This article provides tips for people who aren’t job searching right now. Is sitting tight right for you?
Many people are in a No-Go Zone. Most days they are satisfied with their job. They make a decent salary. They like their co-workers. Their boss isn’t perfect (what boss is?) but they’ve learned to work around the boss’s quirks and micro management, so most days they don’t feel angry about what comes down from the top. Often they leave work feeling satisfied.
The hours are reasonable, by today’s hours-creep standards, and they have time for the rest of their life.
But there’s a catch: a nagging feeling they should be planning ahead more, looking for a growth opportunity, thinking about where they’d like to go next and where they’d like to be. On any given day, though, it doesn’t happen.
In short, they are standing pat in the No-Go Zone. What’s wrong with that?
Maybe nothing. There are times in life when it makes sense. Two young children need daily attention. Aging parents need phone calls and care. They’ve learned a new sport and are out there enjoying it every spare moment. Life is busy, life is good.
Why bother to think too far ahead? Carpe diem!
It’s not a bad position for some. Other feel uneasy: they may pay for this inattention later.
Are you kidding yourself about a job change?
Do you have this feeling, and have you been telling yourself any of the following?
- “Ugh. I hate looking for a job. What’s the rush? I’m doing fine.”
- “Besides, if I took a new job, I might get:
- a bad boss
- worse co-workers and longer hours
- a smaller workspace with no nice big window”
- “I’d need to learn new skills, and maybe I wouldn’t be as good at the new responsibilities as I am at my current ones.”
- “Maybe, however, I should be doing something. Is my head in the sand? Not sure.”
But what could I do, apart from revising my resume and starting to look (with the risk my boss would hear about it—which might make the boss value me more, but I’m nervous).
Meantime, here are the big four NO COMMITMENT / SMART ACTIONS to take:
- Look up and around. Are there any people above you in your organization or other places you know whose type of job you might like? Analyze: What qualifications and experience do those people have that you don’t have yet?
- Think of people you admire. What jobs are they doing, and why do you admire them. Might you one day (if you could get such a job) enjoy doing it?
- Based on 1 and 2, find ten jobs by title on Indeed.com. Stretch jobs. Jobs you probably can’t get right now.
- Print out the ads. Take two magic markers and highlight new skills or qualifications you’d need in order to be competitive for that job. You’ve just done a GAP ANALYSIS.
Ok, so there’s stuff you don’t have. Play around a bit, and just write down how you could get the qualifications your Gap Analysis pointed out. You are not committing to anything!
- Could you take a course or two, or even three? Regular on-line , for regular university fees? Or maybe a MOOC (Massive Open On-line Course) from EdX , Coursera, Udacity, or Udemy? The price is usually $100-$200 per course, and you get a certificate if you pass. You don’t get university credit. But hey, you’d be getting the new info. And “certificates in X, Y and Z from MIT” wouldn’t look too shabby on your resume.
- Could you talk to your boss or someone in another division about working on a project that would give you new skills and experience?
- Could you volunteer to do a job for some community organization, again getting knowledge and skills?
Could you do any or all of the above in 3 extra hours a week? Five? Seven? What would you have to give up? TV time is the usual suspect, but you really do need some down time for relaxing. Shopping time (how about on-line grocery delivery?) Inefficiency time?
- Well, it would take time away from the stuff I need or want to do.
- I’d have to do some imagining (but not committing).
- Imagining takes me a bit out of my comfort zone. But… I don’t need to commit — just to imagine and explore.
- I might get myself ready for a move in one, two or three years — a move I might want to make then. Or need to make.
- I don’t need to commit, or tell anyone I am doing it, though sometimes that’s motivating.
- I can stop this edgy feeling. I am taking action — doing something that moves me forward.
“Should I go this far in getting ready for a new job at some point?”
What do your head and your gut say?