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If you’re a techie, you know that this year has been absolutely red hot when it comes to jobs. But job hunting comes with an absolute crapton of entitlement* - from all sides.
- I don’t know if entitlement is the right word here but read on to figure out what I want to say!
It’s a really weird and not-so-colourfull world we live in at the moment - the best thing one can do, is not being a dick. What I want to explore is - how not to be a dick when you’re either switching jobs or trying to convince somebody to switch jobs.
We will look from four angles - as an employee who wants to change/is changing jobs, as an employee who wants to retain people, as a recruiter who wants to, well, recruit people and as a human being who’s in the middle of it all.
Really, really big disclaimer here:
This is all based on my own (and not only) experiences switching jobs here and there, so the view is a little biased. If you feel like you want to add something in the discussion, tell me about it!.
As an Employee⌗
So, that’s the seemingly easy bit - I just hand in my notice and fuck-it-all or, even worst, I’ll burn everything down.
The thing is, you can do it with a lot of dignity and with a proper communication. Of course, this assumes that you already had a good rapport with your manager, which - in my opinion - is quintessential in having a nice, lasting tenure in your current company.
What you might do:
Start a conversation with your manager about you looking around.⌗
Worst case scenario (which is highly unlikely to happen) - your manager will be “mad” (?) at you that you’re trying to leave.
Best case scenario - maybe you really don’t want to leave but you’re feeling like you’ve hit the ceiling in your current role or you just need a change of scenery. There’s always a new project, a new team or a new training you can do to ensure that you’re still growing in what you do.
Be open about what you’re after.⌗
This basically goes together with the previous point - if you need something new, be open about it. Don’t be the person that is miserable but won’t tell anybody about it (I know it’s hard, but it’s the right way to grow as a human, really).
Don’t burn your bridges.⌗
I’ve seen this way too many times. There’s no virtue in leaving your current place and tearing the house down. Doesn’t matter how bad your current place is, remember that your manager, their manager and the CEO are still humans. Just be mindful about that.
The other thing is - you never know where your life will lead you. If you’re reading this post, there’s a very high chance that (sadly!) you’re not a heir to a fortune and you’re still figuring things out as they go. You might find yourself needing help from someone from your old work, or maybe you know that somebody has the skillset that you might need.
And last, but not least, be the bigger person here - if you’re finishing your time with the worst company in the whole goddamn world (but they haven’t done anything unlawful or really, really, REALLY bad), just say thanks for the time I’ve spent with you, pack your things and go. Whatever happened, happened and you’re off to the next big adventure - focus on that!
As an Employer⌗
Okay, this one might be fun - I’ve never employed anyone, so this will be mostly “how I’d like to be treated by the companies I’m working for”.
Yet another disclaimer here
Please, do not associate these things here to any of my previous, current or future employers. This is based on multitude of years of observations from various viewpoints. I felt like I need to put it there again.
Listen to your team.⌗
That should go without saying - if all decisions are made by the C-suite with little to no regards to what your employees think, well, don’t be surprised if your current team will walk on you.
You literally can’t have a good product if the team behind it doesn’t believe in either the product itself or your capabilities in shipping it to the market. Nobody wants to spend months of their lives on something that will be binned eventually and won’t ever see the light of day.
Give options to grow.⌗
If you’re a tech company that uses PHP and Java 6 and you’re wondering why the median tenancy is 6 months - well, read this sentence again.
I don’t think there’s another field that is as competitive as IT and grows as fast - not saying that you should flip your current stack on it’s head but maybe introduce something new? Maybe email somebody and get them to introduce Go within your company? IDK…
Grow as a company.⌗
Simple things as, I don’t know, having a nice maternity package or having inclusive socials - not everybody wants to socialise face-to-face, maybe the online social you did a year ago in the middle of C-word was a big hit - why won’t you do it again? Or just have nice, 6-months pay reviews - you’re moaning about “how hard it is to retain people” but you have yearly salary reviews and you do 5% pay increase then - have you seen how high inflation went this year?
Real life =/= LinkedIn life.⌗
I always like how companies are promoting themselves as “the best place to work” with having really big turnover (it’s not really hard to figure this out in these days). Glassdoor reviews maybe doesn’t reflect the reality 100%, as a lot of these reviews might be written after something has happened in the workplace so it’s filled with bad voodoo and really bad emotions - but they do have some truth in them.
Aim for your company to reflect your marketing team game in the real life. And revert to point no.1 - listen to your employees, they will literally tell you what’s wrong with the company and, most probably, will propose how you can fix it.
Be a man of your word.⌗
If you’re giving somebody a raise mid-year and you won’t give them another by the end of the year (even if your company policy is to have a EOTY salary review), just tell them. Don’t play the card but we’ve already given you the raise, why do you want another?.
Who’s the joke here then, the raise or you?
As a Recruiter⌗
Don’t waste time.⌗
As a techie, honestly, I don’t have time to respond to yet another cold email that asks for my number and if I’m interested to talk about one-sentence intro to a workplace. It’s not Tinder, you won’t buy me with great opportunities or generous equity. Just give me the job description, salary and what you need from me and I’ll 10 out of 10 times respond.
If you’re here for the numbers, you’ve chosen the wrong profession pal.⌗
Again, this goes together with no.1 - if you’re using LinkedIn to send cold invites and then you’re moaning that nobody responds to them and your cold-emails allowance is gone - well, do you really need to work in recruitment?
The best recruiters I’ve worked with, even if I didn’t take the job, were treating me as equal - we’re both in this game for money, for me in long-term, for you in short-term bonus. Help me and I’ll help you.
Know the limits.⌗
Oh, this is the best one. I knew a recruiter who was so eager to get me across that was messaging me privately on WhatsApp or researching my profile on Facebook.
Well, kudos for proper research but it’s a work relationship. It’s creepy as hell when you are writing to me in the afternoon to ask what’s up? or calling me and telling me so, I’ve found out that your best friend is moving to Canada, have you knew about it? (both are true btw). Know where the boundaries are, if we’ll end up becoming friends, it’s definitely not overnight.
As a Human⌗
This one is easy in my opinion.
Just be fair and honest with yourself. We’ve all been in situations where you had to take the job because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to pay the bills but, currently, we are the ones who can negotiate upwards. You should always, ALWAYS negotiate - it’ll show you how open the company is and how much dialog you can have.
Just don’t be a dick⌗
That has become my mantra for the last few years - if you are true to who you are, you’re not doing any bad things and not making other lives miserable - then you should be fine. Work out where you want to be, how to get there and enjoy the ride. Remember that all plans, however great, might change - embrace the change and grow.
…But I really want to be one!⌗
Well, I can’t help you there. I’d maybe say choose your battles wisely? I really don’t know.
But however shitty you’re aspiring to be, don’t be a complete and utter dick and let go a ton of your people over a video call…