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How to sell the desire for a ‘step back’ in your career?

 
Jan de Boer
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This may be a strange question, but would you have any ideas how to sell a ‘step back’ in your career? I am presently trying to get another job. If you want a new job you are almost obliged to say something like you want a new challenge. To be honest, and I know people will hate me for it, I want less challenge, not more. I would be happy with a few hundred euro less in a less volatile environment. But I can hardly go to a recruiter or manager and say: “I have had it with challenges! I want a boring job that pays well, and after five, I refuse to touch a computer or answer my cell phone!”. I don’t think that will work.


 
chris webster
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Jan de Boer wrote:“I have had it with challenges! I want a boring job that pays well, and after five, I refuse to touch a computer or answer my cell phone!”

Be careful what you wish for. A "boring" job can just mean you are treated poorly, have no career prospects and are simply expected to work harder doing drudge-work for less money.
 
Michael Gomez
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It's all about how you frame it. Here in the US we have an HR term called 'work/life' balance. Mention that you enjoyed the challenge of your last project but it was having negative side effects on your mental health and family. Say that you are looking for a well run project where you can contribute. Ask about the work culture and how staffing/deadlines are planned.
 
chris webster
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Michael Gomez wrote:It's all about how you frame it. Here in the US we have an HR term called 'work/life' balance. Mention that you enjoyed the challenge of your last project but it was having negative side effects on your mental health and family. Say that you are looking for a well run project where you can contribute. Ask about the work culture and how staffing/deadlines are planned.

Good idea re. "work-life balance", but don't mention "mental health" as a lot of employers are really paranoid about taking on somebody who might end up going on sick leave (or even taking legal action against them) due to work-related stress, depression etc.
 
Jan de Boer
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I like what Michael says. And it is exactly my point. When I had my former job I did load of things. I did more sports, I was an athletic coach, I was a volunteer for the first aid, I grew my own vegetables in my garden, I studied Korean to impress the Korean coworkers. (Yes especially the girl coworkers...) Now I just do computers, I am tired, I am getting fat even. I want my life back!! Okay that sounds dramatic, dont take it that way. But you are right too Chris, I dont want an equally stressy job, but then with less pay and programming legacy.

On the other hand, studying very hard to keep up level now, and I am intelligent enough to overcome that 'challenge'.
 
Henry Wong
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I think that the key word in your question is "sell". You are going to have to sell the transition. So, you ...

  • can't discuss hating your challenges / situation. It has to be your excitement at your targeted challenges / situation.


  • can't discuss your bad health (or any health stuff). You have to focus on your company, and how you feel you can do a better job (due to health, if you want, but stay on the positive side).


  • ... can't focus on anything from your point of view, in my opinion. It has to be from their (the company) point of view. Remember you are trying to sell the change. You have to make them want it too.


  • Henry
     
    Jan de Boer
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    Thanks Henry

    Henry Wong wrote:
  • can't discuss your bad health (or any health stuff). You have to focus on your company, and how you feel you can do a better job (due to health, if you want, but stay on the positive side).


  • Actually my health is excellent. I mentioned the getting fatter, more in the sense of getting out of shape. I have lost my 'six pack' so to speak. Or how would you say that in English. I have not had a sick day in more than a year. Furthermore I am having a little doubt here. I dont want to sell myself that good, that I trigger expectations I cannot fulfill. At this moment recruiters point me at possibilities to take a 'next step' in my career. But I have it bad enough in my present job, I dont want a job that is even more 'challenging'. I want a secure job I can manage. If I sell myself, I will get that 'new challenge' again. It is a little depressing I must say.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Jan de Boer wrote: I have lost my 'six pack' so to speak. Or how would you say that in English.

    That's how you say it.

    Part to of the problem is that many places talk about wonderful "opportunities" and "next step"s without them being real. It turns into buzzword bingo.
     
    Jan de Boer
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    Right, like I am looking for a new challenge is actually our buzzword for they dont want me anymore at my present job? ;-)

    By they way, I did not really have a six-pack at almost 50, that would be far too much. But I was in say reasonable physical age for my age, and totally losing that at the moment.
     
    It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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