Tag: job search


When Is the Right Time to Leave Your Job?

The short answer to this question is when you:

a) have enough

AND

b) have had enough!

There are several different items that can fall into both the a) and the b) categories. 

When You Have Enough

It may be the right time to leave your job when you have enough:

  • job offers
  • interest from other companies
  • potential clients (if deciding to start your own business)
  • savings
  • financial support (from a spouse, an inheritance, etc.)
  • fill in the blank ______________.

Have Had Enough

It may also be the right time to leave your job when you’ve had enough:

  • of a toxic environment or poor company culture
  • illness caused by the above
  • of the little to no opportunities for advancement
  • abuse from managers or co-workers
  • of unfair/unequal pay
  • harassment of any kind
  • fill in the blank ______________.

For me, I’d had enough

You may find your situation leans more in one category than the other.

For me personally, when I was contemplating leaving my full-time job at a prestigious university to take my part-time business full-time, I was more in the “have had enough” situation.

While I had a little bit of savings and some financial support, I didn’t have a lot of clients yet.

But I had enough of a toxic culture and a micro-managing boss that was making me physically ill and offering me very little opportunity for advancement to want to leave. Plus, my creativity was being stifled.

I knew I couldn’t stomach another fall semester there. And I would’ve been of no use to my students if I’d stayed.

The thing that helped me make the decision to leave was a bit of a safety net being offered to me as a result of my networking efforts. My contact said,

 “Lori, it’s never going to be the right time for you to leave your job to start your business full-time.”

He knew I probably wouldn’t leave without something there to support me, and offered to provide a way for me to build my contacts in a 3-month period so I could quickly increase the number of clients I needed to make the jump.

Good Timing vs. Bad Timing

I left my job on August 1, 2008…just a month and a half before the economy tanked and the US went into a recession.

Some would say my timing was bad.

But I know in my heart of hearts, if I’d not left my job when I did, I probably never would have.

Once the economy tanked I would’ve been too scared to leave. And I probably would’ve been stuck in a toxic environment for several more years, getting sicker and sicker.

So I’d say my timing was good.

I was already learning the things I needed to learn and hustling to do the things I needed to do to grow my business.

Other people I knew who were laid off during the recession and were forced to start their own business just to survive were a month and a half behind my learning curve.

And in November of 2008 when people were really starting to feel the full effects of the recession, my replacement in my job at the university quit…

…Only 4 months after she’d replaced me…

…At a time when no one in their right mind who still had a job would leave it.

What does that tell you about how bad things were there? Huh?

Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Job

Of course if you find yourself asking the question,

“When, if at all, should I leave my job?”

…there are a lot of factors to consider, including financial, mental, and physical.

Only you know your financial situation and your health situation. You have to make the best decision with the information you have. Is your health going to deteriorate if you stay and therefore cost you more in medical bills?

Or is it possible your health will improve if you leave, therefore saving you some money to help tide you over until you find your next opportunity?

There’s also the factor of timing.

Is it clear this is a good time to leave? For instance, do you have another job offer on the table?

Is it clear it’s a bad time? For example, is your spouse currently out of his or her job on medical leave and you have those medical bills rolling in?

Is the only thing that’s clear is that you’ll never be able to predict the best time? (This scenario is usually more likely than the previous two.)

Sometimes it takes someone like a career coach who’s objective to help you see all the factors and the options available to you. Especially when you realize you’re being led too much by emotions such as fear and panic. 

But you shouldn’t focus just on the factors that affect you. Consider how your current work situation is affecting others.

If you stay, will you make things better or worse for your co-workers, your customers/clients, the company’s bottom line?

I knew if I didn’t leave my job, my students would feel the effects of the toxicity in my work environment, and they didn’t deserve that. They didn’t need that negativity spilling over into their own college experience and their own job search.

If you stay, will your family have less time with you? Will they have to deal with your irritability, anxiety, and depression due to the stress from your job?

How to Create an Exit Strategy

If, after taking all the factors into consideration, you realize it’s the right time to leave, you have to create an exit strategy.

1. Clarify your goals

Start by clarifying your goals, both short-term and long-term. Step out of your comfort zone and brainstorm a list of steps you can begin taking now to achieve those goals.

