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Listener Question from Summit: How To Hunt for a Different Job While Already Employed Without Exhausting Yourself or Burning Bridges

Published 5/13/2015

In today's episode, listener Summit asks about how to search for a new job while being employed, and how to keep from getting to exhausted.

This episode is sponsored by Intuit. Check out the developer sandbox and API explorer at http://intuit.me/DevTea to get started building apps for millions of small business today!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I am answering a listener question the listener's name is summit and summit sent in a question about searching for a new job while at his current job. So here's some its question do you have any advice on searching for a new job while working your current one I'm currently in the process of interviewing with companies as I work my regular day job as a dev and it's been tough. I'm no stranger to hard work but lately I've just been feeling mentally exhausted after coding for eight hours and then going home and then going home to do my phone screens coding challenges and personal projects to beef up my GitHub for employers. Another thing that's been kind of weird for me is responding to emails or phone calls while I'm at work and almost feels like I'm cheating on my work or something. Do you have any thoughts on that? Well summit I have quite a few thoughts about the subject actually and I'm really excited to you ask this question because I think quite a few people are in this same position now even if your current job is not as a developer and you're looking for a new job as a developer a lot of what we're going to talk about today is also applicable to you. So my very first thought for you summit the very first piece of advice that I have for you and really for anybody who's listening to the show even if you aren't looking for a job this is just in general just in general advice I guess is to rest properly if you don't getting back on track is much more difficult than if you were to have rested properly in the first place the work you will be doing at your current job if you aren't resting properly and in your job search will suffer it's much better to get a good night of sleep eat a decent diet maintain a healthy level of exercise and let your brain decompress from a long day of strain of mental strain and and a long day of output. So make sure you're resting if you don't you will suffer that is the unfortunate truth you can't go at a hundred miles an hour we are not made like a machine even machines can't maintain a full on sprint all the time so if you feel like you are sprinting every day eventually you're going to burn out make sure that you take proper rest that means sleep sleep well and there's some advice that I have for sleeping well very simply don't look at your phone. For about an hour maybe two hours before you go to bed stop drinking coffee earlier in the day make sure you're sleeping somewhere between six and a half and eight hours a night these are all really simple pieces of advice that are based on the most empirical research there's some people who are doing like sleep packing or whatever and they found that they can bring their sleep their hour count for sleep per night down to like three hours I would say go with the empirical research see how it does for you more rest typically especially if you are running at a crazy pace like it seems like you are some make sure you are getting more rest maybe even think you need. My next piece of advice for summit and for everyone else once again that's listening to the show is to maintain a high level of integrity at all times summit mentioned that he feels like he's kind of cheating on his employer and the reason for that is because you feel a tinge of guilt that is natural because you feel like you're hiding something or maybe you feel wrong for leaving your job and in fact you you are not wrong for leaving your job it is totally normal. You're not really within your rights to leave your employer and go and find a new employer but maintain a high level of integrity this will never steer you wrong if you're taking calls or emails while you're at work make sure you tell your employer that you're doing that make sure you tell them that you are on a job search the worst thing that can happen if you do this is you get fired and eventually you're going to quit anyway so it's just a matter of time right. The best kinds of things that happen when you maintain integrity is that your your current employer might help guide you along the way in your new job search they are no stranger unless they are very new to the business they're no stranger of of career shifts they know how people eventually will move between jobs it is a very common thing so they might help you along the way they might give you recommendations they may even give you a flexible schedule or even a little bit of a way to get a job. So I'm saying you to work for them and the possible damage is that you burn bridges with them and they shame your name to future employees imagine a situation where a future employee is asking for a reference from your previous job and you have to tell them why can't give you that reference because that boss doesn't like me that's a bad sign and so maintaining a high level of integrity for your current boss is the best way to communicate to your future boss that you will have to have integrity with them as well. My next piece of advice for summit is to not overestimate how much work you need to show to be considered a worthwhile candidate unless you're seeking a niche position the most important thing you can do is show that you care about your craft enough to have quality work and that you are competent so it's much better to show three good projects then to show 10 okay projects so you don't have to go and try to just show that you're not going to be able to do that. So you don't have to go and try to just stack your GitHub profile with tons of commits and you know pull requests to all the