Timing is a Challenge with Careers

I’ve been having a lot of discussions with people lately that are looking for a new job. Some don’t have a job and are looking, but many of them have jobs and are just looking for something different or something better. I always find these situations challenging because I feel this incessant need to fix their problem (ie. a job). When I can it feels amazing and when I can’t it makes me sad.

The challenge with all of this is that jobs are fickle things. Timing matters a lot when it comes to finding the right job. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard people talk about their careers and how they felt blessed (or lucky) that the perfect job came up at just the perfect time. It’s great when this perfect timing happens for both employer and job seeker.

While it’s beautiful when perfect timing happens, I’ve heard even more stories from people who have to really grind it out and be patient as they search for the perfect job. One challenge is that in hindsight people usually look back and remember all the good that happened once they got the job and how whatever job they got was perfect timing even if the reality was that they waited a long time and they were extremely frustrated waiting for that perfect job. It’s easy to create a revisionist history in our mind that only remembers the good and not the bad.

Related to this idea is how many people think they want a new job, but don’t realize how good their current job is for them. It’s a principle we’ve talked about regularly on this blog. Change doesn’t always mean that it will be better. To use a phrase everyone is familiar with, the grass is always greener on the other side. As we look at our current position we can often only see the bad, but when we look at other positions we can only ever see the good. If you have that mindset, you likely won’t be happy in any position.

I saw this first hand in my career. I’d applied for a position as a professor in Hawaii. Sounds like the dream job right? Well, we’d lived in Hawaii before and so we knew the goods and bads of living there. As I went through the interview process, my wife and I focused almost completely on the great things we’d have if I got the job and we moved back to Hawaii. It was amazing how we created a bit of a reality vortex which ignored all the bad things. Not to mention, we remembered all the bad things of our current situation.

Long story short, I ended up not getting the job as a professor. Once that happened, my wife and I quickly started to remember all the bad things about living in Hawaii (yes, there are bad things, believe me). Upon further reflection, moving to Hawaii would have been an awful choice for my family, so I was lucky that I didn’t get the job. However, we’d been so focused on the good of the alternative that we ignored the bad and forgot the good we already had where we were.

The nice ending to this story is that shortly after not getting that job in Hawaii I decided to quit my day job and just work for myself as a full-time blogger. Healthcare Scene and this blog wouldn’t be here today if I’d gotten that job in Hawaii. Was that perfect timing? I’m not so sure, but I do think life has a way of working out if you work hard and focus on becoming great at something you enjoy. We just sometimes have to be patient as we wait for the timing to be right before we make a change.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.