On the Clock

The 90-Day Career Diet: Hitting the Reset Button

You'll be surprised to learn when you should start looking for the next job, says Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison. Last in a series.

Congratulations, you got the job. Now it’s time to think about the next one.

This might strike you as odd since you haven’t even finished your first week yet. But the 90-Day Career Diet isn’t a “one and done” exercise, like losing 15 pounds before the next college reunion. It’s a lifestyle change, like committing to a better diet and regular exercise.

The 90-Day Career Diet introduced you to new lifelong habits: understanding yourselftargeting opportunitiesnetworking for a warm introduction, having a resume that tells your story, and preparing for and mastering the interview.

Job tenure keeps shrinking. This isn’t a sign of dissatisfaction; it’s the path of the “career nomad”, who is looking to make an impact and quickly move on.

Even as you distinguish yourself in your brand-new job, you need to continue the Career Diet. Statistically speaking, you probably won’t be in your new job for long. Job tenure keeps shrinking—about four years on average and only one to two years for younger workers. It isn’t a sign of dissatisfaction; it’s the path of the “career nomad,” who is looking to make an impact quickly and then move on. And the best time to get a new job is when you already have one. 

Learn All You Can

The most important rewards from your new job — far more than salary, bonus, or title — are the lessons you learn. One of the main reasons to take a new job is to gain skills and expand your experiences.

Consider the 70-20-10 rule: about 70 percent of your learning and development come from assignments that stretch you and allow you to learn new skills; 20 percent will be from other people, especially your boss; and 10 percent will be from training and courses. So let your curiosity lead you to commit to continuous learning.

Your Homework: Network, Network, Network

Six degrees of separation — the idea that anyone can be connected to any other person through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries — isn’t just a theory. It’s reality! Over my career, I’ve seen this played out thousands of times. Now as you start your new job, your networking should kick up a notch, especially internally as you get to know others across the company and explore the next opportunity.

  • Your new company is a network. Companies have formal organizational charts, policies, and procedures. But the reality is in almost every company, there’s an informal way of how stuff gets done. I call this the informal network. Talk to your peers to figure out this network: “Who are the influencers who carry the most weight?” “How can I best work with them?” “What do they appreciate or dislike?” In every interaction, remember your “ACT”: be authentic, forge a connection, and give others a taste of who you are.
  • Help others follow your path. Your job change will probably spread through your network like a news flash, especially when you update your LinkedIn profile. This will prompt people to wish you well and also to reach out to you for help and advice. Be a sounding board and a helpful hand. Others helped you, now it’s time for some karmic payback.

Your Stretch Assignment: Be an Outlier in an Uncertain World

The one thing we can be sure about is that tomorrow won’t look like today. In what’s being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technological forces of progress are putting stresses on how and where we work. Some jobs that exist today will go the way of the blacksmith and the retail clerk. You need to be constantly learning and stretching so you become an “outlier” in terms of performance.

  • Double-down on indispensability. No one has a crystal ball on his or her desk. You don’t know what’s going to happen, whether you’re going to receive a surprise promotion or the unwelcome news of downsizing in your department. You cannot prevent things beyond your control. But if you become indispensable, especially to your boss, by being the “go-to” person who gets things done, you’ll come out on top.
  • The Talent Mosaic: Companies everywhere will still need to attract, develop, and align people who represent a mosaic of talents and abilities— diverse by every definition. Inclusive organizations embrace the multiplicity of differences as a competitive edge for understanding and serving global customers. You want to be part of that mosaic.
  • Rinse and Repeat: Go back to the first step on the Career Diet—knowing yourself. And do it all again: identifying strengths and weaknesses, connecting with your passion and purpose, targeting opportunities, and networking internally and externally. And always—in every interaction from a job interview to a colleague conversation—put your ACT in action.

Your new job isn’t an end, it’s the beginning. As a career nomad, you’re constantly on the move and evolving with every step.

Check out steps onetwothreefour,  five and six of the 90-Day Career Diet. A version of this article appears on Forbes.com.  

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