What to Do After Accepting a Job Offer
So, you have just accepted a new job offer. Congratulations! You should be very excited about your new job. That’s great! However, for long-term success, it is advised to keep in mind several important aspects of the modern employment system. This article will help you to avoid typical pitfalls and take necessary actions to secure your employment income and increase your value in the job market.
Right after accepting a job offer, your first impulse might be to send polite rejection emails to the other companies you’ve been interviewing with and then deactivate your profiles on job boards and update your LinkedIn status to “not looking for a job.” A typical motivation behind that kind of clean-up is to be a “good employee” and to fully dedicate yourself to your new employer. That’s understandable because the employee-employer relationship might look like a free cooperation between two equal parties who exchange compensation for hours worked. Although that model may be close to reality for freelancers and contract workers, for modern salaried employees the relationship between the employee and the employer is completely different.
One-to-many or many-to-one?
Speaking in computer database terminology, the modern employment system for skilled white-collar workers is essentially a one-to-many relationship. A single company has many employees working for it, and each worker is expected to only have one employer at a given moment in time. Of course, some workers may have a gig or a side project, but practically speaking, if the gig is taking a significant number of hours per week and is continuous, it will have a negative impact on the worker’s performance at their main job, and negatively affect their career.
The reason is that nowadays the classic “9-to-5” schedule is not sufficient for skilled workers to be successful anymore. In order to maintain a long-term career path at a company, the employee has to dedicate themselves to the company in full (i.e. regularly go the extra mile, think about work problems in their spare time, proactively identify new issues and address them without waiting for an explicit request, etc.). In other words, you have to live your job. The reason is that the majority of your teammates most likely are already doing that, and if you don’t, then sooner or later you will start losing the race and feel like an imposter.
At the same time, it’s perfectly fine for a company to have several employees who do the same job or share ownership of the same area. Actually, most companies keep roles redundant on purpose, in order to mitigate the impact when a particular employee leaves.
That’s what is meant by the “one-to-many” relationship, and this kind of relationship is actually far from being equal. Now, let’s look into why companies do that, and what kind of consequences this has for salaried workers.
Hiring events, referral bonuses, employer brand… just keep recruiting!
Unlike employers, it is much more difficult for employees to switch their job. For example, in software development, an engineer who is determined to find a new job must first refresh their knowledge of computer science fundamentals and basic algorithms. Those are usually not used in their everyday work but are still “need-to-knows” at an interview (e.g. leetcode, design patterns, etc.). Also, employees need to update their CVs, start closely monitoring job ads, and apply for suitable positions. And that’s just the beginning. Getting an on-site interview and passing that stage is quite hard nowadays, especially with top employers.
At the same time, big companies typically keep hiring even when it looks like the team is fully staffed. In today’s employment system, it is pretty easy for an employer to replace almost any worker with another one at any time. In fact, it is the manager’s responsibility to make sure that there are no irreplaceable workers, especially in big companies and top employers like FAANG.
An important aspect of the modern employment system is that it’s difficult for an employee to switch jobs, while it’s pretty quick for the employer to “switch” employees. The main reason is that a company has a pool of replacements that it created upfront, and thus the employer can easily let almost any employee go.
As it was mentioned before, it is perfectly acceptable for the employer to keep interviewing new team members even when a team is partially formed. However, when an employee starts to openly look for a new job in advance, they will likely be blamed as “disloyal” or “jumpers.”
If your boss or HR manager found out that you were actively looking for new opportunities while still employed, that would certainly decrease your chances of getting promoted, and hinder your bonus and relationship in general.
The key difference between the employer and the employee is that the employer can and is looking for new employees in advance.
Colleagues or competitors?
Many companies use terms like “team” and “colleagues” while in fact they are forcing workers to be competitors. Today, top employers use various tools to maintain a high level of their workforce efficiency. Those tools include regular performance reviews, 360-degree feedback, bar-raising practices and ambitious goal setting. At the end of each performance review period, the bottom 5 to 10% of employees are identified as Low Performers and are put on some sort of Personal Improvement Plan (PIP), which can be formal or informal depending on the company. Many Low Performers are then let go in order to be replaced with more new hires, and the cycle continues on. At the same time, about 15% are classed as the Top Performers who get bonuses, RSUs and promotions. That puts constant pressure on employees and forces them to effectively compete with each other.
Source: anonymous employees forum.
"Pipping" - putting an employee on a Personal Improvement Plan, part of the firing process.
