Last week I started a new job as a marketing manager for a software company here in Austin (which I hope offers a sort of apologetic explanation for my hiatus). The first week is always a mix of excitement, bewilderment, and high anxiety. It was also a chance to practice some ethnographic techniques which I’ll explain in greater detail in an upcoming post. But as I experienced the full rush of being back in steady employment for the first time in 20 months, I was constantly reminded of this bit of conventional wisdom:
Start looking for your next job as soon as you start your current job.
In my younger, more naive days, I thought this advice was tantamount to disloyalty to my new employer and a sure way of getting myself blackballed from the get-go. Now, as a (late) thirtysomething professional who has been through the fire and smart enough to see wisdom when it appears, there’s quite a lot of good we can gain by heeding this guidance.
First, let’s be honest…this isn’t our grandpa’s professional world and loyalty in employment doesn’t exist like it did two generations ago. So we have to take care of ourselves and be constantly vigilant with our careers and employment. This last economic downturn should have made that 100% crystal clear. Sadly, it’s a realistic and somewhat cynical perspective. On the other hand…
Here’s where we can take a more positive and forward-focused view. I’ve started to think clearly about:
- what kind of tangible experiences I want to include in my professional portfolio
- what kind of stories I want to tell at an upcoming interview
- What kind of kickass results I want to market on my resume
By imagining into the future, we practice the kind of goal-setting we typically do with any sort of project: we begin with the end in mind and work backward. What this encourages us to do is frequently think about our resume and focus our actions toward remarkable results. And it’s not at all disloyal: we can’t build experiences, create stories, and generate results without completing our objectives for our current employers.
photo credit: Alexandre Moreau Photography (via Flickr)