08 Jun 2015 15:04 IST

Planning your next job move!

Adopt a killer approach to making the right decision

My father worked for the Posts and Telegraphs Department for over 35 years. He was very happy all through his long career. As a chemistry graduate and coming from a typical middle-class family, he took up the government job in preference to one in the private sector as job security weighed more than anything else. He fitted the mould of the earlier generation very well.

Come to Gen X and Y. They are very different. Their parents provide them the much-needed security, education and exposure through the right schools and colleges. They are very clever, intelligent, have a mind of their own, have had decent exposure to multiple cultures due to travel and studies overseas, are straightforward and sometimes even blunt in how they communicate.

Death of career jobs

In short, they are ready to take on more risks in return for rewards. In parallel, the process of globalisation and economic growth in almost all parts of the world has given them job opportunities like never before.

As Wharton B-School Professor Dr Peter Capelli observed, career jobs are dead! Welcome to the world of experimentation, moving around and growing fast as opportunities strike.

Given this context, I am often approached by friends and their children for counsel and advice on which of the multiple job offers in hand they should consider and join. As a good coach, I refuse to advise on this, as you cannot take decisions for someone else. Added to that is what good coaches always do: keep the onus for self-awareness and accountability where it belongs — with the person seeking advice and coaching!

Informed choice

However, I follow an approach in coaching them that has helped them choose and make an informed decision given the data and information they have about the opportunities. I wish to share this briefly in this article. While this is no rocket science, it works well in most situations.

Find your career anchor / source of career ‘mojo’: This is as simple a concept as what really seems to motivate the seeker of the job change. Being clear about this will help choose the right opportunity. Simple as it sounds, it’s not easy perhaps because what, quite often, the advice-seeker articulates as his career anchor or motive is only a vague first-cut, top-of-the-mind point of view.

Probing deeply into what brings you highs and lows, what defines your joy and absence of it and, finally, what is it that you will not let go for anything else, including money and big titles and the like, will bring much better clarity and, surprisingly enough, may be very different from what you originally thought was your primary source of mojo at work.

Five things you like

Find out at least five things you do not like about the job or the company you have an offer from: This is my killer approach to counselling and this serves multiple objectives to the decision clarity you might like to arrive at. This works well as a powerful supplement to the first assessing the mojo factor.

Once, you reach your near-final conclusion on which company to join, before you really make up your mind, follow my second counsel. This involves asking them to go back and “research out at least five good reasons for not taking up that job and not joining that company.

You may wonder why this crazy piece of counsel. Once you have worked hard at “discovering” at least five good reasons for not taking up that job or joining that company, I have equipped you with at least five reasons for not quitting that job or company in haste immediately after joining! How does this sound for you?

Hasty approach

As most of the job changers realise, their decision is often made in haste. Many times, it is the keenness to quit the current job that hastens the decision to take up the new-found job. And it is not uncommon for them to realise soon that they are not enjoying their new jobs either, even if it does not tantamount to jumping from the frying pan into the fire!

During the career counselling discussions, I help them to realise that they have at least five good reasons not to take up the job or join the company and if they choose to join despite this awareness, at least, I have made them to realise that they are making “an informed choice.” This is the first advantage.

Second, they probably also stand to eliminate at least five quick reasons they will tend to offer for wanting to quit the new job and start looking out for change again too soon. After all, they knew these reasons and did not discover them post joining! Finding these five reasons is not an easy task. They need to talk to a few current employees and ex-employees, look through the comments and opinions expressed in the “glass-door” and such other windows for information.

In a nutshell, if you are looking to make next job move, you have two things to reflect on. One, assess your career ‘mojo’ and what will bring / enhance that mojo. Also, before you sign up for the next job, find out seriously what may turn out to be some of the ‘nojo’ aspects of the job and company so that if go ahead and take up that job, you at least remove those 5 reasons for quitting again as your decision to move into the new job was a well-informed one. Good luck with your next move!