My father worked for one company for most of his career, as did his father. Now though, it seems like that is a story of yesteryear. Recently, several people on my Twitter list have found new jobs. One person on Twitter also made the comment that he had Technology Attention Deficit Disorder (TADD) that made him want new things to work on. Obviously the IT job market is heating up again, and the head hunters have started to circle. The question is, how do you know it’s time for you to jump ship?
In the past, I have had several aborted job searches that have shown me that the grass isn’t always greener. Sometimes the shiny Nirvana Company down the street really isn’t as shiny once you’re on the inside. I call this Astroturf. Some companies have amazing PR, Marketing and Recruiting departments that can make them seem like they can do no wrong. About a year ago, I had an interview at one such company. Their advertising on TV and their website was slick. The HR recruiter was very nice. During the preliminaries in the HR area, it seemed like a very friendly and nice place to work. Then came the interview with the team and the hiring manager. I was given driving directions to another part of town where the IT minions dwelt and told to drive over there.
When I got over there, the slickness of the HR area was replaced with utilitarianism. OK – so I admit as a geek I usually go for utilitarianism too, but what I’m saying is that I was in the bowels of the organization where the real work happens. The interview with the team went well, and they seemed like a pretty good group of geeks. When I got to the interview with the manager, I was floored by the level of micromanaging he and the other IT managers did on day to day operations. Even a simple port activation or VLAN change sounded like it would take an act of Congress. That was when I realized that I would be trading my not so green grass for Astroturf and took my name out of consideration for the position.
So how do you know if it’s the right time to move and the right new job? My friend who is a recruiter and professional coach for physicians would tell me (while pointing to his chest) that it’s a “feeling right here”. Unfortunately for me, it seems that I never get that totally warm fuzzy feeling because of the “what ifs” churning in my stomach. Really for me, it comes down to less of a feeling and more of cold hard facts and figures.
Some of my criterion include:
- Length of Commute
- Flexibility of Schedule
- Monetary Compensation
- Benefit Package (Health Insurance, Vision Plan, Dental Plan)
- Paid Time Off
- Balance with family life
- Work team
My Bottom Line
Sometimes a position is so toxic that you have to get out, even if you’re risking a sideways move with little benefit. But most times, the devil you know feels safer than the one you don’t. Changing positions is a leap of faith and needs to be well thought out. Kick the tires, look closely at the grass (it could be astroturf or painted) and don’t fall for the HR quick sell.
What things do you do when looking for a new job?