I didn't have a plan, and look where that got me
🤸♀️ Welcome to episode 2 of the Girlfriend Groupchat, a weekly-ish series where I talk about the big and little things on our collective minds. If someone forwarded this to you, consider subscribing. We might even have a header image next week, and it will be the finest of MS paint artwork.
The big discussion // Taking the “employment” out of funemployement
In January, I was in an agony of indecision about whether to leave my job: I liked the work, but consulting has a famously high burnout rate for a reason. Also, I am in San Francisco - thought I probably should check out this whole tech thing people are banging on about.
I could have tried search while I was still employed, but I could never pull off the fake-doctor-appointments-while-interviewing thing (though, if you tell someone you have a pap smear, no further questions are ever asked). So I quit, and not without some trepidation. Here's what the next four weeks looked like:
It's a privilege to be able to maximize upside instead of mitigate downside in the job hunt. I quit my job to recruit full time. That's an unrealistic amount of cushion most people don't have. Perhaps companies should begin to pay for candidates time, especially for the take-home? The graphic doesn't even cover all the LinkedIn outreach, initial referral chats, and all the reading I did.
Still, if you’re thinking about quitting your job, here’s some things that might help you:
Since consultants are famously risk averse, basically everyone at work told me not to move on until I had my next step locked down. I did anyway, but not before I looked at my savings and expenses and figured out how much of a "runway" I'd have to find my new job. If you're in a similar position, it helps to be able to know your target for starting a job is, say, eight weeks before you have to worry about rent.
You can also take a look at expenses, and see if maybe some outgoings can be delayed or reduced temporarily to increase your runway.
You can and should communicate your timeline to recruiters to make them go faster! More importantly, give yourself permission to not panic if your first few options don't pan out.
Remember to factor in two additional weeks for the time between your potential start date and first pay period!
My first step was a LOT of reading to figure out what interested me and where I'd be a good fit. I started on LinkedIn to see where people with similar backgrounds worked, and them moved to Twitter to see thoughts from people and firms I'd want to work with. If you have a shorter runway, this can happen before you quit your job too.
Twitter really evens out the playing field: I don't even have a large presence, but I still ~slid~ into several senior people's DMs for referrals, roles and general advice. Be short and to the point. My cold messages looked like this:
If you’re looking for non-tech startup jobs, specialized job boards are much more helpful than general LinkedIn boards. I'm so annoyed I found Exit up and AliRohde jobs *after* I was already at offer stages!
If you're not looking at large firms with a phalanx of recruiters, your network probably matters more than anything else (as long as you hit ~60% of the job description bullets).
A you can see in the infographic, referrals had my best hit rates. I usually asked for a quick chat with people who worked in interesting places, told my story, and asked for a referral if they were comfortable.
To be connected with potential referrers, I reached out to friends, but also asked mutual acquaintances for intros. Don't be afraid to ask. The most people say is no. My messages often looked like this
You have limited energy: spend it all on networking in the early stages. I'm sure there are some great recruiters, but most that reached out to me weren't a good fit with my experience. Similarly, I'm sure some direct apps get read, but it feels like most are on an express train to trashtown. This is a tiny sample, so please let me know if you've found a good job with a recruiter or cold application for non-tech roles
Apply even if you don't hit the full JD. Allegedly, men do this and women wait to find a perfect match(!)
Understand that your career doesn’t define you. Figure out who you are, outside of your job, and what your values are. It’s good to take this time, if you can, to explore your hobbies, practice self-care, and take care of yourself. Or you could start a newsletter I suppose 🙃
This is long enough, but please let me know if you’re interested in more thoughts on the next stage: interviewing and negotiating. Lots of learning!!
The small talk // Coloring and Podcasts
🌈 To wind down from stressful days, I’ve recently started coloring before/in bed while listening to a podcast. You could do this with an adult coloring book (I have a nifty one with City Maps) but to be honest I find myself more often using a janky coloring app, because it’s faster and has animation, and as I have mentioned in this space before, I have a lizard brain that likes instant gratification.
I use an app called Happy Color, but it has a lot of ads and its data requests are sort of sketch. Let me know if you know a better one! Still, the animations are neat ✨
For podcasts, I’ve recently been listening to Something True, which is short (~15 mins), informative, and very funny.
The forward // these collective nouns
Hat tip to my dear friend Catgo, who shared this adorable TikTok. A group of ferrets is called a “Business” 🐰🐰🐰
I can’t embed Tiktoks I think, so just click the link.
That’s all for this week - love and be well,
https://twitter.com/reyazaveri <- follow me on Twitter, nobody laughs at my jokes there