At that point, my friend was looking past the meeting and telling himself that he definitely wanted the job. I stopped him and suggested he really take the time to talk through it. It’s easy to get caught up in a decision on something we think we want to happen and lose sight of the possible downsides. Each time it’s like those choose-your-own-adventure kids books where you make a choice and flip forward to read what happens. That door we think leads to the treasure may have a dragon behind it – or it may have the treasure. He thought that made sense and took a different approach to the call. It turned out well for him and he’s got a better picture of how the job functions on a daily basis.
I think back to my own recent job change. I had a referral from a friend I trust who told me that I’ve got the right skills to succeed and that I’d love the group the job was with. That plus my own calls with my now-boss and a teammate took some of the stress away from my interview. Another big factor was that I was in a good situation with my old company. If I were to make a move, I wanted a situation where I could learn a lot and also had some desires about the culture. What that led to was a fairly unique presentation for my interview. I injected a lot of what I enjoy doing in my spare time into the content and tied it to skills I can use on the job plus my background which would make me a great candidate. The first three slides are below. You’ll note that they’re all hand drawn and the first is what I like to do and bring to the job. The third is my perspective on growth and learning in a corporate environment. And those are sandwiching a smoked pastrami recipe (sorry/not sorry for the unabashed pun).
If there’s a moral to these stories (aside from stress management which is really important), it’s that we’re going to be happiest choosing an adventure which really suits us. It’s OK to test life as much as life tests us. I know enough people who made career choices they worked hard to reverse over the course of a couple years to know it can be done wrong. We spend enough time doing our jobs that we should want them to be rewarding, fun, challenging, and positive experiences plus pay the bills. Not every day is an adventure where we fight dragons for treasure. What we can do is try to make sure that our jobs are close to our own version of that and enjoy the book we write along the way.