Paradigm Shift Part II – Is It Really Job Search “vs.” Career Management

March 29th, 2007

Okay so the first post was a little more popular than I expected 😉 It spun off a few blog posts here and here and here. I wanted to bring their posts into the discussion because they intrigued me…

Matthew Blevins - InsourcedMatt at Insourced starts out with:

Jason … claims that job search is “out” and career management is “in”. What’s that mean exactly? Basically, it’s Jason’s own approach to the “job hunt”.

I don’t entirely agree with this – I don’t think job search is out (but understand why he wrote that :)), and was happy to see him expand on it:

the “career management” approach … is all-inclusive. In short, job search isn’t really “out”, as I suggested of Jason’s model, it’s just that it’s not the entire focus. Job search is simply a smaller part of a larger approach, that being “career management”. … job search and career management are not mutually exclusive and … everyone engaging in career management must still conduct a job search. Those engaged only in a job search, however, don’t necessarily engage in career management.

EXCELLENT – this is an excellent point and I think because I was making one point I left this point unmade – so thanks Matt. My point was that you shouldn’t settle in a mental state of job search and neglect career management (especially if you are already employed!). But Matt says that a job search is a subset of career management. Thank you!

Dan Johnson, Jr.Dan Johnson, Jr. kind of took the wind out of my pollyanna career management sail with this:

I’m finding that Career Management was easier when I was looking for work. Now that I’m working, it’s harder and harder for me to stay in that mindset. I’m spending more time thinking about projects at work than my own career management.

Ugh – that brings me back to reality – but he closes his concept with this statement that is too true (and too often unspoken):

I don’t want to be misled into a false sense of job security. Right now work is going strong, but I still need to keep my eyes on the big picture.

Excellent – I guess career management is like balaning the checkbook – we all know we should do it but its not as easy or fun as… say, eating a bag of M&Ms.

More Than A Living - Rick blogs there... Finally, Rick Turoczy at More than a living says:

But it’s (job search and career management) all on the same path.


career management is about being involved in your career–taking control. Job search, on the other hand, is about being reactive and out of control.

Thanks guys, these are great additions to the conversation!

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7 responses to “Paradigm Shift Part II – Is It Really Job Search “vs.” Career Management”

  1. Thanks for sharing my comments, Jason!

    I’ve noticed that I have posted more at Get That Job! when I’ve been unemployed than when I’ve been employed. Part of that has been because I was posting resources I’d find throughout my job search, and that was the initial point of me starting the blog.

    Now as with the rest of career management, I’m posting and doing whatever I can in between moments of work at my job. Go figure.

  2. Matt Blevins says:

    I love the career management concept Jason – it’s simple, but it’s too often ignored by job seekers. Sorry if I initially oversimplified your point, but as you see, I came back to explain a bit better! And certainly, I do have my reasons for stressing the importance of job search (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)…

  3. Pete Johnson says:

    I guess I see these as two extremes on a continuum as opposed to being one of two modes that you are in. Depending upon how well things are going in your current job and what the stability of your company is or even what other life events might be going on, you might place yourself at different points along that curve at different times in your career.

    While it’s certainly dangerous to be too close to “Job Search”, you might be wasting your time in other instances being on the far end of “Career Management” too. There’s a balance in there somewhere and you have to judge for yourself what that balance is given your situation. At a minimum, I’m a firm believer in thinking what at least your next career step should be even if you aren’t actively taking steps to achieve that for whatever reason.


  4. I loved the article. As a person in transition, I can say that “shift” happens when we have time to pay attention to it (read: out of a job). For sure, it’s a great mindset at any time and my preferred mindset at that. Unfortunately, reality is a real buzz kill when it comes to evolution. Still the point is well taken.

    Nadine Turner turner

  5. loved the article. As a person in transition, I can say that “shift” happens when we have time to pay attention to it (read: out of a job). For sure, it’s a great mindset at any time and my preferred mindset at that. Unfortunately, reality is a real buzz kill when it comes to evolution. Still the point is well taken.

    Nadine Turner

  6. Brad Attig says:


    I think it is important to realize that career management and the associated tasks and skills aren’t just used when looking for an external next job. Career management can be just as important within your existing company.

    Think of it this way, your next promotion at ABC Inc. could be your next job. What about a position in the European Division? New title, new duties, more responsibilities, bigger office or computer screen. More MONEY or RECOGNITION or whatever rocks your boat?

    Expanding your network and keeping it warm is an excellent habit to develop. Building relationships inside your company and the industry should be happening all the time. Being the Subject Matter Expert within your current company is a good thing, in your industry, most excellent. Researching the competition is just plain smart business.

    If you practice smart career management in your own company while employed, you will have more tools, or arrows in the quiver I like to say, when or if you have to look outside. Doing this will hopefully prevent you from a crisis job search or at least make it as painful as possible.

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