I can’t remember a time when candidates were in as high demand as right now. At first, this abundance of opportunity sounds great. Who doesn’t love the freedom of choice?
The problem with so many choices is they can dilute your certainty in the decision you do make. Think of the Cheesecake Factory’s enormous menu. How can you ever be sure you’ve ordered the best dish? What if there’s something better waiting for you?
Even if you make a great, well-considered decision, all those other options can leave you wondering what could have been.
“You should also realistically consider any concerns you have. Don’t ignore those nagging worries, and be up front about them during the hiring process.”
Compare, Compare, Compare
This situation has created a “grass is greener” syndrome for many. And the deluge of highlights on LinkedIn doesn’t help. This constant stream of praise for others’ companies, declarations of love for their teams, and news about exciting new ventures can force a comparison that leaves you feeling dissatisfied with your current role and out of step with your peers.
In the early days of a new role, this can be especially affecting. As you’re still finding your feet, seeing “everyone else” seemingly enjoying an easy life full of achievements can cause you to lose perspective on why you chose this role in the first place.
Here are a few pointers to help you ignore the noise, stay focused on your own development, and avoid leaping at a new opportunity prematurely.
Don’t Overlook Your Cons
When you’re evaluating a new job opportunity, it’s easy to fill out a long list of everything you like. However, you should also realistically consider any concerns you have. Don’t ignore those nagging worries, and be up front about them during the hiring process.
From my experience with hiring managers, I can tell you they would much prefer you to ask them your questions. In fact, they’ll appreciate your transparency. Even if there’s something you didn’t voice during the hiring process, it’s never too late to ask. Getting clarity on your questions and concerns will align your expectations for the role with the companies, heading off misunderstandings and frustrations.
I remember speaking to a candidate who was stepping into their first management role. The role was a newly created position in a fast-growing company, so it wasn’t clearly defined. I advised that candidate to speak to their hiring manager and work with them to outline the expectations of the role.
That definition is important because it will allow the candidate to know whether or not they are succeeding. As long as the communication is clear and transparent, a candidate and hiring manager can work through ambiguity together.
Be Your Own Advocate
It takes guts to put yourself in a vulnerable position, to speak up and admit you don’t have some of the skill sets for a role. In the example above, it was a lack of previous management experience.
You need to know what you’re getting into. It’s okay to say that you don’t fully understand the expectations required of you.
Talking openly with your hiring manager will signal that you’re proactive and prepared to handle problems as they arise. They will be more confident that you can evaluate your situation, admit you don’t know everything, understand your blind spots, and ask for help. That’s truly a breath of fresh air for many people making hiring decisions.
Hiring managers don’t expect you to know everything. But they do value keeping the line of communication open and establishing a system in which you can ask for help when you need it.
Think Long-Term To Keep Perspective
Social media like LinkedIn can make the other side’s grass look greener than ever before. But spending too much time looking at what other people are doing will cause you to lose perspective. Remember, the endless posts about other people’s companies, events, and perks are the curated snapshots, and they give none of the context.
While you’re looking at what other people are doing, are you truly appreciating the perks you get from your current company? Are you seeing the success you’re achieving in your own role, or are you only admiring other people’s LinkedIn wins?
There’s nothing wrong with sharing moments from your working life, nor is it bad when other people do the same. However, it’s easy to get too wrapped up in posts that make others’ careers look ideal and problem-free.
If you only ever see the highlights of other people’s careers, you can start to imagine that their entire job is like that. Then, when something goes wrong in your own role, you can feel as though you’re the only one with negative job aspects to contend with.
When you spend too much time comparing yourself to others, you lose perspective on what’s genuinely important to you and your career trajectory. While it’s natural to benchmark yourself against others, take care not to let it go too far.
As recruiters, we have a unique perspective on what candidates sometimes see as a bright new opportunity. Often, it’s not a real representation of what they’d truly step into. The reality is that there will be just as many, if not more, challenges in starting a new opportunity than in what you’re facing right now.
Take a good look at your own situation and ask yourself what would benefit you most right now. Would working under another peer help you gain a different element of experience? Could you take on more responsibility to fulfill your own personal development goals?
Whatever it is, talk to your manager to find a solution. Don’t let the lure of social media pull you away from a golden opportunity to learn, grow and build on existing relationships, without needing an entirely fresh start.
“There’s nothing wrong with sharing moments from your working life, nor is it bad when other people do the same. However, it’s easy to get too wrapped up in posts that make others’ careers look ideal and problem-free.”
Focus on Your Goals
If you never stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll never be truly satisfied with what’s right in front of you. Moving forward, focus on your own development. What is your long-term goal? What do you want to achieve?
Shut out the influences filtering through LinkedIn and only consider what will benefit you and the goals you outline. Keep it specific and break down the elements of what you’re trying to achieve. Leave out job titles, salary levels and brand names. Instead, focus on what matters most to you and make your decisions based on that.
My challenge to you is to turn off LinkedIn for a month and see how that changes your outlook. It might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.
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