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  • Writer's pictureRodgers Palmer

The Great Resignation...As a Job Seeker

There's a lot of press about the Great Resignation. Much of it is related to what employers are facing. How companies can turn the Great Resignation into the Great Attraction | McKinsey. But...there is equal needs to think about it if you're one of the people who is interested in transitioning to something new.

Across much of my professional life, I have had an opportunity to interview people about the progression of their careers. And when I talk to many of them about their history and roles that they've had, many people say something to the effect of "I shouldn't have taken that job." Or, "had I known then, what I know now, I would have done it differently."

Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, but as people consider their next chapter, especially at this moment, you owe it to yourself to get the best chance possible of making a good choice. So, the question becomes, how do you maximize your odds of making the best possible decision.

What should you consider?

I'm sure there's a better model out there, but as a starting point, I would encourage you to do 3 things.

  1. Think about yourself

  2. Dig into the company

  3. Understand your boss

And then match those things together to see whether it's a good idea.


I understand that the pandemic has changed people's perspectives on what's important. There is a lot of recent and good research on what's driving the average person to reconsider their job. But it's important to know what's making this choice important for you at this moment.

What's driving this decision now?

Is it the attraction of something new? Fleeing something current? Priorities have changed? Geography? Flexibility? Compensation? Career Progression? Regardless (and there is no bad answer), be clear on what is causing you to consider something new. And then be clear on how that impacts your decision making. For example, are you willing to sacrifice compensation for the flexibility of working from home? If so, how much compensation are you willing to sacrifice?

Where do you thrive? Where don't you thrive?

Once you have examined what's causing you to consider something new, think about your prior roles and what's caused you to react that way. Is it the kind of work? The boss? The money? The challenge? The impact? The industry? If you think about the last few roles, chances are you can come up with a reasonable list of what's important to you and what causes you to be unhappy.

Once you have gone through these questions, WRITE IT DOWN. I can't stress the last point enough. Writing it in prose will force you to crystallize your thinking and what you want to do. If you can do that, then when you see new opportunities, you can start to compare with what's important to you.

Company evaluation

Now you're in the meaty part of your search. There is no magic bullet here. But you might consider some of these ideas, especially as you start to compare back to your self-evaluation.

  • How old is the company? Who founded it? What's been important to the success of the company? What's the culture of the company like?

  • What kind of people thrive in the culture? What kind of people have not thrived?

  • How well-positioned is the company? What are the biggest risks? What competitors are there to the company? What makes them distinctive?

  • Under pressure, how does the company respond?

Boss and team evaluation

Similarly, you should ask the following questions about your putative new boss and team. It's not just the company that's important, but also who you will be working with most closely.

  • How would you describe their working style?

  • What's most important to them?

  • How do they provide feedback?

  • What's a bad day look like?

  • When people have left this group, where do they typically go?

How do you collect this data?


Dig in online and read reviews from Vault, Glassdoor, Fishbowl, etc. Look at anything else about the company you can find (from their website to 10k to product reviews). That information will start to give you a sense of the company and its culture. Write down a set of observations and questions that you want to better explore.


For most interviews, the conversation will pivot between them asking questions of you and you asking questions of them. Depending on your comfort and the opportunity, ask as many questions as you can to get your interviewers sense of what's going on. Feel free to take notes during the interview, or make sure you have some time afterwards to write down your reflections on the interview.


Finally, find people who have worked there (or know people who have worked there) and get their unvarnished opinions about the business. This is the group with whom you can be most honest and most direct. And they, in turn, should give you the best insights.

And then…based on all that information, see if that helps you make a more informed and better decision. It might be a good time to try the following idea.

  1. Get a coin

  2. Assign "Take the Job" to one side

  3. Flip the coin

  4. Note your reaction



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