After recruiting professionals for nearly 20 years, I can truly say that tenure is one of the biggest red flags we see in today’s jobseeker. Holding a position for 2-3 years before moving to the next “better” opportunity seems to be a trend, yet Hiring Managers are looking for strong tenure, someone who will stay 5-10 years. Often there is such a frequent succession of job changes, the person becomes impossible to place. So get off this crazy cycle. Start right were you are, take the steps outlined below and love the job you are in!
Understand that the employer / employee relationship is very much like a marriage. You often depend on each other for success in your career and are frequently disappointed. Each of you bring in baggage from your previous failures or successes with expectations and predetermined ideals of what the working relationship should look like.
Reflect on your previous jobs and why they didn’t work out. It takes two people for a partnership and when it fails usually both are at fault. Ask hard questions to get honest answers in this area. Did you truly give it 100%? Sometimes job change is not anyone’s fault, but typically there are reasons on both sides why it didn’t work out.
Accept responsibility for your part in the departure. I have heard millions of excuses why someone left their job. I rarely ever hear “it was my fault”, “I was late too many times”, “I had excessive absences”, “I brought the drama in my personal life into my job”, “I made a lot of mistakes”. Stand up and accept that you may have been responsible.
Remove yourself from your own shoes and step into your boss’s shoes. They may have gone through people in this position before you who let them down and they aren’t ready to trust you with their career. They may be receiving heavy pressure from their boss and its trickling down to you. They may be just as burned out in their job as you are.
Act now and take your boss to lunch. Tell them that you may not have been giving 100% in your job and you want that to change. Tell them your goal is to be their partner in this job, sharing in the stresses and celebrating the successes. Ask them honestly to tell you what they really want from someone in this position. Ask for their trust and assure them that you will earn it. Be honest with them if you have limitations on their requests. Thank them for their honesty and time and let them know you are going to give it your all from now on. This one action alone will cause them to drop most of their baggage and really begin to trust you as a partner.
Commit to this position completely. Throw away your resume. Write up a contract for yourself stating the things you will not do in this job and the things you promised your boss you would do for them.
Resolve any conflict quickly that comes between you. Disarm it by determining honestly if you broke a promise or if they may just be experiencing undue stress. Don’t be afraid to ask why they are upset with you and offer to fix it. Direct communication is generally the best way to develop a strong partnership. Remember to be respectful and honest.
Determine to wake up every day with the passion you once had for your job. Let the difficult days roll off without reflection and enjoy the successes. You may see your renewed energy and passion reigniting and encouraging your boss. Remember both of you are in this together, both working toward the same goal, so why not LOVE it!
Susan Foster Woods – Talis Group, Inc.