JT: It’s that time again, when we pull together our best advice from the past year.
DALE: And, once again, with those highlights goes this wish for you: May 2023 be your best year yet. We’ll be standing by to help.
On quitting a job in order to jump into a “job-seeker’s market”: It’s not as great a job market as most people assume. Yes, there are a lot of jobs out there, and 40 million people quit jobs over the last year, but those were mostly jobs they quit because they didn’t like them. Many of those jobs are still available because nobody wants them. The really good jobs are highly competitive.
On whether to get a part-time job while doing a job search: A temporary job is a good idea when the income will keep you from a panicky job search or when the anxiety of the search will overwhelm you. Ideally, you’ll find a job that combines flexibility and purpose while letting you take your time to find the right position to advance your career goals.
On what to expect when a company “reinvents” itself and makes everyone reapply for their jobs: Let’s hope this turns out not to be true, but you should expect this: a cartload of buzzwords, acronyms and cute new job titles, all disguising layoffs and pay cuts. See if you can chat up the folks in Marketing and in Finance to find out what they foresee for the company. If they aren’t solidly optimistic, put major effort behind a job search.
On just how important networking is to a job search: One study reported that 60% of people found their jobs via networking (which seems a bit low) and another put it at 85% (which seems a bit high). Whatever the exact stat, networking is clearly the most common method of actually landing a job, so devote at least 60-85% of your search efforts there.
On being worried about what a former employer is saying about you in reference checks: Check out allisontaylor.com for a company with a service to check references for you, using people skilled at getting information on you from companies that say they only verify employment and don’t give references. The president of Allison & Taylor told us, “Approximately 57% of all reference checks we conduct identify some level of negativity from former employers.”
On choosing between two potential employers: Once you are in an organization, your ability to thrive is largely dependent on the company’s thriving. There are good, solid companies where you are practically waiting for some manager to retire or die before you can get a promotion. In contrast, a thriving company — growing rapidly, especially in an expanding industry — is continuously creating new jobs internally and looking to promote current employees. That’s where your career gets a ticket to ride.
On being burned out by the “hustle culture”: The solution is to find a problem that is bigger than yourself, one that you care about solving, and then use your unique gifts to do work that supports solving that problem. Easier said than done. Focus on restoring your health while taking a low-stress job, then start working with someone to find not just a career, but a calling.
On giving up on finding a dream job and just settling: There’s a general rule at work here: if a job is easy to get, you probably don’t want it. That’s because the best jobs are filled via word of mouth. And that’s why you need to really dial into 20 companies you’d want to work for and network like crazy. There’s a hidden job market you tap into if you make friends with people working at your target companies. It’s the best way to stand out from the competition.
On whether to contact a company that said they’d get back to you about a new job and they haven’t: It seems it always takes longer than it should to hear back. After all, they’re hiring because they need help. By staying in touch and letting them know you’re buttoned up and interested in the job, you’re helping.
On getting offered a new job but then getting a counteroffer from your current employer: There are multiple studies that show that if you negotiate with your current employer to stay, the likelihood is they will let you go within 18 months. Now that they know you wanted to leave and can only keep you by raising your pay, they feel held hostage. This usually leads to your eventual departure. So, say you are honored that they want to counter, but that you really feel the new opportunity is going to help you grow, and, if anything, might better prepare you to return to your current employer someday with new skills. This is the smartest way to leave on good terms should you not love the new place. Time to move on.
On trying to get back into the workplace after 10 years: Reach out to your local temporary agencies. They have the ability to send you out on assignments without having to interview with a company. It’s a great way for you to get back into the workforce and prove yourself. Once you have a few assignments under your belt, you have something new to put on your resume, and some of these companies that you work for on a temporary basis may see your work ethic and want to hire you full-time.
On repeatedly being passed over for a promotion: It’s likely that the management team has decided you are a good worker but just not leadership material. It’s tough to change that opinion, and you probably never will if you stay at the same company. So, look to get promoted as part of a job change. Then, once you start, make sure you ask the new management who gets promoted and why — let them know you’re a high achiever who wants mentoring. They need to see you as someone ready to step up.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten’s latest book is “Experiments Never Fail: A Guide for the Bored, Unappreciated and Underpaid.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2023 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.