John Borrowman III
Borrowman Baker LLC
If you’re about to embark on the job-change process, you have essentially two primary sources for knowing what to expect. One of them is your personal experience – if, in fact, you’ve changed jobs in the business valuation profession. The other is the stories you may hear from friends and co-workers about what it was like for them.
Neither source is very complete or authoritative. Both sources are just as likely to leave you operating with certain myths about the process. Knowing about those myths can help you adopt a more clear-headed approach, and make more informed decisions about your future. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Myth #1: It’s possible to know what your options could be before you actually begin a job-change.
Thinking about a job change often prompts the question: “What are my options?” But that’s an impossible question to answer. It’s like asking whether there might be any buyers for that used car you have sitting in the garage. The only way to really know is to park it on the corner and put a For Sale sign on it. We’re not suggesting you need to hang a For Sale sign around your neck. That’s certainly not the way to go about making a successful job-change.
What you do need to do is to be very clear in your own mind about why you are making the change, and what a satisfactory result will look like. When options come to you ‘out of the blue’ (which is how it could feel), you’ll want carefully considered criteria with which to judge that option.
Myth #2: The smart way to start is to understand what the potential employer wants, then see if you’re a fit with that.
In thinking about a position with a new employer, it’s normal to want to ask, “What do they want?” The problem, unfortunately, is that the employer probably hasn’t thought about it in the way you’re asking. Sure, there are criteria like “X years of experience” or “experience with Y type of engagements” which are usually pretty black and white. You either have it or you don’t. Beyond that, however, the employer who tries to answer the “what do they want?” question can too easily indulge in “blue-sky” conversation involving poorly defined goals or personal characteristics.
Your best approach is to be very clear about what (roles, functions, responsibilities) you want to take on, then ask if you will have the opportunity to do that in the new position. For one thing, this demonstrates the kind of self-awareness and initiative that employers value. For another, it lets you get real-world feedback about whether you really will get those things in this new job. If it turns out that what you want isn’t available, aren’t you better off knowing that?
Myth #3: You can collect simultaneous offers that you can compare and contrast in order to make a decision.
It’s possible you may be lucky enough that the process works this way for you. It’s more likely that it won’t. What usually happens is that just as the ball gets rolling with Opportunity A, along comes B. And because B looks pretty good, you decide to get started with it. Then, as you’re interviewing and doing your due diligence with B, along comes Opportunity C. Gosh, you think, C looks pretty good, too. Sure, let’s interview with them. Then, about that same time A signals they’re ready to make an offer, and you know that once they do the clock will start ticking.
What will help you most is to have thought carefully about – and prioritized – the aspects of a new position that are appealing to you. If you interview in a way that gives you solid feedback about those criteria, your decision will be easier when it comes to whether you should continue the process with a given employer. Also, pay attention to which opportunity gives you the most, and best, energy back. If an employer seems eager to get you on board, don’t automatically assume that desperation is at work. It’s more likely the case that the employer knows exactly what kind of person will be the most successful there and that you are it.
The best way to defeat job-change myths is to recognize they’re out there and to continuously challenge your own thinking about the process.
Contact us for a confidential discussion of a potential job-change and how you can make the most of it.