Only A Product Manager Could Screw Up A Job Change!

It Can Be Easy To Take A Wrong Step When Changing Jobs
It Can Be Easy To Take A Wrong Step When Changing Jobs

The global economy is roaring back again and it sure seems like everyone is starting to take stock of their job and decide if they want to stay where they are or move on to greener pastures. Product managers are no exception. Perhaps you’ve grown as far as you can or perhaps you feel that you’ve done everything that you’re going to be allowed to do where you are at. If you are thinking about moving on, you had better be careful that you don’t screw up your job change…

Failing To Do Enough Research On Where You Are Going

Considering the fact that doing research, collecting data, and then making the best possible decision is such a key part of the job of being a product manager, you’d think that we’d all do this well when it comes to looking for our next job. Well, guess again.

The folks who know such things, search consultants, say that product managers are dropping the ball in several areas. The first is that they don’t do a good job of sizing up the market for their skills. What this means is that product managers don’t have valid assumptions for how long it’s going to take to find their next job.

Next, product managers somewhat surprisingly don’t do a good job of checking out the financial health of the company that they are thinking about jumping to. Sure they may check out the salary, but not the bottom line situation.

Additionally, the culture of the new company is rarely considered. If a product manager is coming in from a free-wheeling Silicon Valley company and is considering going to work for a 100-year old insurance firm, culture becomes a big deal.

Finally, all too often product managers assume that they are getting what’s being advertised – that the job title matches the job. Just because the new company calls the job “product manager” does not mean that you’ll have the same level of control that you had in your old job.

Going When They Show You The Money

Hey, I like money, you like money. However, as hard as it is for both of us to understand, you can’t leave one job and go to another just because the new job pays more. This is a sure recipe for disaster.

When product managers were asked to rank what they were looking for in a new job, pay came in at the fourth or fifth place on the list. However, all too often product managers bump this factor up to first place when it comes time to make a decision — bad move.

Deciding To Go “From” Rather Than “To”

Just like everyone else out there, product managers can become dissatisfied with their jobs. When this happens, they can start to make poor career decisions.

When a product manager decides to switch jobs, it should be a carefully planned career move. However, if they are really upset with their current position, then all too often it becomes just a desperate jump to the nearest lifeboat. Since this often happens with little or no serious research into the firm that the product manager is fleeing to, these new positions rarely last for long.

As a product manager bounces from firm to firm, you can quickly develop a reputation as a job hopper and it will become that much harder to get your next job. No matter how bad your current job is, take the time to plan out what your next career step should be before you do anything.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers are like everyone else: when the opportunity to move to a new job comes along, they can decide to make the jump for all of the wrong reasons. If you are aware of the most common mistakes that other product managers have made, then you’ll have a chance to avoid them.

The mistakes that product managers make are easily avoidable. The most common mistakes include not doing enough research on the company that they’ll be joining, being seduced by an offer of more money, and focusing on leaving the firm where they are and not taking a careful look at just exactly where they’ll be going.

Ultimately, being aware of the most common mistakes that product managers make is the first step in avoiding them. You can switch jobs smoothly and end up in a better place, just make sure that you’re switching for all the right reasons! /p>

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that going to a company in trouble for a lot more money would be worth it?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Sure you did all of the research, you talked with all of the right people, shucks you even followed up on every Google link that you could find on the company that you were thinking about going to work for before making the jump. However, now that you’ve made the jump you are finding out that perhaps you’ve made a mistake. Now what do you do?