deciding, then you are either choosing to stay or allowing others to control your career and dictate to you.

If you have decided to move to greener pastures, the first is to take a look at what’s out there right?  Actually not!  The first step is to identify what it is that you are looking for and then to do a targeted search in the organizations that meet your criteria.

It’s all about youSparkPilot.com_What_makes_you_happy

So let’s look take a quick look at what you want or what makes you happy.  What we are trying to achieve here is to get to know what it is that we want.  The concept is quite simple.  We play this game with ourselves all the time, where we are looking to be happy but we never really take a look at ourselves to determine what will make us happy.  So what areas do I suggest looking at to ensure that we understand what will make us happy at work?  Why do this?  Simple, if you know what will conditions, environment etc make you happy, you can go and look for that instead of arriving at a place or role and finding out that you are not happy.

Still reading?  Good, now let’s take a look at the criteria that I suggest you look at to determine where or what your next opportunity should be.  There are two key elements for this approach to work and it is important for you to know yourself before evaluating the new opportunity.

Your Passion

What is your passion?  This is core to your job being fulfilling for you.  Are you doing something that you really enjoy doing?  When you wake up in the morning, are bushy tailed and rearing to go?  If not, you job does not align with your passion.  I have seen people go through life listless about what they are doing and after doing this for years, they think it is normal.  Folks, find what you really care about and what makes you happy.  And it is possible that your passions may change as you mature.  It is OK for your passions to be outside work.  I have had the pleasure of working with two guys where their passions where their kids.  Their job was just a way to provide for their kids.  I know that some management/executives do not like this answer because they expect to be #1, but this is their shortcoming, not yours.

Your goals

What are your goals that you want to achieve and how will this new role help you achieve your goals?  If you do not have goals, then this is a great time to start defining some.  And please write them down because without them being documented, we tend to drift based on the situation.  When you document, it provides you with a great baseline and something that you can review over time.  I had an employee who thought he was great at executing.  To help him understand that this was an area of improvement, I had him document his goals for the month.  At the end of the month, we reviewed what he had completed and to his horror he had completed nothing that he had committed to complete.

Your Style

How do you prefer to operate?  While I do acknowledge that this is situational. we all have a preference for a particular style.  Do you know what yours is?  If not, ask a significant other and your colleagues and they will provide you with feedback very quickly on how they see your behaviors.  What we are trying to discover here is what is your natural style.  To help here, I had a situation where the organization culture had become very combative and confrontational, mainly because of a single person’s style and culture and the leadership did not want to run the risk of losing and therefore they chose not to put him on a behavior modification path.  I personally found this to be an unacceptable situation, not only the culture but the lack of leadership and therefore I chose to leave, as did 63% of the organization.  For me to be happy, I like people being happy and being able to share ideas in an open and collaborative manner.  What is your preferred style?

Your natural Pace

Do you naturally move at 110mph or 40 mph.  The pace of industry is getting faster and faster and I have seen this become more and more of an issue.  Ten years ago it was very seldom an issue but the pace of technology is frenetic and therefore if you do not like moving quickly, do not target a role where fast paced is a necessity.  But you need to know what your pace is before you start looking……..


 The new role / job

OK, so now this section of the post is all about the new position and some suggested areas to research before you sign on the dotted line.

Company / Team Culture

What is the culture at the new place?  Do they value cross group collaboration or is the culture very combative? Are they are a bunch of sports nuts that work out twice a day or a bunch of single people that socialize together a number of times together every week.  You will need to fit in with this culture, so make sure that it is who you are and that it is what you want.  A big red flag here is if the org is leaderless or recently underwent a leadership change because the culture is set from the top and influenced at the ground level.

I am putting this under culture but it can stand by itself – office hours.  What are the official office hours and then the unofficial work hours.  Do they start meetings at 7:30 AM and then expect people to be in the office until after 7PM in the evening?


What are their values?  I had a friend who took a position because they gave him a large salary bump only to find out that some of his office mates were members of a religious cult.  As a lifelong Catholic, he left within a month because he could not relate to people that had a vastly different value system to his own.

A note to the technical people that value a high level of technical prowess.  Think about others who do not share this value and do not have the skills that you do.


What is the management style.  I have come across a startup where the CEO does a daily war room meeting so that his 30+ employees can cover what they are going to do during the day.  He them checks in on them during the day to ensure that they are on track.  He was very confused when I asked him who was running the company while he was micro-managing the people.  Needless to say, he was experiencing a rather staff turnover and he kept on saying that it was because people did not have the work ethic for a startup……  Remember that your manager has control, or at least some influence in your career trajectory while your are employed with that company.

It is always a good idea to see how others in similar roles to you interact with the management and how management interacts with them.  And never overlook how they interact with each other.  That is so telling!

Senior Leadership

Do they believe that only senior leadership can drive initiatives or do they believe that anyone can lead an initiative?  If it takes the involvement of one of the anointed ones to have an initiative succeed, is that what you are looking for?    Alternatively, the lack of leadership will kill any idea / initiative extremely quickly and then the people will mill around and often bicker about often irrelevant things because there is no direction.

 Money / Benefits

Yeah, I have to bring up the piece that no one wants to talk about but the latest research is starting to highlight that higher reward does not equal more results.  In some situations, company’s are having to provide larger packages in order to compensate for other situations such as work environment or just because they are not able to find suitably skilled people that want to do the job. In addition, some companies are having to pay large packages in order to attract and retain talent.

 The role

If possible, I suggest speaking with the people that are currently performing similar roles to the one that you will be performing.  Is the role really what they documented in the job description?  Where there peers on the interview loop?

Their Expectations

This is a loaded one.  Are they expecting you to build a new product / technology / team without really understanding of what it will cost to deliver?  Yeah, this is a personal lesson that I learned where the company wanted the results but was not willing to invest what it took to deliver that caliber of results.  In their mind, they were paying me to deliver but did not understand that it takes a team to deliver a world-class product…..  Now I always ask what it is that they want to get from me and in what timeframe?  The shorter the time, the higher the investment needed.

You also need to remember is that the more that they pay you, the higher their expectations will be.



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