Conversations: Hamburger Menu Of Choices And The Tale Of The Fermi Squirmies
Interview With Bob Bishop, The Marketing Recruiter

Conversations: Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

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(Do you take the job? A Planning Player is one of the candidate personas I've developed over the years, has an opportunity. The Planning Player is marked by their steady career progression. They're good at their job, and are always thinking about how it impacts the Next Step. In this conversation, we talk through a potential opportunity)

Planning Player: Hey! Long time no talk.

Headhunter: It's good to hear from you. I'm glad you called. 

PP: Yeah - I was talking with a mentor about this opportunity, and I thought you'd be a great sounding board as well. 

H: Always here to help. What did you get into? 

PP: Well - a mutual friend of ours has a position opening in a pretty exciting company. It's a move up, a title change, and more money.

H: That's pretty cool. So what are you thinking about?

PP: I'm just... it's going really well here. I'm in a great position, my work/balance is fantastic...

H: You're stable. There's a lot to be said for that.

PP: Yeah. But it's a good opportunity, and it's not one I'll have here for some time.

H: Okay. Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to ask you a few questions, and we'll figure out what you want to do.

PP: That sounds great.

H: Okay. First. How are you finances?

PP: My what?

H: Do you have any debt? Are you saving money? How long could you go right now if your job went away?

PP: It's good.

H: You're saving? It moves up every month?

PP: Yeah. We have a good mortgage, investments, and I could go a year without a paycheck. 

H: And the kids are still a decade away from college, which may or may not be a thing the way online learning is growing. So you're stable, which is what you like, but this is an opportunity for an upgrade. It's a pay bump, which is important, but it's a title change, which is that move we've been looking at for years.

PP: Yeah. And it also comes with options. 

H: Never count those. Those are gravy. If they hit, great, but if it's not your company, that's just the price of business. You never count on them for your decision. 

PP: I've done well in the past with them. 

H: That's a fluke. Look - they're important, and you negotiate for as many as possible, but at this stage, cash is still king. But you're getting that. So let's move on. Here's a second question. Have you entertained any other offers or interviews?

PP: Not really. I mean - I get the requests, but nothing of interest. 

H: Now that's important. When a recruiter calls, it triggers something in you - if you're open to it, it's because you're ready to leave. You start thinking about why you're staying, and even if you don't take the job, you're now looking. That's why you talk to recruiters, but you don't take an interview unless you're ready to move. So you have this opportunity - it's moving pretty quick, and it's the only one you have. So are you just flattered? 

PP: It's more than that...

H: Are you flattered?

PP: Am I supposed to answer these fully?

H: Just - first thing to come up. Are you flattered? 

PP: I mean - I'm glad she called, but it's not going to my head. 

H: Good. Now to answer your question - yes and no. You should think about the answers, but they aren't for me. If I let you go too far, you'll start selling me to justify a decision. 

PP: Okay - then fire away. 

H: What would make you stay?

PP: Hmm. I was going to talk to John about that. He's been a great boss, and he literally plucked me out of that other company, but we've have discussions about our future, and he's not tied to the company either. We've known each other for several years, so we can have a good discussion.

H: What would make you stay?

PP: Right. Um. Well, I'd want to get into the inner circle. A real career path that leads to senior executive status. And no promises. I'd have to get real connections. 

{long pause}

H: That. That was fascinating.

PP: What was?

H: You just got a little temper up. Your voice changed, and you actually got a little bitter and angry. Do not, let me repeat that, Do not talk to your boss with that tone. 

PP: Was it that bad?

H: it just uncovered something important. You're emotionally tied to this opportunity, and if, well, let me ask you one more question. 

PP: Yeah.

H: Three years from now, I'm in Chicago for a conference, and we meet downtown for a drink. I walk in, say hello. We catch up. You're eating chips with a medium salsa and talking about your latest racquetball injury. I ask you how you're doing at your job. You say you're doing great. And then I say, "how do you feel about not taking that job at the start-up?" 

PP: I'm disappointed.

H: And there it is. You want this job, and nothing your current company can do will solve it for you, which is why you're so emotional talking about what it takes to stay.

PP: I think you're right. 

H: It's what you just told me. Now - the other details are important, and we should talk through those, but you want this job. 

PP: I do. I do.

H: And you called me to make sure you weren't making a mistake. For what it's worth, I think it's a good move, and an important one. 

PP: So what do I tell John? 

H: That's always a tough one. The rules are that you never tell anyone until it's done. You don't have an offer yet. If you tell him, and the offer doesn't come, bad things can happen. But the rules aren't necessarily right. Great people don't leave great bosses in the lurch. 

PP: I've been promised a long ramp if I need it. 

H: 30 days is as long as you can do, and even that is too long. 

PP: Really? 

H: Two weeks creates urgency. 30 days, and your current company won't really start looking. It just prolongs the pain because you're still doing the job. And you'll hate it after two weeks. It's just a bad idea overall.

PP: So, two weeks? 

H: You get the offer. Then you talk to your boss. You don't ask for a negotiation. You ask how to ease the transition. If they really need 30 days, it's because you're documenting or training someone to fill your position. It's not work.

PP: Okay. Well, I'm glad I called. 

H: I am too. This is awesome for you, but really, it's not that surprising. 

PP: We'll grab that drink the next time you fly into O'Hare. 

H: That's a promise. 

 

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