I’m kind of on the job hunt.
Yes, once again.
My approach is different this time, though. My strategy? Well, I'm repeating the Kanye tweet I referenced a while back when I left San Francisco.
I’ve been worried about the number of times I’ve changed jobs in the last five years. It probably scares potential employers and makes them think I’m not sure of myself or that I have commitment issues. The truth is, I do know what I want, and I’m not looking for a short-term career. I’m looking for one that will last a decade. I’m looking for a company I can grow up with, a company I can learn from, a company I can contribute to, and a company with a team that I admire.
The problem with working and consulting at startups is many of the teams are young and inexperienced. That sometimes makes it difficult to find a mentor within the organization that you can interact with or learn from daily. With a small team, it requires “wearing many hats” which doesn’t allow for focus in a particular area or role. There’s only so much improvement that can be made when you’re not able to focus on growing in your career because you’re trying to keep the company in business.
I’m only five years into my career, but I feel like I’ve hit a plateau. Is the startup thing worth it? Sure. Probably. However, I need WAY more experience first. I want to go back to being the newbie. Startups build character, but unless they have good process, good people, and a good market fit, they can't help build discipline. In many cases, I’ve been on my own and I don't want to be the lone wolf hopping jobs every few years.
Needle in a Haystack
I'm not one to settle for less when I've made up my mind. So, it may be a long search, but here's what's next for me.
What I’m looking for in a job opportunity:
- A position where I’m interacting with customers or stakeholders daily
- A position where I’m able to teach and learn simultaneously
- A position where I can see my contributions to the team in measurable outcomes
- A position where I'm excited to work hard and stay busy (this is a personality thing that I have, but some company cultures halt motivation)
- A position where I report to someone with just as much passion as I have
- A position where I am respected, but challenged to do better each day (I challenge myself to improve but accountability from someone who sees my potential is always a plus)
- A position where I’m able to work on/with an innovative product that’s making a difference (making lives/jobs easier)
- A position that is enough (I don’t want to feel like I need to be doing extra work on the side — this is based on salary as well as how much I’m challenged)
What kind of company does this have to be:
- One that values collaboration and transparency (teams talk about what’s going on at multiple levels in the company so no one is in the dark)
- One that has experienced leaders
- One that is profitable (or close to profitable with a proven plan to achieve it)
- One that has processes that work remarkably well
- One that puts A-players in every company role
- One that's willing to take risks on those less-experienced as long as they are passionate, driven, and willing to learn
- One that understands the importance of time (they plan well, they work efficiently, they respond quickly— just because it’s a large company doesn’t mean they should move at a snail’s pace)
If I can’t find these things in a company, I would rather keep consulting.
The problem is, very few of them exist. I’ve been doing long and hard research before applying this time around, and I’m hoping it pays off. Here’s to finding the needle in the haystack of job opportunities.