Check out “Be Honest: Is Your Comfort Zone Really All That Comfortable?”

For instance, your short-term goal may be to leave your current department or company for a similar job. Some steps would include visiting a career coach, updating your resume, and getting in touch with your network.

2, Have a plan B in place

Next, develop an alternate plan in the event your first plan doesn’t pan out.

For example, if you aren’t finding any job openings in your field with your experience, what are some other ways you can monetize your skills and expertise?

Could you consult? Could you start a side business? Or a full-time business of your own?

Check out: “How to Make the Risk of Starting Your Own Business Doable”

If so, start taking steps toward that goal such as determining your target market, their pain points, and how you help them solve their problem.

Determine where your potential customers spend their time so you can know when and where to market to them.

3. Find ways to cope

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for your exit strategy to take root, do what you can to make your current job as bearable as possible.

For ideas on how to do this, check out my post “How to Make Your Current Job More Bearable: 8 Ways to Cope Until You Can Get Out”.

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What You Need to Know About a Job Loss

As a career coach and outplacement counselor, I work with many people who’ve been laid off from their jobs.

Some saw the writing on the wall and knew the layoff was coming.

Others were completely blindsided.

If you expect (or even suspect) you’ll soon be losing your job, here’s what you need to know.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Job Loss

1. Expect to experience grief.

A job loss, especially an unexpected one, can lead to the same stages of grief experienced with the death of a loved one.

The stages of grief don’t always happen in order. Some repeat and some may last longer than others.

It’s important to understand this is natural and to let yourself feel and express this grief.

It’s also important not to wallow in your feelings or let negative reactions spill over into your job search. Hiring managers and recruiters can easily pick up on any negative feelings or attitudes when interviewing you. You have to learn to manage your emotions during those crucial interactions.


2. Expect to have a new outlook on your career and life.

One of my clients who suffered a layoff had a very positive outlook on her situation.

She started calling herself “funemployed” because she now had the time to do some things she didn’t have time for when working full-time.

Once she had her few weeks of fun, she then turned her focus toward her dream of starting her own business.

A layoff can be used as a time to pursue your passions, to discover new passions, or to give yourself or your family some much-needed quality time and TLC.


3. Expect it to take time to conduct a job search.

It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to how soon you may find your next opportunity.

The average job search can take three to nine months, even in a good job market. You should also expect to spend at least 20 hours per week on your job search.

You must be patient with the process, do everything in your power, and leave the rest up to fate.

Also, you mustn’t take the first thing that comes along, especially if it’s not a good fit. You don’t want to find yourself looking for another job again a year later. Allow yourself to be a little selective for as long as you financially can.


4. Expect online job boards to be (somewhat) a waste of your time.

Most people who find themselves back in the job market immediately jump online and start applying for jobs through job boards.

While you want to use all the resources at your fingertips, you also want to use your time wisely.

Since 80% of the current workforce found their jobs through networking, 80% of your job search should be spent networking.

The other 20% of the time should be spent searching and responding to job ads, preferably with a more targeted approach through LinkedIn, professional associations, company websites, and select job boards. The more specific the job board, the better, as opposed to a large “one-size-fits-all” job board.


5. Expect to take advantage of available resources.

In addition to my work as a career coach, I also work under contract providing outplacement counseling.

This is where a company provides and pays for all career coaching for each person being laid off. It’s usually part of the employee’s severance package.

While most employees opt for this service, I’m shocked at how many who don’t.

I mean, it’s free! The company is paying for this service. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of every resource made available to you?!

If your company doesn’t offer outplacement counseling as part of your severance package, there are still some affordable and helpful options for you to brush up on your job search skills. (See below.)


6. Expect to have to sell yourself.

In today’s job search, accomplishments are king! You will have to sell your experience by showing the results of your skills and previous job duties.

Now is the time to start making a list of your on-the-job accomplishments and start collecting any numbers or figures that quantify the results of your work. Many people fail to collect this information before their layoff.

You should always record this information every six months whether you are looking for a job or not. Then you’ll want to add it to your resume.

Having accomplishments on your resume will help you secure interviews, where you should expect to tell the story of those accomplishments. When backed up with details and quantitative data, your stories will help you land job offers.


