Jun. 5th, 2016

bookzombie: (chris)
So tomorrow I start the new job. It's going to be a weird first day: both my line manager and my task manager will be out tomorrow, so I'm meeting another member of the team who will do all the induction stuff and then I'll probably finish early and start the job proper on Tuesday.

One thing I wanted to do was think about what I learned from the process and what I'd do differently next time. As you've all sat through and supported me through this process I thought I'd share my thoughts.

1. The most important thing I've learned: don't stay in a job too long unless you are getting something good out of it.

Looking back there were several times when I probably should have decided to leave, or the times that I said I had decided to leave I should have stuck with the decision. When I joined Yell in 2001, it was to support the HR System. Within 6 months it became abundantly clear that it wasn't a full time job and so I ended up being transferred into the main IT department. This should have been an exit point if I wanted to maintain my career as an HR technical expert. Plus the fact that my introduction to IT was basically 'Here's your desk.' I wasn't introduced to anyone or given a clear role. Talking to people I became closer colleagues with years later, it turns out that there were quite a few people who had no idea who I was or what I was doing there.

I should also have left when it became clear that the technological world was moving on and my employer wasn't. One of the tough things about job hunting has been the fact that much of my technological knowledge is 10 years behind now.

And I definitely should have left at several points when I was just miserably unhappy.

So this time I plan to set myself some milestones and see how I feel about the job in 6 months, a year, 2 years, 5 years, etc. If I'm really lucky and love the job then it may be the last job I have before retirement (I was at Yell for 14 years. In another 14 years I'll be 63.) But don't hang around just for the sake of having a job.

2. Be less self-deprecating. Sometimes I'm just too hard on myself. The problem is that I am all too aware of my limitations and I often advertise them too much - you may recall that one of the elements of feedback I got from the OUP interview was that I was actually too honest about the things I didn't know how to do, when I could have sold my capacity to learn more. This was something that I did do better at the Oxfam interview: although they did ask me about some of the things that I wasn't terribly knowledgeable about, I did make of point of saying 'Yes, I know I'm not going to tick all the boxes, but can learn fast and I have all these other skills that you're looking for.'

I'll admit this is something I need to look at in my life generally: I'm often too quick to tell stories about times I've been a complete idiot about something, or been really clumsy, or whatever. I know it's a defence mechanism, but it doesn't really do me any favours.

3. If a company treats you poorly as an interviewee, they're likely to treat you poorly as an employee. So if weeks go by without a word, write the opportunity off and move on. Both OUP and bluewolf badly let me down over this (to this day, I've still never had a peep of feedback from the latter) and I expended a lot of energy on chasing and worrying about them.

4. Try not to despair. It took me around six months from when I started looking to getting the job, and I was starting to worry that nobody would want to employee me, but you only need one good opportunity at a time. In the end the right thing came along (as far as I can tell so far anyway!)

I'm sure there are other things I'll think of later, but that's the things I can think of right now.

Tomorrow, a new era starts!

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