Liquidity: the ease with which an asset can be exchanged without incurring additional costs.
Top employers and especially big companies use various frameworks that aim to force workers to be rivals rather than colleagues, let alone friends. The reason is a constant push to increase revenue that can be achieved by increasing performance from company management and shareholders.
At the same time, every employee is only allowed to work for a single company at a time, and cannot easily switch jobs and use benefits of potential competition between employers. Speaking in business terminology, “liquidity” of the job market for an employee is very low, while for an employer it’s quite high.
Here’s what Karl Marx wrote in his Capital, Volume One, Chapter Thirty-One: Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist:
“With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged.”
Unlike companies, employees are often limited by an ethical code of conduct if they would like to build a successful long-term career in the industry. Let’s see what mechanisms exist to enforce that.
- Candidate: Please provide 3 references from past employees.
- Hiring Manager: Sure, will do... wait, what ??!
When an employee joins a company, he or she is usually asked to provide a list of reference letters from their past employers. However, imagine if an employee asked the same question to an employer and requested a list of references from their past employees. Sounds ridiculous, right? Unfortunately, that’s another aspect that contributes to an unequal employer-employee relationship. Of course, there are services like Glassdoor where workers publish their reviews of employers, and also semi-anonymous forums like Reddit where companies are discussed. But those tools do not provide reliable and objective information. That’s because employees have to sign NDAs and are afraid to reveal the truth in public.
Unfortunately, managers often abuse their power and exploit the need of employees to maintain good relationships with their employers at all cost. Many bosses harm and suppress their employees in various ways, knowing that the candidate has to be “nice” in order to get a recommendation in the future. At the same time, employees are often afraid to escalate or report any issues like offensive behavior, poor management, sink-or-swim/toxic culture or even discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Although it is advertised that managers should remain professional and avoid any kind of retaliation, in practice it’s very dangerous to complain about your manager to your skip level manager or HR representative. This factor makes it even more complicated to easily switch jobs when it’s already too late and the situation becomes critical at your current work.
The art of HR branding
In many cases, the real state of things in a company is hidden behind marketing materials and propaganda. Let’s take top tech employers FAANG as an example. In various internal training materials and on wall posters across the office, teams are posed as a happy family of tech enthusiasts who enjoy their work, have fun and are constantly innovating. In reality, the majority of workers work long hours and they are stressed dealing with legacy software and routine operations. This is very misleading to new hires who blindly trust the PR communications and are not prepared for the real state of things. Quite often, the competition creates a toxic culture which is covered by a mask of fake friendship and showy happiness in the workspace. Some people refer to this as a corporate jungle.
Lost income and missing opportunities
Temporary unemployment is painful for most employees. At the same time, most companies will survive even if several core workers leave. That’s another aspect that puts additional pressure on an employee. If you think that this is an exaggeration, just think about how you feel when in a one-to-one meeting with your manager or during a performance review. No one is perfect, and so most employees have a permanent fear of making mistakes. The reason is that they can be punished or forced to be vocally self-critical in front of their competing team-mates, effectively losing their authority and value. In most cases, making mistakes ultimately means earning less money.
At the same time, often it is the manager who decides which mistakes are serious and worth escalation and which ones can be omitted. In fact, the modern system keeps employees in constant stress and psychological dependency to their bosses and their colleagues. The reason is the fear of being fired or demoted, with minimal freedom of switching jobs, while big companies have a wide range of opportunities for hiring new workers.
When an employee is laid off or fired, it’s not just about lost revenue and missed opportunities. The real problem has a long-term impact due to the fact that the candidate has much weaker bargaining power when he or she is unemployed. When somebody urgently needs a job, they usually don’t have a good variety of offers to choose from because of the time pressure. While unemployed, a worker still has to pay their living costs every month while without a revenue. In most cases, that ruins the family budget and drains their savings (if any). Typically, after 3-4 months of unemployment, the candidate is forced to accept one of the first few job offers. Unfortunately, most likely the offer is far from being good in a strategic sense (i.e. routine duties, legacy technologies, lack of perspectives, bad management, long hours, etc.). That will have a negative impact on their whole career, and the worker will likely lose motivation or end up burnt out. Ultimately, they will find themselves in the very same situation again.
How to safely look for new opportunities while having a job
Imagine that in a parallel universe, the same candidate (let’s call him John) still has a job. However, he starts looking for new opportunities that pop up on the market in advance. Moreover, imagine also that in some miraculous way, this effort remains invisible from his current employer, and thus it doesn’t put his current job at a risk. Wouldn’t that be great?
