How to find a better job (in three steps)

Look, you know I’m not a big fan of corporate life. Starting and running a business is much more fun for me. But hey, not everybody is the same! Maybe you don’t want to run your own business—or at least not right now. Or you can’t.

So, you’re looking for a job. Or a better job. Problem is, you don’t know what sort of job you want. Now what?

Here’s what you do.

Step 1: talk with people

Have any recruiters already reached out to you, perhaps via email or LinkedIn? Get on the phone with them. Have coffee with them.

If not, think about people you know who have a job that sounds interesting, or who work for a company that sounds interesting. And talk with them.

Or tell friends that you’re looking for people to talk with to learn about new job opportunities. Tell them you want to talk with people.

You’ll probably find that you have some resistance here. You might think:

  • Why would I talk with this person? They can’t help me get a job.
  • I should figure out what I want first, before I talk to people.
  • I need to learn more about the industry first before talking to a recruiter, so I won’t be exposed as a noob.
  • Do I have enough experience for a new job?
  • Would I be able to earn more somewhere else?
  • Do I even like the industry I’m in?
  • Are there even any companies out there that would let me work part-time?

Wrong, wrong, wrong! This is your brain trying to maintain the status quo. It’s your brain trying to stop you from doing the necessary thing (because it’s scary). It’s your brain trying to prevent you from taking any risk.

But you need to take some risk to get a reward. You will not find an amazing job by showing up at the same desk every day, staying in your comfort zone, and never talking to anyone new.

If you feel resistance, talk with people anyway.

Step 2: learn

As you talk with people, notice what you like and don’t like:

  • Is the person you’re speaking with friendly?
  • Do they sound stuck up?
  • What did they tell you about the workplace culture?
  • Would you want to chat with this person again?
  • Do any people work part-time at this company?

Not only will this give you objective information about the world, the industry, and certain companies. But, crucially:

Talking with people will teach you things about yourself.

It will teach you about what you’re looking for, and what you’re not looking for, that you could not have figured out if you had only just continued to think about what you want.

Step 3: repeat

Just keep talking with people, even if you had a few conversations that weren’t helpful. You have to be willing to talk with people to gather data.

You have to be willing to have conversations that do not directly lead to a job.

It’s not a waste of time to chat with someone and decide that their job, or their company, sounds horrible. It is actually a great use of your time, because you’re learning!

Look, when you take a job, you’re going to spend a lot of time there. Spending some time and energy now on identifying what would be a good job for you will have a MASSIVE ROI.

I cannot emphasize enough how much taking action is the key step.

Expose yourself to new information, new opportunities, and new people. Even if you can’t see, right now, how talking to a specific person will be helpful for you.

So go talk with people. Now!


— Peter

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