In conclusion

A job loss can be devastating.

But, losing a job doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to work.

Remember to stay positive, remain realistic, and use the resources available to you.

Resources

  • Free advice: free advice is always good and this blog provides a lot of that, from “how-to” tips on resume writing, interviewing, and networking, to encouragement to keep you motivated when the job search gets tough.
  • Goal-Achievement Plan: when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter you’ll receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.
  • Affordable online instruction: when your employer doesn’t provide you a career coach or you can’t afford one on your own, there is the option for paNASH’s affordable on-demand videos, available online 24/7.

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Can Finding a Job Be Like Finding Love?

Can finding a job be like finding love?

With today’s job market, it can be tough to find a good job. Almost as tough as it is to find a good companion.

But the way you approach finding a job is not so different than the approach you might take when finding a mate.

While it’s true that opposites attract, most people seek out a mate with common interests and values.

You’ve also probably heard you have to know and love yourself before you can know and love another person. The same is true when determining what career field you should enter into.

What Are Your “Must-Haves”?

First, you need to know enough about yourself to know what you like and what you don’t like. Do you prefer an outdoorsy, adventurous job to a nice, quiet desk job?

You also need to determine what you value most in an employer. Are you looking for an employer that’s honest and caring? Do you want one that’s going to spend a lot of money on you in salary and benefits?

If you recoil at the idea of a long distance relationship, location and commute may be important factors in determining what kind of job is right for you.

So the first step to a job search is self-reflection and self-assessment. Career assessments are similar to tests used in online matchmaking. They measure your interests and values to determine what career fields may be a good match for you.

However, these assessments should not be taken too seriously. The results of your career assessments don’t mean you can’t succeed in other career fields. Just like the results of your matchmaking test don’t mean you can only date those people who fall into your “perfect match” category.

Many times, potential mates come along when you least expect them, and so do other career opportunities.

Put Yourself Out There

Once you know what kind of job is right for you, now you have to go out and find it!

There are several ways to find a job, and it’s important to exhaust all possibilities.

First, there are online job boards which are similar in function to online dating sites and dating apps. However, keep in mind you can’t just post your resume to a 100 job ads and sit back and expect employers to call. Just like the ladies can’t expect to give out their phone number to every man they meet and sit at home waiting for them to call.

Instead, the most effective and successful way to find a job is through networking.

Networking is important because, just like the fact that not every person has a personal ad posted online, not every job is advertised online.

In fact, over half of all jobs go unadvertised.

Networking can be very intimidating (check out my post 7 Easy Networking Tips for Introverts). It can even make some people nervous because it’s very similar to being “fixed” up on a date.

Or it can be like trying to get up the nerve to approach an attractive member of the opposite sex at a party. Although in the case of networking, you usually don’t have any liquid courage to make it easier.

Networking also yields better results than attending a massive job fair, the singles bar of the working world.

But leave no job lead un-turned.

Even if the lead doesn’t turn out to be your dream job, the contacts you make from it could lead you to a more compatible job.

This is kind of like going on a blind date and instead end up falling for your date’s roommate instead.

Time to Flirt!

Once you’ve searched and found job openings that are right for you, it’s now time for the seduction scene.

You must spend some time fixing up your resume to make it more attractive to potential employers.

A resume is the occupational equivalent to flirting in the dating world.

The purpose of a resume is not to get a job, but to land a first-round interview. Just like the purpose of flirting is not to get a marriage commitment, but to land a first date.

Your resume should target the position for which you are applying.

For instance, instead of listing every job you’ve had since babysitter or lifeguard, list only the most relevant jobs. Or those where you developed strong transferable skills necessary to be successful in the available position.

If the “flirting” works, the seduction game continues with the first interview (i.e. the first date).

Do Your Research

If you’re being fixed up with someone, usually before the date you try to get the low-down from your friend the matchmaker on what the other person is really like.

It’s necessary to know a little background information about the potential match before meeting them. This helps you determine if the person has any of the qualities you’re looking for in a mate.

You want to do the same before meeting a recruiter or potential employer for the first time. In fact, your research should be even more thorough when it comes to preparing for your screening interview.

