I just bought a bed, "paid a lot of money for it", and I LOVE IT. Reality is, you spend on average 1/4 to 1/3 of your day in bed, shouldn't you love the bed you sleep in? Now you might be saying what does this have to do with careers, and I will tell you.
Like a good bed that you enjoy sleeping in, you should also feel the same way about where you work. After all, you work hard, and should like where you work, as much as you enjoy where you sleep. (Well maybe not quite as much). We have to sleep, and we have to work, so why not look forward to both.
Everyone deserves to be (for the most part) happy where you work. I am well known for talking my candidates "out" of leaving where they work, when they tell me they are basically happy, but would consider something new. You never want to leave when you are (for the most part) happy. More important, MONEY is never a reason to leave, and beside in today's world (actually even the world of the past few years) money is rarely that much better.
So when do you decide the time has come to consider a change?
All to frequently managers change, team projects are terminated, or are not accomplishing the original intentions, or the company seems to be on a track where funding problems seem imminent, with few remedies available. It could even be simply, that the product is not going anywhere. Any of these require immediate proactive decisions on your part.
All to often people wait until the doors are closed, and all of a sudden those with similar skills are on the hunt. One recent case in point, Liga Systems. One day they simply closed their doors, and all of a sudden all those engineers were out looking, finding it very difficult for many to find any open positions in their domain. A few smart ones saw the writing on the wall, and made their move early. Several were actually placed. Liga is only one such example, as we all know, there are several.
I have said it before and will say it again, always have your resume in a ready to go state, just in case it needs to GO! By having it updated, all you will need to do is tweak it a bit with whatever is current and relevant.
There are a few other problems facing experienced engineers that I want to quickly talk about. One is "Generational (age) diversity, which can partially be broken down as over qualified, and or uncomfortable working for a younger boss.
It is quite common to hear you are over qualified for the job, and just saying "I need a job and will do anything" simply does not cut it. You need to overcome their concerns. A few concerns might be:
- You will leave when you find something better
- You will be bored doing the particular work offered
- You might come off as difficult to work with because you think you know better (and fact is you might know better).
It is also extremely important to avoid saying things like "that's how we use to do it" or "in the good ol days", understand today is all that matters, and all they care about. If you had younger bosses, make clear that you had younger bosses. As for being bored, make sure they know you are smart enough not to put yourself in a position of doing a job you wont like. Explain that you are not looking to leave when the next better thing comes along and that you're past longevity proves that you are not a jumper.
These are difficult times and being as prepared as possible will always help your chances of securing a new position.