Friday, March 11, 2022

Diary of a Job Hopper: The Search is On

In recent weeks I've gone from being content with a safe-but-boring job to wanting something new.  I'm going to take this post to think out loud about it.

The backstory is here...out of nowhere a Hot Startup contacted me on LinkedIn about a job and then the next week a former coworker recommended me for a position at her new company, a "less hot" startup that I'm calling Player 2.  At the same time, my current work situation went from safe-but-boring to "OMG get me out of here".

Where Things Stand Since We Last Talked

Hot Startup: Left me hanging for over a week before telling me that they went with another candidate.

Player 2: I had a decent conversation with a Big Cheese Manager.  They finally asked what my compensation expectations are and I gave them my dream number and didn't get a no.  They've scheduled another interview for next week.

  • The Big Red Flag about Player 2 is that 96% of their employees are in office and as the Big Cheese put it "we just want to be That Company that has an in office presence.  By the way, are you open to relocating?"  I gave her a firm thumbs down but said that I would be happy to make the occasional trip out there if needed.  I also mentioned how great the communication is in my current job where the rest of my team is in another country and in person is not an option. 
  • In recent days employees have posted negative reviews on Glassdoor.
  • So far there is nothing about Player 2 that is really flipping my skirt up but I'll keep talking to them.  The anti-remote thing really sticks in my craw.

My current job: 

  • Good: I had a quarterly review and got a thumbs up.  As I've mentioned previously, I really like my boss and my boss's boss.  The work life balance and the benefits are excellent.
  • Bad (but funny): Remember the HR Bigwig who had a meltdown on me?  Since then her boss did the same thing on a larger scale.  On the one hand it wasn't directed at me, and it was so ridiculous that it was all that I could do not to burst out laughing, but...this is not normal.  
  • Also Bad: in general our employees are not happy.  I mean if HR is disgruntled what does that say about the rest of the company?  I know that turnover is high everywhere but holy cannoli some days I feel like all I do is process terminations and it's not a large company.
  • My Plan A for this job was to stay a year to make me look like less of a job hopper and to become  eligible for company stock.  But it seems like I'm getting interviews just fine with my short tenure and the stock alone isn't enough of a reason.
What's Happening Now
It's all very fine and well that two companies came to me with job opportunities at the same time that my current job is unraveling and/or getting super boring.  Hot Startup looked promising and it's possible that something will come out of Player 2...but the better course of action is clearly for me to get off my butt and start doing this for myself.  Yep, the job search is on and resumes have been sent out.
The kind of work that I do is very niche so there aren't a million opportunities, but there are enough.  It may take a few months or it may take a year to find what I'm looking for, but rest assured that you'll be hearing all of the juicy details here on the ol' blog.  And more importantly, I need to write all of this out to keep myself honest that my next move is a good one and not a compromise to get out of my current situation.

What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?
I don't want to move into just another jobby job.  If I did I might just as well stay where I am.  All along I've had some ideas floating in my head about what my next job would look like and I took the time to write it out:
  • Same title, doing exactly what I do now
  • My dream number for base salary.  I make close to the dream number now if you add up my base, bonus, and stock options...I just want it upfront on each paycheck, and it's normal in my industry to get bonus/stock options on top of that.  I learned during my job search last year that it's possible to make 50% less than I do now all the way up to $20k more than my dream number.  And yes, I did get one offer last year for the dream number so I know it can happen.
  • Unlimited PTO
  • Best Place to Work (BPTW) mentality.  My last company had that and I really miss it.
  • Remote friendly (ideally located out of state)
  • Work life balance: work hours are compatible with my time zone and no expectation of working more than a 40 hour week
  • What the company does needs to be exciting.  Hot Startup fit the bill, my current company and Player 2 do not.  No weird industries (specifically crypto and weed are out)
  • Awesome supervisor
  • Awesome coworkers

Let's chart it is how my previous job (back when I loved it before corporate turned the company into garbage), my current job, and the two contenders stack up:

Wait Haven't You Done This Before?

Why yes I have.  Here are my job search stats from March to August of last year, not counting the oopsie job that I took last July. 

Jobs applied to: over 300 (this number will be much lower this time around since I'm being pickier about what I will apply to)
Companies interviewed with: 12
Job offers: 3 (I rejected two and accepted one.)
Companies that I fell in love with that met all of my criteria (neither of which I got an offer from): 2
My stats so far for 2022
Jobs applied to: 8 (clarification: I've applied to 6 and 2 came to me)
Companies interviewed with: 2
Job offers: 0 
Companies that I fell in love with that met all of my criteria: technically 0 but Hot Startup came pretty dang close.

Alright friends, that's the scoop.  I am keeping my head down and embracing the good parts of my job while applying to new jobs as they come up.  I'll keep you posted on how this turns out.

Give me the dirt: what's on the list for your ideal job?  Any good job hunting stories to share???


  1. I was wondering about your job search! Too bad about the Hot Startup. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Nicole! The beauty of looking for a job when you don't need a job is that I get to be very picky.

  2. I love your systematic approach and the decision table, Birchie!
    You will get your dream job for sure.

    I always do a table like that as well when I'm facing a big decision. I find it quite useful to weight the input factors with 1-10 points.

    For example, a good supervisor is important to me, so that input gets a 10.
    If he was only meh at the previous company, I give him 5 points, resulting in 50 points. If he's very good at the current job, he gets 9 points. So that box gets 90.
    In the end you will end up with a sum for each company, which will make your position and decision even clearer.

    Good luck!

    1. Catrina, this is nothing short of brilliant. Looking at it through your lens, I can see that some of these are "nice to haves" and others are "musts". Whether a company has a traditional vacation plan or unlimited PTO doesn't really matter but the supervisor is a make or break.

  3. I just want a job with clearly defined job duties. I'm lying, of course, I'm also looking for some benefits, work from home, and enough time off to not feel like I'm simply living for work. I've been sending out resumes and not getting hits, but I'm trying not to get too discouraged. We'll see how it goes.

    1. Sounds good to me! Last year when all of my coworkers and I were job hunting we used to joke that each rejection was good luck that was bringing us one step closer to our next jobs.

  4. Oh, man. Now I'm on the edge of my seat. I'm bummed that the Hot Startup didn't work out. It looks like it ticked almost all of the boxes. Sigh. I am laughing at your table - just found my own, comparing my two academic position offers in... 2010. While specific to academia (e.g., will they give me a research assistant, or do I have to pay one? And if so, with what money?) it's very similar to yours!

  5. I have been meaning to read this post for the past two weeks and I am finally getting to it. I love how you break it all down. Number one on the list for me is to feel respected and appreciated by my managers and colleagues. That's a deal breaker. I cannot be at a job without feeling respected and appreciated. After that comes the actual work itself, followed by the people. It used to be people first and then the work itself but with 100% remote work, you don't deal with people as much! It seems like your skills are in high demand and I wouldn't jump to Player 2 if there are already some things you are uncertain of. Your dream job is out there so keep searching.

    1. You are 100% correct. In my "fly on the wall"/HR adjacent role of payroll I've seen bad managers do terrible things to good people. I have a tendency to take jobs without fully thinking things through so that's a big part of why I'm writing about this on the blog.