Even adults can be wooed by the stranger with candy…

Amidst the festivities of Rakhi, my husband and I helped a friend realise that going all the way with a new going employer was going to result in a morning-after that would last for years.

This dear friend of ours recently contacted us to review his CV, because “it should look good, just in case I need it, and I want to update my LinkedIn profile”. This seemed fair enough. A little while later, he told us that he had been headhunted by a very large international company and he was in discussions with their HR contact about potential roles. Very flattering and exciting! He sent me the job descriptions, which only covered the essentials, but appeared to be standard roles in the industry. More money, bigger company, new experiences. He accepted an interview and was keen to meet hubby and I to prepare and practise.

We prepped him, all right. We prepared him to grill the company reps, to be the interviewer (not the interviewee) and to be strong enough to say “No”.

As much as I like to boss people around, I promise there was no malice here. I don’t like to crush dreams, demotivate others or put people down to make myself feel better. But I also don’t like seeing my friends make bad decisions and, as enticing as such as offer may sound, you should always look at opportunities in context.

Our friend is very good at what he does and already works for a massive international company.  He likes this company.  He likes most of the people he works with.  He loves the location, the salary is good, he’s become great friends with some of his colleagues and the company provides lots of support for employees.

There was really only one reason he was looking to move – fear of being trapped.

To get a promotion in his current work area, he would need to stay there for another two years. If he took a secondment, he would probably have to wait three years. Three years isn’t that long if you enjoy what you’re doing. The added problem was that although he knew his current area wasn’t for him, he wasn’t sure which area would be better. So when a charming stranger came up to him and offered him more money with a bigger brand name, he was very tempted.

I totally understood this feeling. I’ve been there many times – comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. You might not be able to articulate exactly why you are unhappy, but you know you don’t want to be where you are.

In the end, he came to the best decision not by looking at what the new opportunity offered, but what it didn’t. The job security wasn’t clear, there was no mention of the contract details. The employer, although a huge name in the industry, had a reputation for pushing workers to their limits with extremely long work hours. Finally, the role he wanted was not the one they were offering first. Instead, they were first suggesting he apply for a role that was higher paid, but completely lacking all the things he liked the most about his current role. He quickly realised that the offer in front of him wasn’t that tempting at all.

Instead, he needed to go candy shopping within his current company and he had to do it leisurely. Sure, he was feeling irritated with his work life right now, but if he made a drastic change he could regret it. In fact, he would probably regret it within an hour of working in an environment that didn’t match his strengths – long before the next big juicy payday.

We gave him two action plans:

  1. By the end of the year, meet with a manager from every work area that he thought could be interesting – openly. Tell these managers, and his own, about the outside offer. Tell them that he didn’t see himself in the same area in two years’ time but that he loved the company and wanted to find an area that was more suited to his strengths. Instantly, the fear and irritation became a networking opportunity – and an excuse to go out and have fancy coffee.
  2. Go to the interview anyway, and interview them. Ask why they headhunted him, why they thought he’d be suitable to this role, what are the working conditions like, what length is the contract, how quickly can he access professional development, etc. etc. We’re talking about really drilling them for information! If they truly wanted him with the company, they would have to put much more on the table. If they just wanted (experienced) bums on seats, they would have to look elsewhere.

The new job was a good opportunity. It was a good opportunity to have a chat with friends and get motivated to take some useful steps forward, instead of blind steps sideways.

**Update**

Our friend went for the interview, and was just as bored by the interviewers as he would have been by the job!  No deal 🙂

Do you need help making with a possible career move? Email us, or comment below.

Cover image from Pixabay. It has awesome cat pics.

3 thoughts on “The revenge relationship that will haunt you (and your CV)

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