The research you do on the company before the interview not only will impress the interviewer, but will also help you determine if it’s a close match to your interests and values. (And, unlike in dating, it won’t be seen as stalking.)

Ask Lots of Questions!

Once you get past the whole “What am I going to wear?!” dilemma (which can be stressful since first impressions count, both on a first date and in a job interview), it’s time to see if the chemistry is there!

Both a first date and an interview is the time to determine if your personalities click with each other.

Questions help in determining if there’s a connection.

Keep in mind that the interview is a two-way street.

You must ask thoughtful questions to decide if this is a job you want to pursue further.

Not having questions about the job or the company would indicate a lack of interest in the job.

You wouldn’t go on a date and not ask the other person any questions about themselves, would you?

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

We all know that men and women communicate differently when interacting with each other. They also perform differently from each other in job interviews.

Men are more confident (and sometimes overly confident) when talking about themselves in the interview. Maybe it’s because they get a lot of practice from dating since men often treat a first date like a job interview.

They tend to talk about themselves because, since women ask their dates many questions, men think women want to hear all about them and hope they will impress the women in the process.

Many times, women are asking questions because they want to be asked the same questions by their dates.

Women feel it’s impolite to just initiate a conversation about themselves.

Some women aren’t as confident as men are in an interview because they don’t feel comfortable tooting their own horn.

During the job interview, women should highlight their skills and accomplishments by giving specific examples and relaying that into how they can make a contribution to the company.

Men should do the same while also asking more questions about what would be expected of them in the job.

Say “Thank You”

Hopefully, if the chemistry is there, your screening interview will lead to a second-round interview.

It’s important to follow-up the first interview with a thank you letter. This is the same as the “I had a great time last night” phone call or text after an amazing date.

Make sure you send a thank you letter within 24 to 48 hours. In it be sure to reiterate your skills and your continued interest in the job.

Once you’ve done that, move on with your job search.

Continue interviewing with other companies because it may take weeks to get a call back from the first company. Just like it may take weeks to get a call back from last night’s amazing date.

Ready to Go Steady?

After going through several rounds of increasingly intensive interviews, you finally get a job offer, the equivalent to the question of “Want to be exclusive?”

If you look around, you can tell some people put more thought into which job they’ll take than into which person they’ll spend the rest of their lives and procreate with.

And yes, there are factors of a new job that need consideration over a few days to a couple of weeks before giving an answer.

But keep in mind the high-paying, high-profile job that lacks challenge and opportunities for advancement is the same as the tall, dark and handsome or beautiful, blonde and buxom prospect. Although sexy, it won’t necessarily make you happy in the long run.

You need to ask yourself if you’ll love at least 60% of the day-to-day tasks of the job. If so, you could have a keeper on your hands!

For more career advice and job search tips, click here to subscribe to my newsletter.

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Get Unstuck! How to Know When It’s Time to Invest in a Career Coach

We all eventually find ourselves at a career crossroads at one time or another. We’re either sick of our jobs and itching for something new, or we find ourselves no longer needed in a job we love.

In those times we need some clarity and vision on the next steps of our career path.

In fact, you’ve probably heard that most people change their careers (not just their jobs) SEVEN times in their lifetime. For some of my clients, that number is even higher.

fork in the road

Navigating these career crossroads usually requires the advice and assistance of a career coach. How do you know when it’s time to invest in a career coach?

#1 When you need a job.

The most obvious time is when you’re in the throes of a job search and you’re looking for work related to your experience.

There are a lot of new, unwritten rules of the job search that only career coaching can show you how to maneuver. In fact, if you just rely on the information on the internet, you’re relying on information that’s about as old as the internet itself and is highly outdated.

A career coach can help you learn the new rules of the job search and provide personalized advice specific to your unique situation that no web site can provide.

#2 When you’ve been (or might be) laid off or fired.

“Never assume you’re not at risk of losing your job. Even if your company is growing and promises to be loyal to you. Business is business and things change. If your company doesn’t provide you any outplacement services or career coaching, you may want to invest some severance money into career coaching so you can find your next opportunity quicker and learn how to negotiate a higher salary. Learning such skills will pay for any coaching expenses, and then some.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

You may not need a job, until you lose yours. I’ve written several posts before on job loss.

