How Introverts REACH For The Stars During The Great Resignation Era
Simple Steps for Introverts to Win at Job Searches & Transitions
The Drive to Job Search
The Great Resignation has been grabbing big headlines for over a year. But job transitions are nothing new and introverts are neither exempt from the challenges nor the opportunities job changes present. Introverts who resist the pressure to network and fear the unknown may prefer to stay put. But, there are several reasons to stretch your comfort zone and grow through job transition.
You’ve been in a job for a while. Initially, you climbed a steep learning curve to become a significant contributor. Now, you have checked all your career planning boxes regarding what you want to get out of the assignment. Sure, you love the job, the people, and the comfort you have every day, so it’s easy to stay for a while longer and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, as Michelle Lax, retired senior manager at the largest producer of construction aggregate in the US, asserts: “The longer you continue to stay in a role, you are not adding to your résumé.” You risk getting pigeonholed, and it will become hard to restart your career. If your personal target is contentment, you may choose to stay. However, if you aim to flourish, it is time to move on. There are plenty of opportunities out there that value and need your expertise. Time to dust off your résumé!
This job and company or team appeared to be a good match when you joined. Perhaps it was a fine fit for months or years, but things have changed for you. Your skills, values, or interests may have shifted and the job is now boring and your passion is fading. Possibly the company, management strategy, or job expectations have evolved and now you are charged to perform tasks you don’t enjoy. You may choose to be open-minded and consider how you may stretch and grow in an evolving definition of your job, but it may also be a sign it’s time to seek the next role. Sara Bonario reflects: “I think many people wake up… in their late 40s or early 50s and have their mid-life crisis, which may include realizing they can no longer accept working for a company [or job] that… doesn’t give them personal satisfaction.” Refit appears to be the largest impetus for The Great Resignation era.
3. Unmanageable Relationships
Suffice to say that disagreements with your manager may fester to the point where a change is necessary. Our values and interests evolve, and minor differences may become annoying over time. Acknowledging differences and agreeing on creative ways of working together can solve many disagreements and be a tangible personal growth experience. However, such efforts take two and are best tackled early on. If this isn’t possible, you both may agree a change is necessary.
4. Forced Downsizing
Sometimes a job change is not within your control. This happens to the best of people and workers. Companies downsize due to financial challenges or management changes. Teams shrink, groups combine, and businesses get sold off. It’s easy to bemoan your misfortunes or vilify those who put you on the chopping block, but it is wasted energy that you should be applying to regroup and find that next role. Embrace the change as the opportunity it can be—perhaps this is the best thing for you and your career.
REACHing for the Stars
Once you decide to change jobs, you may be tempted to expedite the process and rapidly secure a job to end the torment. Stop! Take the time to put yourself in the best position to reach for your next great job. What makes a job great? It’s rarely salary or title. Boston Consulting Group’s Decoding Global Talent report of 200,000 survey responses found salary was the eighth-ranked factor for employee happiness. The number one factor was “appreciation for your work,” with other top considerations including work-life balance, learning and career development, and relationships with colleagues and superiors.[i] Get prepared first through the REACH Model:
Review your roots (strengths, values, mindsets, and ambitions). Remind yourself of these items in advance so you are driven toward the right fit, not by the emotions of the search itself.
Evaluate the tasks you enjoy the most. What activities at work or at home light your passion? Once you think of jobs in this way, your job options expand considerably. You may like details and numbers. Those leanings fit well in your current accountancy role, but you don’t have to limit yourself to another accounting position. Don’t define yourself as “Mary the Accountant”, but perhaps as “Mary the curious, driven, analytic.” Many jobs use these same skills such as finance, comptroller, auditing, and business analysis—both in your current company and across other industries. Remain open-minded, creative, and persistent in broadening your search. Every job search benefits from a wide scope.
Assess your wish list. There is no perfect job, but putting together a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” early in the process avoids wasting time and provides a framework for your research before and during interviews and evaluating job offers later. Items you may consider for your lists could include key tasks, team chemistry, level of autonomy, work/life balance including travel and after-hours expectations, work environment including closed-door offices or cubicles, office location, commute, company and team culture, and pay and benefits. Definitely aim high, but also maintain a sense of flexibility.
Cultivate your network. Certainly, personal connections with the posting manager or any external sites will greatly improve your candidacy. Introverts may have a smaller network than others, but the quality of your connections and your determination makes the difference. Apply your personal strengths to create a strong network. Build your list of connections within these three groups:
Personal relationships: family, friends, college classmates, church members
Work colleagues: co-workers, internal or external customers, past managers, HR
Job search experts: college career placement officers, headhunters
Hunt for information on your prospects. Check out websites and social media of the industries you are interested in and the companies you are considering. These are great resources to understand the company's mission and the culture of the organization and team you are considering.
Your research won’t answer all your questions, but it should give you a sense of overall fit and help you decide if you want to pursue a job further. By working the steps in the REACH model, you should generate a list of prospects that you believe offers exciting potential matches.