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The eye of the storm

Posted: 04 October 2010

The recession is behind us, there are jobs a plenty and its time to make hay, and better our pay and career prospects.

There are more jobs out there since the recession hit and good candidates are becoming a valuable commodity.  Hiring managers are struggling to come to terms with this new situation, they might not be able to find the candidate who ticks all of the boxes and costs next to nothing, as was the case when they filled that last position at the peak of the recession.

An old problem has raised its head again though – window shopping. What I’m referring to here are candidates who look at other opportunities with no intention of accepting the job. This is a direct result of a buoyant employment market, but is fraught with potential risk as that double-dip could be lying in wait around the corner. But firstly why do people do this?

Counter-offer – there is nothing like walking into your manager’s office with an offer and giving them an ultimatum after not receiving a pay rise during the recession

The grass is greener – feeling depressed, unappreciated, wondering what it’s like working for the other side?

My boss will get the hint – odd days off here and there, rushing off to the meeting room for private phone calls with recruiters, it shouldn’t take long for the boss to notice and promise you the earth not to leave

Feel good factor – we all love a pat on the back for good work but the offer of a job is the next buzz and the ultimate high-five

Advantages aside why shouldn’t you be doing this?

Great, your boss has just agreed to match that offer the competition made plus he’s promised you’ll be the head of the department within three years! What has actually happened here is that your boss has made a short-term fix as losing you will cost more than the raise you’re given. Additionally your name has been added to the top of the list for potential redundancies when the next round of cuts hit. Also your boss now thinks your a ruthless so and so and has not the slightest intention of promoting you, actually he’s on the phone to a recruiter right now advertising your position. You’ve also just annoyed a potential employer who won’t give your CV a second glance next time it passes his desk.

You saw the other side; it was nice but not your cup of tea. That’s fine, you shouldn’t have to move just because you went to an interview; but when you’re updating and uploading your CV once a month on Monster and Jobsite and its hitting the desk of the usual hiring managers you’re building a reputation of someone constantly on the make and not the model employee.

Your boss will get the hint and he might just be glad that you’re going. He might have had to make cuts next quarter and you’ve just saved him a job! On the other hand if you don’t get that offer, or don’t accept, you will be stuck in a role with your boss keeping a sceptically eye on you and surprise surprise your name is creeping up that potential redundancy list you boss has in the back of his diary.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, you will tarnish your relationship with your recruiter. When that next great job comes around after you have previously refused an offer or blown off interviews the odds of them actually getting in touch and risking the same situation is very slim.

So then

Your feeling undervalued, working harder than ever and the prospect of a raise is a long way off. Now is the time to leverage the market right? Well, no. If your genuinely looking for the right reasons than that’s fine and dandy. But if you fall into the categories already discussed beware, you are walking a tight-rope, and with the prospect of a double-dip recession you are potentially playing Russian roulette with your career.

The solution?

Set out what you want to achieve before your make the plunge and start sending out your CV. Assess why you are doing this, is it purely as an alternative for that missing pay-rise, if so are there any alternatives without resorting to window-shopping? Have a frank chat with your boss about how you feel, don’t storm in with ultimatums waving offers and letters of notice and you might just be surprised.