different open source projects that you that you want to be a part of or something like that that's that's overkill and in general that is not going to be the thing that gets you the job. Instead of beefing up your portfolio with as much work as possible focus on the most visible work that you have and the most obvious quality work that you have in other words focus on the things that are designed well and that have been in the public sphere these are the kinds of things that employers will look for to say okay this person knows what they are doing and they can do it well. Now these are my personal recommendations of course every employer is different some employers might look for a large volume of work or a lot of contributions to open source or something like that but ask yourself the question if you want to work for an employer that cares about the volume of work more than the quality and I I'm guessing some if you're like me that you would prefer to work for an employer that wants you to write less. Less good code not less good code but less code overall for the sake of the quality of that code. Now I'm going to take a quick break for our sponsor and then I'm going to come back and give some it to rules to very simple rules to follow while he is still working and searching for another job these are rules that you can benefit from as well whether you're searching for another job or if you're just trying to make the most of your time just like summit is but first a word from today's sponsor. 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So some it and there are two rules that I want you to follow while you are still working and searching for another job and these are more principles than they are rules the first one is very commonly known as the 80 20 rule that is what is the thing that you can do with 20% of the effort to get 80% of the effect what is the most potent work that you can do what extra work can you do that will provide the most. That will provide the most benefit for example personal portfolio and an online presence like a blog or something will provide much more benefit and then a bit of contribution to an open source project unless you are specifically trying to get a job in open source contributions your personal portfolio is going to be much more visible much more accessible to more people and higher up individuals at a given order. So if you are a developer to you know that you are going to be able to get a job in open source at a given organization will understand that more than they are going to understand a pull request most likely unless they are Developer Themselves or unless they work with developers very closely so focus on the things that have the have the highest impact that's the principle that's the rule the things. So keep that in mind the least effort for the most gain focus on those things first and then if you have the time and the energy and if the first 80% didn't cut it then you can add more energy into trying to get more effect you can do the other 80% in the extra time that you have. So the second principle is the principle of compound benefit so this goes right along with the 80 20 principle and that is to do things that benefit you in more than one way so can you use some of the work that you are doing at your current job for example to show your components to a future employer is there some kind of project or script that you've built at your current job that you can leverage by open sourcing throwing up on your GitHub account. So the kinds of things can you use to your advantage in more than one way another great example of this would be writing for a tutorial site this both shows your authority over a given subject and you can get paid to write for that tutorial site so consider things that give you a compound benefit something that gives you more than one singular benefit. So the principle of something that doesn't give you compound benefit is actually something like a coding challenge for a singular employer now you might have a little bit of learning experience that comes along with that so there is some benefit there but the benefit that you have putting towards a single employer a single potential future employer is going to be much less than the things that you do that are going to be applicable to all potential future employers. So I hope that some of this information and some of these ideas resonate with you I hope that you have a good transition out of your current position and that your boss is understanding and will help you make that transition and I hope that you will get the rest that you need remember get rest it is totally important you can't go through life without energy there you can go for short periods of time where you do all nighters or whatever it is. That you need to do to get through but don't make it a habit your work will suffer make sure you get rest thank you so much for sending in your question I'm sure there are many people who are listening to this episode that are encouraged by the things that you are going through because they themselves are going through them as well and I hope that you listeners even if you aren't looking for a job right now I hope that you gained some insight into how best to use your time. Thank you so much for listening to the show if you have a question for Developer Teaou can send it to me on Twitter at at Developer Teaor you can email me at Developer Teaat gmail dot com if the show has provided value to you in some way and you would like to give back the easiest way that you can do that is to just go to iTunes and leave a review I know a lot of people don't use iTunes and that's OK but there are still a lot of people who haven't found Developer Tea and I hope that you can see that I'm going to be a good guy. I haven't found Developer Tea and who would find it through iTunes or through the iTunes review system so that is a huge help to the show and it's a huge help to helping other developers just like you find Developer Teaonce again thank you so much for listening and until next time enjoy your tea.