Is it a good time for a job change in these challenging days? A lot of potential clients and candidates are asking for my advice in this area. It is not an easy question, because everyone of us has different life conditions, therefore I cannot give you simple answer.
When discussing the issue with a candidate, I always try to start by the going over specifics of their situation first, so we can discover all potential pros and cons. The advantage of talking all the relevant points over with a recruiter is that the candidate can speak frankly about all the worrying details without the fear of being judged as the recruiter functions as an impartial and unbiased party. These discussions therefore allow candidates to express their wishes and concerns, which can lead to a more specific image of what they really want.
I had an interesting discussion about a job change with certain IT specialist recently, let´s call him Lukas. The situation he was in was in no way, shape or form unusual. Lukas was a creative back-end developer, who was not afraid of new ideas and who was eager to improve the way software was developed in his company. He had more than eight years of experience with the last four years being spent at his then current position. He liked his job, but “it was just not the same as in the beginning”. Hearing this, I wanted to know what has changed.
He took his time to think about the answer and then replied that the most important aspect would be a recent change in management. The company he worked for was part of an international group and its local branch was led by Polish management for a long time. Then a change has come, and Czech managers were put in charge of the Czech branch. The management style was not in line with existing company culture, which had direct impact on communication, work assignment and employee evaluation. Lukas felt that instead of the usual discussions about which solution would be the best one possible, the development team was forced into “making software exactly the way the customer described it” with no regard to weather this would make any sense given the intended end goal. He was missing constructive discussion with the management and with the business-oriented part of a the team. On top of that he was getting more tasks, but his paycheck didn’t reflect this. Another aspect Lukas pointed out was the lack of opportunities for professional growth, especially with regards to the new technologies.
I asked whether he was able to talk about his thoughts with his manager and what was the outcome. His boss did understand, the higher-level management unfortunately did not and consequently everything remained the same. As a result, Lukas was thinking about finding new job. Nevertheless, he also had to consider his family situation, because his wife was on maternity leave with two small children, they had a mortgage and Covid-19 was everywhere.
Frist things first, I asked which one of the issues with his job was so problematic, that he could not ignore it anymore. Lukas replied that it was the absence of open discussion about technical solutions with the rest of the issues being far behind. I continued with a question about whether there was any potential for things to change, should he decide to stay. Hard to say, he replied, but most likely not. I queried whether his family had sufficient financial reserves in case a potential new job didn’t work out. Yes, they had, so they would make it. Last but not least important question was: did Lukas have the support of his family for the job change? Lukas said that his wife was amazing, and that she would stand by him for sure. He would of course want to discuss any specific offers with her first and any final decision would have to be agreeable to both of them, but her general support for him was certain. We have found the answers to most of the questions, which a person in Lukas’s position has to consider. Lukas was an optimist and after weighing all the pros and cons he decided that since his family would support him, he had nothing to lose by looking for a job where he would be happy and where he could grow. And should he not find something suitable soon? There was no real need to rush – the right job would appear sooner or later.
My job was to help him to find this right opportunity. We chose companies, which were the most suitable given his requirements – those, where he might like the company culture, technologies, and the way dev team worked. I gave him all the details he needed along with some tips on how to make a good first impression during the interview. Since it was important for Lukas to have as much information about any potential future position as possible, I advised him to ask as many questions during the interview as he felt he needed, since the answers would help him to see “the whole picture”. Thanks to a very good relationship I have with my clients, there was a lot I was able to tell Lukas about the companies he was interested in and about the projects that they work on. However, since I am not a technical person, some aspects he needed to talk through directly with the potential employers. It was important for Lukas to find a manager who would listen to him along with a position where he would feel his contributions had purpose. Otherwise it was not going to work.
If you’re in a similar situation as Lukas was and are thinking about job change, don’t be afraid to speak about your thoughts, wishes and even fears with an independent recruiter. Thanks to their knowledge and experience, you can get a lot of valuable information along with answers to any questions that interest you. Recruiter should be able to offer you an objective insight into your situation and give you guidance on how to proceed. If a recruiter doesn’t listen to your issues and can’t provide you with an advice beyond the generic “you can do anything”, they will not be the right partner for you.
Change is the natural part of our professional lives and although jumping into a new job might look challenging or risky, there is no need to be afraid of it. Current global health crisis has in many cases forced us to slow down and focus more on our own needs then just on high performance. And that is good, because only people who are satisfied both in their personal and professional life can bring real long-term value to companies they work for.
And what happened to Lukas, you ask? He got a new job and he is happy there… And his new employer is glad to have him.