When you’re forced to find a new job, what I shared in #1 applies in this situation as well. However, there are additional needs when a job loss is involved.

First, there’s a more emotional element that must be tended to – the grief some experience that comes with the loss of a job.

Then, in the case of a firing, there’s need for improvement in certain areas in order to “fire-proof” yourself in the future.

Finally, there’s figuring out what skills you need to update or add to your skillset to make you more marketable in the job market. This is especially true if you’re mid- to late-career and may face potential age discrimination.

#3 When you’re contemplating a career change to another role or industry.

You may find you’re bored with what you’ve been doing and want to explore something new and different.

Career coaching can help you determine what your transferable skills are and what other industries or job functions those skills easily transfer to. It can also teach you how to market those transferable skills so you can open the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers to your potential.

#4 When you want to grow in your career but feel stuck.

“Career coaching isn’t just for leaving your company. If you like where you work, coaching services can also help you advance in your company if that’s your goal.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

You love what you do but you want to see growth. Whether that’s in the form of more responsibility, more money, a bigger title, more purpose, etc.

But what if growth isn’t coming as quickly as you’d like and you feel stuck? Career coaching can provide you an actionable plan to help you grow at a more rapid pace than before.

#5 When you’re wanting to leave your current job to work for yourself.

You’re tired of working your butt off to make someone else rich. Or, you would just like to be able to set your own schedule and have more work-life balance.

Career coaching can help you determine if you have what it takes to go out on your own. It can help you determine if freelancing, consulting, or creating a start-up is the next best step or not.

It can also give you the confidence to do so in the face of the fears you’ll experience when stepping out on your own.

#6 When you’re reentering the job market after an extended leave of absence.

Reentering to the job market can also be just as scary. And, as I mentioned in #1, the rules of the job search may have changed since you last had to find something new.

Career coaching can help you not only explain, but also market your time away as an advantage to an employer.

Are You Facing a Career Crossroads? Is It Time For You to Invest In Some Career Coaching?

“It’s better to already have some career insurance in place if and when an issue arises, than to not have it and wish you did.” (from “Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing.”)

Can you relate to any of the above scenarios? Each has their own unique challenges. Challenges you don’t have to face alone.

paNASH offers a variety of resources and career coaching services to choose from, including:

  • Free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.
  • Free blog posts to provide you tips for a successful job search.
  • Affordable video resources available on-demand allowing you to work at your own pace to improve your resume, interviewing skills, and more.
  • Personalized coaching services designed to help you pursue your passions and find work that gives you purpose and opportunities for growth.

To find out more about how you can benefit from career coaching, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation.

Taking this first step could mean the difference between staying stuck in your current work situation or getting unstuck and pursuing your next exciting career endeavor.

get unstuck

Should I Apply for a Job I’m Not Qualified For?

A Common Question

This is a common job search question and one I recently answered on Quora. I have several clients who think if they don’t check off all the boxes of requirements on a job ad, they can’t apply for the job. But let me tell you a little story…

You Never Know What Can Happen

…When I was just coming out of grad school, I applied for a director’s level position without any full-time professional job experience. I knew I was unqualified for the director’s position, but I was interested in it and applied to see what would happen.

Of course I got rejected for the job. But then the company called me because the assistant director position had also just come open. They wanted to see if I was interested in it.

I was much more qualified for that role and was indeed very interested in it. They offered me the job a few days after my interview! I was so excited because it was my first “real job” out of school.

I say all this to show that you never know what can happen. You have nothing to lose but the time it takes to apply.

The Truth About The Job Ad

Most job ads read more like the hiring manager’s “wish list” instead of a realistic request. It’s highly unlikely that one person will have all the desired qualifications from the job ad.

My recommendation is, if you have at least 60-70% of the qualifications they’re looking for, go ahead and apply and see what happens. But only do so if you have a genuine interest in the job. Never apply for a job you have no intentions of taking just to gain interview practice. This is unethical.

Be understanding if they decide they don’t want you and don’t let the rejection get to you.

For more job search tips, check out paNASH’s on-demand programs. Get 15% off each individual program and the program bundle from July 9th to July 16th (use discount code SUMMER at checkout).

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