These three pieces of career advice made a huge impact on me

Even during a global pandemic, people are job-hopping. Me, for one. Now, I recognize that many folks don’t have a lot of choices when looking for work. Sometimes you take whatever’s available, or decide to stay in a subpar situation to ride out an uncertain economy. At the same time, many of you do have options right now, and if you’re like me, are conscious of making the best choice possible. I was fortunate to have an executive coach for a period of time who helped me with a lot of things, including career planning. Kathrin O’Sullivan is fantastic—if you or your team can get her time, do everything you can to get it—and she gave me three simple, but powerful, pieces of advice that directly impacted my decision to join Google. It’ll probably impact every career decision I make from this point forward, honestly.

  1. Don’t leave just because things get difficult. When tough times arrive, it’s easy to run for the exit. Maybe you got a new boss who’s kinda terrible. Or you’re about to go through a team or company merger. Your employer might be facing an existential crisis about their product-market fit and planning to retool. Or the work just doesn’t feel fun any longer. Any number of things might cause you to dust off the ol’ resume. While it may be a smart decision to leave, it might be smarter to stay around and get some experience navigating difficult waters. You might discover that sticking it out resulted in professional growth, and good times on the other side.
  2. Run towards something, not away from something. When you have decided to do something else (within your company, or outside the company), make sure you’re excited about the new thing, not just eager to leave the old thing. If your primary goal is to “get outta here” then you might choose something uninspiring. This could lead to instant regret at the new place, and yet another cycle of job hunting.
  3. Take the job that won’t be there in six months. I love this idea. If you’re fortunate enough to have options, ask yourself whether that job (or something similar) will be there later. If you turn it down now, could you find something similar six months down the road? Or is this a role/opportunity that feels like right-place-right-time? Depending on where you are in your career, you might be hunting for positions that uniquely challenge you. Those don’t show up all the time, and are worth waiting for.

The interwebs are full of career advice. Kathrin’s guidance stood out to me, and I hope you tuck it away for when you’re considering your next career move.

Author: Richard Seroter

Richard Seroter is Director of Outbound Product Management at Google Cloud, with a master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Colorado. He’s also an instructor at Pluralsight, the lead InfoQ.com editor for cloud computing, a frequent public speaker, the author of multiple books on software design and development, and a former 12-time Microsoft MVP for cloud. As Director of Outbound Product Management at Google Cloud, Richard leads a team focused on products and customer success for app modernization (e.g. Anthos). Richard maintains a regularly updated blog on topics of architecture and solution design and can be found on Twitter as @rseroter.

7 thoughts

    1. Mr Seroter – I am so fortunate to have met and have worked with Richard! Having influenced one of his job-hopping decision, I hope he doesn’t regret it even in the hindsight 🙂 I am still amazed with the impact he made on our team and the whole IT organization

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