Putting Career Decisions in a New Perspective

by | March 10, 2009

"Who can tell me about XYZ company? Do they have a NY office? Is it a cool place to work? How competitive is the pay?"

"Come to think of it, who are you and why should I trust what you have to say?"

It is intriguing that people who scorn message-board stock tips will turn to pseudonymous job-board postings to glean insight into prospective employers. Factoring the online ruminations of a complete stranger into a major life decision is tricky, and it sheds new light on the notion that today's job seeker is more sophisticated than his/her counterpart of just five years ago.

Ample data supports that view - experience with issues ranging from benefits and equity to corporate strategy and management style is relatively new for junior-level employees - but this has not fostered a groundswell of occupational satisfaction. For example, while personality- or culture-clash are responsible for nearly nine out of ten job-failures, many people cannot assess their compatibility with a given work environment but know to demand stock options.

So why are so many people making ineffective career decisions? At the risk of waxing philosophical, it appears these considerations correlate well with the science v. spirituality trend: greater knowledge does not necessarily provide better insight. In other words, there is too much information and too little perspective.

~Many people, deluged by the "job-prospect-of-the-week," are distracted from what they enjoy and do well. Furthermore, the press routinely spins a tapestry of Internet riches, sowing the seeds of greed with story upon story of the latest cyber-boy billionaire. In the face of this unprecedented opportunity and escalating compensation, Internet sector workers can end up focused on the trappings of success rather than the success itself.

The result: numerous candidates have more options and fewer reservations about playing competitive situations against each other. (I have actually seen people secure a new job offer solely to renegotiate their existing package with their current employer.) This situational ethic is alternately described as shrewd or mercenary, depending on who is asking and who is saying. And like every good form of mass-hysteria, this gold-rush mentality only applies to "them," never to "me."

So how do you avoid the "more money, less satisfaction" scenario? Plan your career - it is your responsibility. Research your opportunities - make sure your information comes from a trusted source. Don't believe the hype - bring your expectations about your employer and your ambitions for yourself in line with reality.

Filed Under: Job Search


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