At this year’s SilkRoad Connections conference, Ryan Estis asked a question that stuck with me.
Are you playing chess or checkers with your career?
Think about it. Playing checkers implies that we’re only thinking one move ahead. Chess means that we’re thinking several moves ahead. There’s nothing wrong with either one of them.
There have been times in my career when I’ve played checkers. I wanted more money, better benefits, shorter commute, etc. The next job accomplished those things.
I’ve also played chess. I’ve taken a lateral in pay in exchange for new responsibilities. Because I knew it would benefit me in the long run. I specialized knowing it would make me a better generalist in the future.
The question isn’t to choose one over the other. It’s to acknowledge which game you’re playing and why you chose it. I know people who say they’re playing chess but they’re really playing checkers. They talk about being strategic with their career choices but they’re not thinking very much beyond the present.
On the flip side, I’ve seen others agonize about their next career move like they’re playing checkers, when they really should admit to themselves they’re playing chess. It’s okay to think three, five, maybe even ten years down the road.
In today’s recruiting market, more individuals are willing to listen when the recruiter calls. Some companies have figured out that it’s become a candidate’s market. Not all…not even close to all…but some. Those companies are building relationships with current and future talent.
Add to that, smart recruiters are playing the game. By that I mean playing checkers – with the checker players. And chess – with the chess players. Good recruiters figure out which game you’re playing. They play the right game with the right person.
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Back to the original question: Do you know if you’re playing chess or checkers with your career?
When a recruiter calls you, what will you say?
Image courtesy of HR Bartender0