Warren Buffett said, “Look for the job you’d take if you didn’t need a job.” This is an incredibly true statement that we can all learn from. When it comes to job hunting, it’s extremely common to run away from something rather than running towards something else. And that can lead us to the next less than ideal job.
In all honesty, it’s just human nature. The cost of changing jobs is high. Not the literal cost, but the emotional toll.
In theory, finding a job is easy. Looking for ads online. You submit your resume. You have an interview, accept a job offer, then start a new job. It’s like shopping. You go to the store and you come back with a job.
But that’s rarely how the job search really works. The most common process is to search online. You spend hours of your free time applying for countless jobs using faceless websites. You hardly hear anyone. You begin to wonder whether or not you are qualified for your job. Eventually, a company contacts you. They drag out the hiring process for several weeks or months. In the end, you either get a job offer or get thrown out like trash.
The process is very often painful and demoralizing. It’s hard to explain to loved ones who don’t understand why you don’t just get a job. It may make you never want to change jobs again. In fact, job hunting is so painful that most people expect the pain of their current job to be greater than the pain of looking for a new job. In other words, they wait to watch until they can’t take their current job one more day. At this point, the job seeker’s objective is to run away from something.
A friend used to say that it’s always better to leave a party when you’re still having fun. If you wait until the party is over when things aren’t fun anymore, it will be a negative experience. A similar philosophy could apply to job hunting. It’s best to quit your current job as long as things are going well. This will allow you to wait for the right job offer, rather than the fastest one.
Let’s face it. When your current job is going well, you can take your time. You may find a really interesting new role that pays more and reports to a good manager. When things go wrong, you’re just looking for a parachute that will get you safely out of a burning building.
If looking for a job has crossed your mind, there is good news. It’s a strong labor market. Companies are fighting for talent. They are more flexible and they pay more. Start looking now for the job you would want if you didn’t need it.
Angela Copeland, career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.