Regardless of what the popular press might have you believe, not everyone who is job hunting is living in a crappy work situation. There are other reasons to want to leave a job besides being miserable. You could be wanting to learn more, become a cardcarrying member of management, try new challenging projects, or move to a different city (to name just a few options).
If this sounds like you, you may also note a strange limbo-like feeling where you’re standing in two different worlds. It’s a peculiar window of time that starts when you’re thinking seriously about changing jobs and the time you actually make the jump. It can drive some folks nuts. But it’s in this window that opportunities continue to appear if we’re open to seeing them. The problem is that we focus so much on that next great gig, we often don’t see them. These can be important stepping stones we can use to continue building our professional portfolios.
Here are a few springboard questions to ask:
Is there a gap in my resume or portfolio that I can work on now?
If you’ve started putting feelers out there for a new job (in particular if you’ve had some interviews), you’ve likely started getting ideas on areas where you can add a little extra meat to your portfolio (or extra tofu if you’re of the vegetarian persuasion). I’m a firm believer that a portfolio can always be enhanced so look for opportunities to improve your marketable expertise and results.
Is there a network or contact relationship that I can cultivate?
Don’t discount your internal contacts now. Just because you’re thinking of leaving a workplace doesn’t mean you have to stop making professional connections. If anything, this is a prime time to keep meeting and talking and learning from people. Oh…and those external networks are pretty good ones to continue to cultivate, too.
It could be that you’ve tapped out all of your opportunities. If that’s the case, then it’s definitely time to move on quickly. But if you recognize that there’s still something left in the tank, take some time to step back and reflect on what you can do right now to build a stronger portfolio rather than dwell exclusively on a future yet to come.
Any other road-tested wisdom out there from folks in job change limbo?