“What should I do next in my career?” It’s one of the most common questions I get as a VC.
I’m not an expert in career management. I have done only three job searches in my life (read about one at “How to Get a VC Job?”). But, I’ve seen certain frameworks and approaches work pretty well.
So, my thoughts:
- First and foremost, you have to know who you really are and what makes you tick. What was your favorite job? What was the worst? There are profound answers there. Read “What Color Is Your Parachute?” It will help you figure out your needs and wants in a career.
- Find the intersection between what you are good at doing and what you enjoy doing. Like most people, you are probably good at many tasks. But, also like many people, you probably most enjoy only a few certain tasks. The idea, then, is to find a job that is comprised of daily tasks that you enjoy doing and for which you have natural ability. Find the intersection.
- I think a career is like a custom-made suit. The best suits fit you extremely well. Something off-the-rack will be OK, but not great. So, find a career that fits you vs. what others want you to do or what you wish you could do.
- You should quit a job before finding a new one. It’s easy to articulate why you may want to leave your current job. But, it’s an altogether different question from: “To where should I go?” So, I advise people to de-couple the two processes. Suck up the cash hit. Quitting with nothing lined up is what I’ve done in all of my searches. It allowed me to have free agency.
- Recruiters are OK but not great. Ever wonder why a company can’t find a person if the job is so great? The best jobs do not tend to come to you, but you will have to go to it.
I know this sounds like a lot of work. It is. But, if you don’t do this now, you’ll have to do so later, but the switching costs will be even higher.
So, find a career that you will love vs. a job that you can tolerate.