[The Talent Game] Coffee with Amy

A photo of a cup of coffee.

A cup of coffee

It’s great when good people do well.

It’s even better when good people, talented people navigate a career bump or two and end up in a better role with a better boss and culture than they left behind.

Someone I’ll call “Amy” is one of those people.

I know her through community work we’d done together, and my coffee with her this week was to catch up on her new job, and to debrief on how she got there.

Amy had worked as a C-suite exec in one of the larger companies in her sector and had left to take a leap with a startup when she discovered – like many of us – that managing relentless layoffs and navigating corporate politics was not the first, second or third thing that inspired her when she thought of her work.

Helping launch a startup in 2009 was tough for anyone, and when it tanked she took a role with a firm that was – as I recommend clients to note when it happens- not exactly as advertised.

When she sought me out for coffee last October the advice I game her is similar to the one I give my clients; most good fitting jobs are found through real networking (see The 3Rs of How to Network; Small Town, Big City) and not the job-looking that most people confuse with effective relationship building.

Career and job networking is a process and like most processes, it takes a certain amount of discipline and time for things to run their course. While the “do you have a job” approach can work, it mostly doesn’t for a variety of reasons, and lacks the durability and relationship “stickiness” that helps you the next time (and there will be a next time) you’re looking for a new job.

Given her senior level, she and her family faced the prospect of relocating out of the area but – and this was no surprise to me – one of the firms in the area had a role open up that was a great fit and an internal contact with the firm was able to surface her as a candidate. Rather than jump-in feet first (and potentially relive her most recent experience where the role and the CEO’s behavior as presented turned out to be different once she had signed on) Amy consulted full-time for a few months so that she got a first hand feel for her boss, the culture, and the exec team with which she’ll work.

The time from our initial conversation about how to look for her next move to landing the consulting role was a little over 5 months – about what I would have expected given her experience, time of year, personality, social skills, and perseverance, and the industry in which she works.

And while she works hard at the new job and has the long hours that are part of most senior exec’s roles, the new firm is much more balanced and family-friendly than other places; more Monday through Friday rather than seven days a week.

So good things can happen to good people. Just ask Amy.

Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab above. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub, as well as participate in my learning community courtesy of KnowledgeCrush.

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