Every conversation is a good conversation. That’s the phrase that I’d like you to remember after reading this post. There are a couple of small caveats (which would bring in an ‘almost’). But I guess there are no rules without exceptions.
What do I mean by ‘every conversation is a good conversation’? Firstly, I need to put this in context. I am thinking of someone at least a couple of years into their career. Someone who is ambitious and wants to get the most out of their professional life. And by ‘conversation’ I’m talking about investigating new opportunities – be those with a new employer or a different part of your current employer.
In my experience, there are two types of people when it comes to these conversations. There are those who want to define their perfect next move before even entering into any conversation. And there are those who will explore any opportunity that comes their way so long as it’s not totally and utterly wrong. They might even proactively seek out conversations. I think the latter is more effective than the former. Why?
It is very difficult to define your perfect move
If you come from a consulting background, you will have a lot of different moves open to you as your skill set is very transferable. You will prejudge opportunities based on very little information about the real nitty gritty of the role and the company. You might even write off the company because it’s not a brand you’ve thought of / know of. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great job opportunity in terms of development, responsibility, team, career progression, pay etc. You will most likely miss out on cracking jobs because of a natural bias.
You will discover something new in every conversation you have
There are 2 types of surprise: about the company, or the job and about yourself. This is all about getting over your natural prejudice. Through these conversations, you may discover that you’re better suited to a certain type of job, or a certain size of company than another. Or that a particular company is a lot more interesting than you would have thought. Or that content of the job and the team you’re going to be working with is more important to you than the company (brand, size, industry etc). In summary each conversation will refine your view of yourself and of your perfect move.
No harm can come of it and you’ll grow your network
Possibly the worst outcome is that you love the sound of the job but don’t get an offer. Your ego will be bruised but you’ll get over it. And you’ve confirmed the perfect type of opportunity for you. The best outcome is that the job turns out to be perfect and you get it. In the middle (you decide not to progress) is fine too – you’ve discovered something and you’ve expanded your professional network. The only opportunity cost is time off work (you may need to fake a doctor’s appointment) and that is only really a cost for the first conversation – if you decide to progress presumably it’s because you’ve confirmed the opportunity to be interesting.
It may strengthen your position with your current employer
If you are being offered other opportunities, it shows you are in demand. The offers will also come with a pay package so that will clarify your worth in the market. Even if you decide not to take accept these offers, you may be able to use them in negotiations with your current employer. If you’ve found this point interesting, you might enjoy reading about how to negotiate your salary with your current employer.
So, when the next opportunity pops onto your radar, please think twice before you dismiss it. What have you got to lose from an application and an initial conversation? Login to movemeon. Not a member? Join here (it’s free).
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