I’m a month into my new role, but while I was taking time off I made a promise to myself that I would finish this series about the transitioning in my life. I hope you don’t mind me picking up where we left off. :) Growing up, our parents were known to be in their jobs for pretty much their whole lives. It wasn’t common for them to changes roles every couple of years. In Silicon Valley, it is becoming less of a faux pas for you to change jobs every year. Whatever the case, it’s likely that you won’t be at your job for the rest of your life in this day and age.
One of the most common questions I received from my peers when I made my announcement was “Why?” followed by “When did you know?” I don’t want to get too into depth about my answers, but what I will tell you is that you don’t wake up one morning and decide that you’re going to leave. It starts with curiosity. You might stumble upon an interesting article about a company or meet someone while you’re out that works elsewhere or you catch up with someone that recently left the company that you’re at. It could be one of these things or none of these things. Maybe you’re just fed up with something or there’s some drama; or you think about something completely out of left field. It’s different for everyone. Where it’s the same though is that you have that lingering thought. It’s the same thought that everyone else before you has had and over time the thought comes to the forefront. It starts to get bigger until you can’t put it in the back of your head anymore. For me, that first thought was June 2016, then August, then December, which led to my leaving in January.
Whatever it is that makes you want to leave; do your best to leave when you’re still happy and not when you are angry or upset. Why? Because you don’t want to leave out of desperation. It will cause you to make rash decisions that are not well out and when it comes to determining your next job, it’s not something you want to take lightly. Secondly, the attitude that you have on your company when you are looking to leave will come to light in your interviews and that’s not what you want to come across.
I had been at my previous company for years so when it came time to look for my next move, I didn’t have a plan and that’s when Manan advised me that that was the first step. The funny thing is, I work in this space so I should be very aware of knowing what to do, but because it had been so long I just didn’t. He advised me:
- Make a list of companies you want to work at
- Find someone at each company that can help refer you somehow. If it’s not someone directly, maybe a friend of a friend.
- Apply to all of the companies at once and go from there
It sounds simple enough, but you and I both know that applying to jobs is a full time job in itself. I wasn’t a perfect interviewer and I had a lot of challenges at the beginning. I wasn’t prepared when I started and maybe I was overconfident that I could wing it. The second and third time, I made a list of all the questions I thought I would be asked and started to craft “my story.” Everyone has one and an employer wants to know how you got to your last job, what you did there, and what’s next for you. I received some rejections – completely normal and also a humbling experience in its own. Every time I got a rejection, I found one more company to apply to that same day.
If there’s anything I wish I had done sooner than when I got to this experience, it would be a few things. I wish I would have taken info chats sooner regardless of whether or not I was looking for a position just to build those relationships and utilize my network. I had a number of info chats when I was searching and these chats (as casual as they were) spun into interviews and opportunities that I didn’t originally envision for myself. I also believe that it’s helpful to take calls with recruiters when opportunities comes up to understand your worth in the market. I’ve actually been advising many of my peers to do this recently especially because there’s been previous data around women not negotiating and this is something that helps you when you get to that stage in the interview process.
In addition to Manan’s steps, here are mine:
- Get your resume updated
- Practice interviewing with your friends or another recruiter if you’re lucky
- Turn on the feature within LinkedIn that lets recruiters know that you are “open to new opportunities”
I was going to include in this post a deeper thought about doing some soul searching when you’re in this stage of your life and what non-negotiables I had, but I think I’ll save that for the next post. :)