One pattern I’ve seen a few times, that I never expected to see from A+ co-workers or friends, is people being passive and reactive in their careers. I don’t mean they don’t care what happens, or that they take things lightly. I mean instead of deciding the trajectory of their desired career and identifying companies and roles that might be a good fit to explore, people are taking random calls from recruiters (don’t get me started on recruiters) and going through the process with one company that happened to reach out to them.
We’ve grown incredibly open about this difficult topic at Next Big Sound, to the point that we sometimes ask folks if they are interviewing elsewhere and address it directly. It’s taken years to mature to the point where we can openly discuss with NBS workers that the challenges we have at NBS might not be a good fit for what they want to work on on a daily basis. We’ve actually facilitated many jobs for former employees. I’ve been very fortunate to work with extremely talented colleagues at Next Big Sound over the years. While most still remain on the team, several talented people have moved on from NBS over the last 7+ years. One of the things I’m most proud of is that we still keep in touch with almost all of our former employees. Prior to acquisition we even created a listserv for our alumni called firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what is the alternative to being reactive to offers that come to you? Being purposeful. Being proactive.
If you aren’t using your strengths on a regular basis, if you feel drained in the mornings before you go into work, if you stop believing in your mission, if you don’t like spending time with your co-workers, if you feel like your learning has plateaued or you are no longer contributing, it might be a good time to look for a new job. Even this is style of waiting until you are unhappy is less proactive than I’d like to see. At Next Big Sound we do 10 year planning exercises: I bet you’d be surprised how many proactive steps you can take each year, even at your current job, to march steadily towards your imagined future.
The people that are marching steadily forward are the ones I want to follow, push, help, and work alongside.