Coaching Someone About Changing Jobs

A good friend called me last night to seek my advice about his desire to change jobs. I’m going to refer to his current position as “Job A” and a position he’s interviewing for “Opportunity B.”

He really needs Opportunity B to set the stage for “Opportunity C.” Opportunity B is a critically important interim step for him–if Opportunity B doesn’t provide the background and insights he is looking for, he will have set himself back and lost valuable time.

Given his objectives, I coached him to be careful about Opportunity B, to try to confirm that his “must haves” in the new job are really there and if not, to turn down Opportunity B if it is offered to him.

Last night, the biggest “must have” I heard is that he wants to leave Job A because it is not giving him the background and experience that he craves.  That doesn’t speak to what he needs in his next position. Impatience is driving his decision, not carefully understood “must haves” that need to be derived from the his next job opportunity.

Because he’s not happy in Job A, he believes that, no matter what, Opportunity B has to be better. This is in spite of the fact he doesn’t yet know how well Opportunity B aligns with his “must haves.” He’s really not given the idea of his “must haves” appropriate energy and attention at this point.

I’m concerned he might find more unhappiness in Opportunity B if he finds out it wasn’t what he wanted or needed. It sounds to me like the people he’s interviewing with are telling him what they think he wants to hear, not necessarily what he can realistically expect. Has that ever happened to anyone you know? Has that ever happened to you?

I advised him that, while the company is trying to assess him for Opportunity B, he needs to just as carefully assess whether or not Opportunity B puts him on a path to Opportunity C.  Somehow during the interview process, he needs to look for evidence–not just hear sweet words–that Opportunity B is going to be a win for him. He’s got to ask great questions of the people he interviews with to try to determine if Opportunity B is an appropriate next-step in his career.

At the end of the day, he’s got to look for alignment between his “must haves” and Opportunity B. If there’s poor alignment, he’s got to turn down Opportunity B.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

© 2013 Dave Gardner



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