The biggest mistake you make in your new job

You’ve been searching for a new job for some time and having looked through hundreds of opportunities, attended many informational sessions and interview days, you are finally offered that elusive role that feels just right to you. Congratulations! Now, though, you’re about to make the single biggest mistake you can make. And most people don’t even know what it is.

People are so excited about their new role, and perhaps their new compensation and benefits package, that they focus solely on the new role and stop looking out in the career marketplace. And it’s easy to see why; transitioning to a new role can be difficult, especially if it is a stretch role involving a promotion or bigger/tougher targets, and you want to make sure you create a great impression in your first weeks and months in that role. You may also be feeling a significant sense of relief at having landed that role and you might want to ease back on taking time out of your day to look at other opportunities in what might be a competitive market. Sure, all of these points are valid, but at the same time, you also need to be thinking of the longer term.

It’s very common for those people who are starting their new jobs to delete all of the job alerts they have set up, tell their contacts that they are not looking any more and inform headhunters and other sources of new roles that they have been successful in attaining a great position. The problem is that this really is like putting all of your eggs in one basket. And if you have been in your current job for a long time and you aren't looking in the career marketplace and being open minded to new opportunities, then you're also in the same position of putting all of your eggs in one basket; that of your current employer. 

I coach a lot of clients in their professional and personal lives and I often have this conversation with people who have just found great new roles. Even if you have just landed the best job in the world, what kind of opportunity would it take for you to leave that new role and go onto a role that more closely met your requirements, gave you a bigger stretch or offered you more of what you value (be that autonomy, financial rewards, flexible working hours and locations, etc.)?

Even if you think your job is perfect now, I’m willing to bet that if we had a conversation about it there would be something that you could change that would make you happier. Perhaps a shorter commute, more regular or flexible hours, more money, less stress, a better team environment, a more understanding manager or a more visible leader. It’s for this reason that I suggest to people who have just found their new, dream job; don’t stop looking for a better role now because you might miss out on a role that is twice as good as the one you just landed!

Appreciating how busy everyone is – especially when just starting a new job – we turn to the question of what you could do differently at this stage in the game. For example, instead of deleting the job alerts from your favorite career sites, perhaps reduce the frequency of them down to weekly or monthly, or try narrowing your search by using the filters to your advantage so that you only find roles that raise the bar on your next career option.

Let’s be clear; none of what I’m suggesting needs to mean that you are not committed to your new role and new employer. You are just keeping your eye on the market and looking at new opportunities. And if nothing comes along, you haven’t lost anything but a few minutes a month in reviewing carefully filtered opportunities. What you’ve gained, on the other hand, is a lot more. You know that you’re either in the right role or you’ve found something that will make you happier (or give you whatever you value), you have seen what the market is doing from a compensation and benefits point of view (and this might give you insights that will help your case when it comes to your next benefits review), you have a stronger understanding of what the market is doing and you remained close to your network, including headhunters and former colleagues, who might know of something that fits you in the future. That’s a huge amount of value for very little effort at all. 

So next time you land your dream job and decide to close the door on all other opportunities, perhaps think again. You might want to keep the door, and your mind, open.

Rob Whitfield is the CEO and Founder of One Brit, No Bull, a coaching and corporate training company based in Los Angeles and operating worldwide. Rob can be contacted here or on (+1) 518 9NO BULL.

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As well as being an experienced management consultant and energetic public speaker, Rob Whitfield is a certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified Master Coach and a certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy. No Bull.