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The Career Change Timing Fallacy

We’ve noticed something in our years of working as career matchmakers in the pharma-recruitment industry: many candidates will decline to even hear what a recruiter has to offer because of “bad timing.” They say this a lot of different ways: it’s not the “right time” or “perfect position” or they’re “just too busy.” However the words are formed, the message is: “not now.”

The Trouble with “Not Now”

What we’ve seen is that “not now” may not be very good for your career. For one, when a potential candidate waits until they’re forced to look for a new position (the end of a project, when faced with downsizing, etc.), they only have the pick of the positions that are open at that moment. Unless you’re really lucky, forget the “perfect position” or the pick of working environments when the clock is ticking.

What’s more, when you turn down a meeting with an interesting company, you miss out on laying down some networking groundwork for when you are looking. If not at their company…well, you’ll never know which “competitor” colleagues they’re sharing staffing tips with unless you develop some sort of relationship. Let them get to know you a little now, and they’ll think of you later too.

The truth is there is never a “perfect” time. Yes, some moments might seem more ideal than others – but, unfortunately, the world isn’t holding its breath for your ideal moment. Job opportunities often come up when you least expect them. Which is why, happy as you may now be, having a talk with a new company could open the door of an unexpected but undeniable opportunity.

No Rush Needed

Exploring opportunities should be an ongoing, low-energy project. This is especially important in the life-sciences industry, where new breakthroughs can mean big, sudden changes. Even to just to be as knowledgeable as possible in your current role, it’s good to keep an eye on the pharma players, exciting biotech companies and new niche CROs popping up.

Keep in mind: an interview is not a job offer. But it is an opportunity. If not a job opportunity, then a networking opportunity or even just an opportunity to learn more about your industry and about yourself – invaluable knowledge whatever your next step. Just having an interesting conversation with a (hopefully good and niche-knowledgeable) recruiter or even going on a job interview can help you get a handle on what’s hot and happening in your field. It might inspire you to change the way you work in your current company and/or point you toward pertinent training that will prepare you for future opportunities.

Changes Ahead

There are big changes ahead, especially for women in pharma (given the new quotas, for one). This means a lot of new opportunities. There’s no sense in not at least hearing about them, right? You’ll be glad you took the temperature of the market when the time to move on does come. In other words, you don’t need to say, “I’m ready”…just put your “not now”s on pause.