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'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome

#1 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
06/02/2010 12:28



i need advice on how to overcome this so called syndrome. I currently have a fantastic consulting gig, boss has recently given me a promotion, got a good team, interesting work, am learning a lot, great ( above market) salary, etc. My contract is soon comming to an end and whilst i am almost 100% sure of extension, i am having second thoughts as to whether i want to continue seek something else.

I just cant get thoughts outta my mind that there may be greener pastures elsewhere. I have scoured job boards and there is little that matches the salary, job duties, and projects that i caurently have.

How do i overcome this 'foot up my a$$' syndrome? I am serious here. It really is bothering me a lot.

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#2 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
08/02/2010 10:54

Mars A Day to JWT (#1)

It's quite normal to get restless when things are going well - you naturally question whether you are getting the best return on your talents. Also you mention your contract is up for renewal, so you obviously have some anxiety in the back of your mind that this may not be extended, no matter how unlikely that might be (and who could blame you?).

Feed your appetite for something new without jeopardising your current role - meet with a HH to talk about the market and get a sense of your market worth, current conditions etc; you will find that the grass is often not as green as it looks. Take up a new hobby or something too - keep things fresh.

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#3 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
08/02/2010 12:48

anon to Mars A Day (#2)

Sounds like Tiger Woods syndrome. Basically, when you "have it all", why would you want anything else?

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#4 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
09/02/2010 09:46

Mr Cool to JWT (#1)

“how to overcome this so called syndrome” – In a word DON’T.

As long as your internal nagging voice is not distracting you from your current delivery, nor causing you genuine mental anguish (e.g. you’re not boring people at parties with it), what you're experiencing is good old fashioned “not resting on your laurels” and should be considered a sign of a high-achiever.

Even when I am on long term assignments I review the job-boards almost every day! It means I know more than my peers about which agencies are consistently good, which clients are expanding (constant review helps you identify anonymous clients, because they “cut and paste” from one ad to another), what rates are available, etc.

I also attend at least one or two interviews a month. It keeps me in interview practice, it allows me to compare current and potential gigs, it allows me to position myself for better things with both agencies and end-clients. Occasionally this turns into a welcome job offer which I can then accept or use to bolster my position within my existing engagement. Last year I did this to counteract a client-wide cut in day rates for example and avoided a 10% cut that affected 90% of contractors. Other times I’ve used it to get early confirmation of contract extensions. Sometimes it just confrms that I'm already in the right place.

There are lots of functionally good consultants that don’t manage their career as actively, but unfairly or not, they’re the guys earning 10-20% less, and they’re the guys who when they’re released (happens to us all at some point) are less able to adapt.

Just my 2p worth, but it works for me.

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#5 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
09/02/2010 14:31

Dave to Mr Cool (#4)

Mr Cool, you say you interview with 1-2 companies per month. Does that really mean 12-24 (approx) per year? Don't you run out of companies to apply to after a while? Or start developing a bit of a 'reputation' (or even worse, ending up on their database as somebody who went to interview but it didn't go any further)?

I'd be genuinely interested in hear more about active career management but would be concerned about burning bridges and limiting future options by applying for jobs I have almost zero intention of taking if offered?

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#6 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
09/02/2010 16:46

Mr Cool to Dave (#5)

Hi Dave,

Very fair questions. I work freelance (as I presume the OP does given his reference to his contract ending) which is a lot more fluid – it’s normal as you approach the end of a job to interview for multiple positions, knowing some will fall through, some will have their budget pulled, etc. It’s quite easy to “turn down” jobs without getting a negative reputation – I simply point out that another client has come back quicker or with a better rate or a more interesting or more relevant gig. Sometimes I do this just to make a point that I can’t be bought at a low rate, or to impress upon them that I only want a certain type of work.

I also use headhunters fairly ruthlessly. If they are good, I develop a good rapport with them and never do anything unprofessional or mislead them, although I might bluff them from time to time on rates, etc. In return quite a few agencies have had 25% margins off my work and multiple extensions, where I close the extension.

However if an agency contacts me that is clearly a cowboy, then I would think nothing of going along to see their client, dazzling them as best I can, but in a way where we agree that I’m not the right person for that particular job. A poor agent will then not keep in contact with me, but I will be keeping in contact with his client, and it is not unusual for me to end up doing some work for them six months down the line without going through the agency. (better rate and no exclusivity clause)

The HH market is not homogeneous. If you’re lucky to get on the radar of Egon Zendor, Hiedrick & Struggles, Korn Ferry, etc – don’t mess them around – they’re the guys who will come after you as a Head of Practice one day.

There are also some very good HH's at niche firms.

However there are (as this forum confirms) many HH’s who are too thick to remember your name, or that they interviewed you last year – those ones, you can scam as much as you like.

If you think I’m being unfair, let me assure you, none of this is as underhand as the tricks agencies play on EACH OTHER!

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#7 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
09/02/2010 20:00

Just A Thought to Mr Cool (#6)

Hmm... 1-2 interviews a month.. No don't buy that. However maybe a definition of what constitutes an interview is called for.. An informal chat where a head hunter calls you to discuss about a position and the candidates possible suitability..This happens all the time and for me does not fall into the category of 'an interview''s a free world and you can disagree with the defn. If on the other hand things escalate to the client organisation and in your statement of 1-2 interviews a month relates to actual interviews with the Client org..nah..don't buy it..

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#8 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
09/02/2010 20:18

Mr Cool to Just A Thought (#7)

That's okay - its not for sale.

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#9 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
13/02/2010 11:11

JWT to JWT (#1)

just a follow up- i spoke to my boss. He offered me an indefinite extension, all the benefits of a perm employee, annual (salary)reviews, paid leave,holidays, etc...

and here is the best part: i can simply pack up and leave for whatever reason at any time ( without penalites)- all on a contractor basis.

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#10 RE: 'Grass is greener on the other side' syndrome
15/02/2010 11:33

Mr Cool to JWT (#9)


From this update I pray that you are not working in the UK?

If you are then you need to get some tax advice immediately or risk losing about half your earnings to HMRC.

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