Warren Buffett famously said, “Look for the job that you would 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 searching, it is extremely common to run away from something rather than running toward something else. And, that can lead us to a less than ideal next job.
In all honesty, it’s simply human nature. The cost of switching jobs is high. Not the literal cost, but the emotional toll.
In theory, getting a job is easy. You search for postings online. You submit your resume. You have an interview, accept a job offer, and then start a new job. It’s just like shopping. You go to the store, and you come back with a job.
But, this is rarely how job searching really works. The more typical process is that you search online. You spend hours of your free time applying for many, many jobs using faceless websites. You hear back from almost no one. You begin to question whether or not you are qualified for your job at all. Eventually, a company contacts you. They drag out the hiring process for many weeks or months. At the end, you either receive a job offer or you’re discarded like trash.
The process is very frequently painful and demoralizing. It’s hard to explain to loved ones who don’t understand why you don’t just get a job. It can make you never want to switch jobs again. In fact, job searching is so painful that most people wait until the pain at their current job is greater than the pain of looking for a new job. In other words, they wait to look until they can’t take their existing job one more day. By this point, the job seeker’s focus is to run away from something.
A friend used to say that it is always best to leave a party when you’re still having fun. If you wait until the end of the party when things are no longer fun, it will be a negative experience. A similar philosophy could apply to job searching. It’s better to leave your current job while things are still good. It 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 can find a new role that’s truly interesting, that pays more, and that reports to a good manager. When things are going bad, you’re simply looking for a parachute that will get you safely out of a burning building.
If looking for a job has crossed your mind, there’s good news. It’s a strong job market. Companies are fighting for talent. They’re being more flexible, and they’re paying more. Start looking now for the job that you’d want if you didn’t need one.