Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What Goes On Behind The Mirror

I spent the last two days in a dark room in mid-town Manhattan, watching people use JobsintheMoney. This was one of those see-through mirror set-ups, where a bunch of us from the product and marketing teams could observe people give the site a try. Throughout the session, they kept up a running commentary about what they liked, and what they didn't. Back in the dark room, there was a lot of sighing and note-taking.

A couple of things struck me: First, there's a big difference in attitudes among age groups about their careers. It seems the older people get, the more inclined they are to wait for an internal promotion rather than actively look for a new job. Younger people - meaning those below 35 - viewed switching jobs as what you do when the time comes for a new challenge or more money. And those who are in their mid twenties have a healthy sense that their job better stay interesting, or they're going to start looking.

Everyone understands the importance of connections, it seemed. In other words, they get the value of networking, even if they call it something else. People talk about "staying in touch" more than "networking," and few of these folks belonged to formal business or professional groups. They send e-mails instead. And, even among younger people, sites like Facebook or MySpace were all about fun. No one expressed much interest in using them to find a new job.

These are the highlights, and I'm still sifting through my notes. There's more to come. But if you have any thoughts about how you manage your career or look for a job - and how we can help you - please post a comment or send me an e-mail. Thanks.

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