Some of the new job proposals might not be super-interesting, so John simply discards them without spending too much time on them. However, it is important that John remains on top of his job search and knows the current market demands and trends. Because of that, let’s say after four or five months John finally receives a unique proposal: a great team, an innovative project, excellent growth opportunities, higher compensation and an acceptable work/life balance. That is worth refreshing his skills and jumping in the interview loop, isn’t it?
As a result, that kind of passive job search approach keeps John’s current job secure, but also allows John to find a real gem which will positively impact his career for years or even decades to come. But the question arises: how can a worker remain open to new opportunities while keeping their current job 100% safe and secure?
Solution: the anonymous job search
“Look for a new job without your boss knowing.” - Anthony Jones, founder of MIRAJOBS.com
In response to the above challenges, a group of enthusiasts founded Mirajobs, the 100% free, anonymous jobs marketplace, where every professional can publish their confidential profile. A typical job seeker’s profile contains a summary of their qualifications, years of experience, skills and expectations. It is important to make sure that no personally identifiable information is published, so that your current employer cannot find out that you are looking for a new job.
Recruiters then search and apply to job seekers. They describe the company and the vacant role. The nice part here is that it is the recruiter’s responsibility to “sell” the opportunity to the job seeker. Once the job seeker is interested, they reveal their contact information and get processed as usual. Otherwise, the job seeker rejects the invitation without revealing their identity.
The anonymous/passive job search turns the traditional process on its head and has the following benefits:
- Anonymity: your current employment is safe and secure.
- Bargaining power: you already have a job which gives you much stronger bargaining power in salary negotiations with a new employer. You are confident that you have a stable “backup” option and there is no time pressure.
- Overall attitude: this is the employer who applies, and you can refer to that during the whole interview loop (i.e. when you are asked silly questions like “Why have you applied to this position?”) :)
- Time and effort: a passive job search saves you time as there is no need to browse job listings regularly and send out your CV.
Broader opportunities: For professional and personal development, it’s always good to know what other technologies and opportunities exist on the job market.
Only an email address is needed to create a profile. Those who are obsessed with anonymity and would prefer 100% confidentiality can even register a separate email address and set up email forwarding to their main account. No name or other personal details are required.
It’s important to mention that, contrary to specialized anonymous job search services, traditional platforms like LinkedIn do not provide a good level of anonymity. Although enabling an #opentowork badge may only be visible to recruiters, chances are high that it will become known to your colleagues and leadership because this information is tailored to your public profile.
Getting back to the idea of unequal relationships between the employer and employee, difficulties of switching jobs and a lack of competition between employers from the perspective of employed workers, the motivation behind the creation of Mirajobs is the following:
To make the job market free and volatile, and to help talented professionals to grow careers safely and efficiently.
Bias for action
As it was mentioned before, when you get a new job... congratulations! But let’s be pragmatic and stay open to new opportunities until it becomes an urgent need. Remember, that’s exactly what employers do while constantly hiring new team members. Also, even if you were hired via Mirajobs, you can easily regenerate your profile.
Things to do on day one in a new company:
✅ Get a security badge, laptop, etc.
✅ Introduce yourself to the team
✅ Re-generate your profile(s) on anonymous job search platforms
The best solution is that an employee always remains open to new opportunities, starting from day one after accessing a new job offer. At the same time, it is important to keep the current job safe and secure (i.e. do look for a new job without your employer knowing).
No matter how great your manager, your team and your project seem to be, no good thing lasts forever, so it’s better to get insurance and use the anonymous job search.
Companies tend to change, organizations tend to restructure, and your new colleagues might not be as good as they seemed to be during the interview. The truth is, at any time you can receive an email that your great manager is now moving to another organization or even to another company, which will leave you in uncertainty and a need to prove yourself to a new boss from the very beginning. Also, mass layoffs caused by COVID-19 are still fresh in our memories, and nobody knows if and when the next wave will come.
To mitigate this risk, it is advised that you create your anonymous job seeker profile at Mirajobs.com or any other anonymous job search service before you urgently need a job and it becomes too late. Be prepared and act in advance.
Share this article with your friends if you believe that the idea of an anonymous job search could help them as well, and don’t forget to create your profile at Mirajobs. It’s free for job seekers, and always will be.
Read more in another article: Why Mirajobs.