Career Evaluation: What Are You Chasing?

Stop for a moment.

Whether you love, hate or just accept your job – what does it represent?

Since work consumes such a large part of our lives it should serve a purpose.

Finding the perfect job isn’t going to make you “happy” for long. That’s not saying you can’t stay in one profession for a while and enjoy it, but chances are on bad days your mind wanders to other options.

A career is never meant to define you.

When casually asked, “what do you do?” it results in three reactions: proud, ashamed or blah.

The better question to ask yourself is: what are you chasing?

For me it’s lifestyle. As a father and entrepreneur I want my work to provide the opportunity to control how I spend my time. Sure, I’d like to make more money (who doesn’t), but if the tradeoff is I’m rich, but can never see my family it’s not worth it.

Consider your life stage. Don’t default simply to age.

There are people in their 20’s married with kids and others in their 40’s single.

Values don’t change much over time, but priorities do. Added responsibility like being a parent will do that to you.

Feeling stressed isn’t fun, but tension also promotes growth. Changes whether expected or unexpected will challenge you. Take time to relax, but too much of it can hurt you.

When it comes to evaluating where you are in your career, remember to stop comparing yourself to others and look at it in “chunks.” Each experience prepares you for the next so no matter where you are take what you learned in the past and utilize it to propel you into the future.

Chasing is healthy in moderation.

Ambition leads to drive and motivation.

But what’s most important is to define your career path based on your standards alone.

Those who are focused are trying to win the race, not consumed with beating others.

The Best Job Site You’re Not On

In follow up to my previous post, finding jobs that are a good fit are easy. Getting in contact with a recruiter is hard.

LinkedIn is the preferred site for most recruiters and job seekers because professional profiles are easily accessible (plus more updated and better looking than resumes) and normally there’s a listed job poster you can send an invitation to connect with.

The challenge with LinkedIn is most people will accept your invitation to connect, but go silent. Back to the cat analogy, recruiters will contact you when they want something, but when you desire to reach them they’re nowhere to be found.

A month ago someone contacted me on AngelList about a role and I forgot I signed up on their site. It was a position I was interested in so I contacted them back. *Crickets* but this story has a happy ending…

Once I started browsing around I liked the company profiles, job listings, visible salaries/equity and most of all the application process. If you select the apply now button you can send an optional message to the person posting about why you are interested in the role.

After understanding the functionality, I updated my profile since that’s what companies see (not a resume or application questions). Once sent you wait until the poster contacts you to state there’s a “match” or mutual interest.

Now you’re in contact with the decision maker. The process is very similar to Instagram’s DM where you can contact a company without any prior connections made.

As someone without a technology background this site has been more helpful than any other job site I’ve used. So if you do have tech experience or making a career change into tech AngelList is where you want to be seen.

Most job sites have filters based on keywords so your application and resume may never make it to the intended destination. Let’s be honest, people don’t get hired for written applications/resumes. Interviews separate the men from the boys.

By lowering the barrier to entry AngelList minimizes the middleman and allows job seekers to contact employers directly. Removing gatekeepers makes it easier to connect the right people. AngelList may not be the most popular job site out there, but it’s the most efficient/effective.

Why Job Search Is A Vicious Cycle

Changing careers is not a trend, it’s the norm.

For skeptics or old timers, it doesn’t have much to do with loyalty, but more so with getting bored.

80% of college degrees don’t set you up for the job you want. Companies usually hire based on experience or skills that universities don’t provide.

Millennials are too inexperienced, Gen X are over qualified and Baby Boomers can’t compete.

Most likely the job you have currently is making you wonder if the grass is greener on the other side.

The problem is the most attractive candidates are passive, not active. Translation: similar to dating you’re more in demand when you’re with someone than not. Nothing screams “stay away” more than a desperate job seeker.

So once you’ve come to the conclusion you’re settling or realize paying bills has become more important than your happiness, here are your options:

Keep applying for jobs while you are working OR start your own (side) business.

Instead of choosing one, why not do both?

The gig economy is here to stay and with the majority of future work going to freelancers is reality.

The benefits of working for someone else is health insurance, perks and steady income. Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, provides autonomy, passion and the ability to network freely.

Until resumes completely disappear and job seekers have more power than recruiters, changing careers will continue to suck. The mental shift you need to make is looking at your career similar to success – as a journey, not a destination.

Regardless if you choose to go the corporate vs. freelance route, your network will always be your greatest resource.

It takes on average applying to 200 jobs to land one, yet only 10 connections to find new employment. If that stat doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what can.

The job search process will always be challenging so instead of waiting until you’re ready to move on, never stop looking for what’s next even if you’re in your perceived dream job.

Turning The Page Forward On A New Chapter In Life

If you were part of a 4 x 100 relay team which leg would you run?

I’d be first out of the gates. I love the start.

When running a relay it’s common sense to not look back or you risk getting passed up.

But how often do we look back on our lives and dwell on mistakes, misfortunes and plain ol’ bad luck?

At a certain point, asking “why” something happened is the wrong question to ask.

Instead turn the page and focus on what’s in front of you.

One of the reasons I chose coaching as a career was because I hired one earlier in life. I loved how my coach worked on my agenda, goals and pace. Experiencing that from the client’s seat made me want to switch chairs so I eventually did.

Coaching is about the future, finding solutions and asking “how.”

Any time making a career transition it’s going to be tough starting over from scratch, but your mentality towards that change will make or break you.

Did you know it takes 200 applications to land a job on average, but only 10 connections via networking to find something new?

That means you have 20x better chance networking than job hunting to start your new career! #stopapplyingstartnetworking

There’s always fear of the unknown, but it’s more invigorating to chase after that shiny object than chase your tail.

Imagine driving on the freeway. How much time is spent looking ahead vs. in the rear view mirror (mostly for cops)? That analogy works for life.

Don’t waste your time looking back when you can be moving forward.

Starting a new chapter in life is about attitude. It’s what you can control 100%.