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Should I stay or should I go now? Switching Jobs in a Pandemic

By Sharon Flynn posted 03-10-2021 09:14 AM

  

“Are you insane?”

This was the reaction I received when I moved jobs, from client-side to an agency, in the latter part of 2020. At the time, I was leading a digital analytics team at a financial institution in Canada. I had almost four years under my belt working full time, with comfortable job security, and if the worst happened, likely a good package. I really loved my team. We had an advanced Adobe Analytics practice that had over 900 end-users with thousands of reports and a team NPS score over 50. Why not hunker down, stay safe, and shelter in place?

Of course, I had moments of discord and frustration in my role. Who doesn’t? I often overlooked irritations and waved away concerns by telling myself, “it’s just a bad day” or similar justifications. These nagging doubts became impossible to drown out during the height of COVID-19 as my life, like everyone else's, narrowed.  To separate Covid-19 anxiety from normal career evaluation, I took stock of these moments more explicitly. I started by examining my role through the lens of:

  • “Would I apply for my current job today?”
  • “What about my role do I like and how can I do more of what I like?”
  • “What do I dislike and what action can I take to mitigate that?”

Focusing on my current role created clarity about the successes to date and where I wanted to go next. This process turned out to be very useful for both mid-year evaluation time and the later interviews. I recommend asking yourself these questions regularly, especially if you have only pushed these thoughts aside in the last year.

Evaluation in hand, I began to reach out to leaders within my company, and externally to my network and the Digital Analytics Association (DAA). I sought advice, constructive criticism, and bounced around ideas. With the aid of people around me, I slowly concluded that I might need to leave my current role.

I came up with a shortlist of “must-haves” in a new role:

  • To learn new hard skills, tools, and methodologies.
  • My direct manager, and ideally their direct manager, should know and value the discipline that is digital analytics.
  • To work for a smallish organization so I could contribute and be exposed to the rich variety of roles in digital analytics.
  • I wanted a company with strong values and good employee relations.
  • The company needs a flexible, work from home arrangement.

I had not yet ruled out finding a new role with my current employer. But around this time I read Alex Yastrebenetsky of InfoTrust’s “No Layoffs Pledge” on the DAA’s website, noting their award for “Best Place to Work”. That pushed me to look externally as well. I decided to create a shortlist of potential employers, including InfoTrust (the only agency on my list), and evaluate them against my “must-haves”. InfoTrust met all my criteria including:

  • Hard skills. I had been admonishing myself for a while that my Google knowledge was not as deep as my Adobe skills. With GA4 on the horizon, working in a top Google partner organization was appealing.
  • My manager’s familiarity with what I do for a living. InfoTrust’s team literally writes books on digital analytics and is seen as a thought leader in the field. InfoTrust is also an active corporate member of the DAA.
  • InfoTrust is a smallish organization (less than 100 employees currently).
  • The organization has strong values (listed in their office and on their website) and good employee relations. They even have a charitable foundation, won over a dozen awards as a workplace with great culture, and a thumbs up rating from Glassdoor.
  • Work-from-home flexibility. Everybody is working from home right now anyways, but InfoTrust accommodated remote workers even before the pandemic, so I knew I would be supported.

I applied to a position with InfoTrust in June (via the DAA jobs board). To my great shock, I was contacted for an interview. Despite the uncertainty COVID-19 brought in the summer of 2020, InfoTrust stayed in ongoing communication with me. There was no ghosting with InfoTrust, which unfortunately happened a fair bit with other companies I applied to. The interview process left me thinking, “These guys know what they’re doing.”

When I was offered the position, I was excited but also apprehensive. I caught myself thinking things like, “Could I do this?” and “Would I fall on my face?” Yet I knew through my previous evaluation that this was the right move. No risk, no reward.

I joined InfoTrust in November and while changing roles in a pandemic has been unusual, it has not been nearly as challenging as I feared. The rewards are great. There are a rich mix of clients at various stages of the analytics maturity process that offer a healthy mix of challenges and rewarding partnerships. We have teams of subject-matter experts who are so knowledgeable that I cannot help but be inspired to learn more and more every day. It is both humbling and exhilarating to be a newcomer again in some spheres, and to bring new ideas that are welcomed, in others.

Trust me when I say that I understand the need to feel safe right now. Toronto has been on lockdown for a year. I miss my family, I live with constant anxiety, and I miss the fun. However, I am proud to have made that leap of faith to improve a section of my life that is in my control. I am investing in my career and skill set, which I hope will yield benefits down the road.

If I can do it, you can too.

Infotrust Careers 
DAA Jobs Board


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Comments

03-30-2021 09:48 PM

I wound up switching jobs during the pandemic as well. This worked out for the better for me and it took a pandemic for me to make the switch. I was at a job in a small town where I was getting a decent salary and the safety of knowing that I had job security... until it was ripped away by the pandemic that is!

Like you, it was the mentors and relations that I have built up through the DAA that really came in to help. These relations have been built up over the years and the volunteerings efforts that have put me in the same circles as industry titans. 

From my personal experience, I'd recommend anyone to try volunteering their time through many of the opportunities available. You can hang out with me in the Community Task Force or Implementation Task Force!

One cool opportunity through the DAA that was referred to me was an interview by Bloomberg discussing my job transition from small town to Fortune 500 and that article/video is below.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-03-04/coronavirus-pandemic-anniversary-what-1-year-later-looks-like-for-americans

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