Quitting a Dream Job Part 2: Finding the New Dream Job
See part one here.
Ridiculously, I was completely unprepared for a job search. (I guess that goes with denial?) I didn’t have a current resume (8 significant months out-of-date). I didn’t even know what i wanted to do! People started jumping at me with “help” and “ideas.” But I couldn’t even answer the question “what kind of work are you looking for?” What? I’m NOT looking for work! I have a dream job right now!
We had some flexibility on when we would move, so I took my time on the job hunt. First, I asked myself a few questions:
What are my criteria? I love the products and technology I work on in my current job, but isn’t just about the products. I like solving interesting problems with smart people. I like working with customers. I prefer face-to-face interaction. I like variety in my work. I enjoy big picture thinking over details, but I can get lost in analysis once I dig in. I like to continually learn new things. I wanted to combine technical with the business side. I need a fast pace.
From a practical standpoint, I didn’t want to take a huge pay cut and I wanted to avoid a long commute for both of us.
What’s available? I searched keywords related to my skills / industry on job websites to get an idea of companies and jobs near my desired location. I copied job descriptions of jobs into excel. I added companies that I already knew about to my list. I came up with a few “buckets” of job types that I was interested in pursuing. My top choice was a career change I had considered in the past, but discarded since I liked my current job too much. Now was the perfect time to try it!
Then, I got down to business!
Resume Updates: I looked at a lot of resumes / LinkedIn profiles of people in my field to see how they sell themselves, then thought about how to sell my own job history. I created targeted resumes for the two different job buckets I was pursuing, using the job descriptions I collected to ensure hit the right themes and key words. I got review & feedback. Finally, I updated my linked in profile with actual job descriptions / resume bullets.
Networking and Applying: I was selective and applied for 3 jobs early on. One I applied “blind” online, one via a referral from a friend, and the third through a recruiter. I applied to all three in early July just before my UAE trip, then dove into work and didn’t come up for air until mid-August. At that point, I had two promising leads, and I couldn’t bring myself to apply for jobs I was less excited about.
Interviews: I passed phone interviews for two jobs and never heard back on the third.
My first interview was a full day, flying out of LA early early early, meeting in the Bay Area office, then interviewing with 4 people for 45 – 60 minutes each (15 minute break), plus lunch on site and an overview meeting. There were 4 other candidates interviewing the same day!
The other job was even more of an event. Since the head office is in DC, they flew me there for interviews. I was in the air for roughly eight times as long as I was in the interview!!! I didn’t get an offer. They had some positive feedback, but lacked some key experience. I wasn’t surprised – just disappointed.
Acceptance: After waiting anxiously for a loooooong time, I finally received an offer from the first job! I was in the quietest wing I could find in the MoMa in New York City when I got the call! I accepted! I start in January! I tried negotiating, but was unsuccessful. I am coming from a different industry and didn’t have a ton of bargaining power.
The hardest part of the process was identifying what I really wanted separate from what I was most qualified for. Another hard part was balancing this with a full time busy job. Applying to a few key jobs was my strategy, but it would have been best to apply to more. Of course, it was also tough being rejected – it was the first interview I have ever had that didn’t result in an offer. And the waiting! OMG, the waiting was torture!
Really, it was all pretty hard!!! However, I’m happy to report the hard work paid off, and I’ve found my next potential dream job. I don’t know if it is yet and there will be a learning curve, but it certainly has potential. I’m excited to find out!