I am Sharmin Banu, Leadership and Career coach working with mid-level technology leaders to bring more growth, purpose and joy.
Everyone knows this interview tip: “Don’t bad mouth about your employer”. But interesting enough this happens quite often. I got some clue when I was talking to my client Tom few weeks back. Specifically he wanted to learn how to avoid falling in trap of talking negative about his current employer. Apparently he made this mistake in a recent one.
To get his perspective, I asked him about his genuine feeling about the current employer/job. What I heard was that he had been looking for growth in certain areas that was not available in his job. This company’s priority (to fix legacy code issues to quickly unblock the customer) didn’t exactly align with Tom’s interests. I also heard some disappointments and frustration in his voice. I then asked him what he wanted from the next job. “I want to work with a team where we innovate and develop new software, use state of the art technology and follow a good process to minimize maintenance overhead going forward”. He replied.
“Metaphorically saying, you boarded on a train and it is going to New York whereas you realized you now want to go to Florida. So you want to get on a Florida bound train. The New York bound train has issues with food and other services but that doesn’t seem to be your main reason to change.” I drew the analogy to offer him a perspective of the situation.
“Wow that helps! If I focus on what I want next, I don’t even think about the problems at my current job, they become irrelevant”. Tom uttered in great relief.
Understand what you really feel about your current job. Are you running away from it or moving towards your vision? ”Running from” mindset focuses on the problems – it is hard to avoid negativity when you are in this mindset. A job change is a significant step to move towards what you want. Focus on your vision. That way you won’t even think about the problems anymore. Best part is, in the interview you don’t have to fake your feelings – you will show up as the authentic you!
Last week Tom called me saying he accepted a job offer and he very much liked the team and the growth opportunities there:). His voice sounded quite energetic for the new possibilities!
I wrote and published this article earlier in the Personal branding blog. It was also published in Yahoo.