Over at Ripples, David has a great post about career management. My favorite quote from that post:
You cannot waste your working life waiting for your boss to become an enlightened manager.
David also notes that…
When you are at the beginning of your career curve, you must be willing
to look for another job as soon as you feel that your career progress
is being blocked. Just as your company considers you expendable, you
must treat your employer as expendable. If you are not being given
assignments that challenge you and not being rewarded for your efforts
– get out of there and get a job that does both.
I agree, and I take the ‘ronin‘ mindset even further. Maybe it’s because, relatively speaking, I’m at the beginning of my career curve, or maybe I’m misreading David’s post, but I think we ought to have our finger on the pulse of our respective job markets all the time. Paying attention to what’s out there–and what it’s worth–is a requirement for any worker, irrespective of their location on the career curve. As David implies, the earlier on the curve you are, the more likely you’ll be easily employed elsewhere (if that’s what you want/need), but why wait to learn your job market?
I say, keep a relaxed eye on the various industry associations, listservs, job boards, etc that comprise the bulk of your job market’s "help wanted" channels. Don’t be bashful about having casual conversations with peers at conferences or trade shows about the employment outlook at their organizations. Find out what their plans are and why they’re making them.
Always understand the value of your work, both at your organization and elsewhere.