I’m Comfortable, But… The Best Time To Apply For New Jobs


For the last four years, I’ve been very comfortable. There’s been some lifestyle creep, so don’t get me wrong. I’ve had to decide not to buy something once or twice, but overall things have been going well. Things are going well at work day-to-day, too. Having completed my MBA last year, I’ve been ready to take on new challenges here and there. For the most part, I think I’ve done a pretty good job on a lot of things. I’m also halfway through an MFA in Creative Writing program. I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been ready for something new for a while.

Not Desperate, But Interested

I recently found myself in that phase where I wasn’t exactly desperate for a change, but knew I wanted to do something more interesting. More useful. More something. The job I’ve had for the last four years has been in an IT department at a law firm. It almost always interesting. It’s work that I don’t mind doing. It got harder up to a point, but then the challenge dissipated. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with working a job that is easy if you really like it, but I wanted to see if I could put my education to better use. For the last six months or so, I perused some MBA-related job listings online and even applied for some internal positions. In addition to these interviews, and not-exactly-secretly-but-kind-of, I applied for some teaching positions in English and in secondary business in public schools.

One school offered me a teaching position and I took it. I gave my resignation at my current job a few weeks ago and I’m relocating to Indianapolis this summer.

How My Interviews Went

The first interview I did went pretty okay. I was confident and was able to carry the conversation well. I made it clear that teaching was something I’d been interested in since undergrad, but that I just found success in other things (creative writing, editing, etc) and, while I didn’t lose interest, I didn’t end up with a degree in education. I also made it clear that I wasn’t desperate or anything; I even said those exact words at some point between all the teaching-talk. Then I did another interview at another school. That interview did not go well. It was probably horrible. Then I did two other interviews at two other schools and those went about as good as the first interview. The last interview I did was the best. Then I got offered the position at the school from the first interview.

Why interviewing For New Jobs While You’re Comfortable In Your Current Role Is A Good Idea

First, I will say that I don’t work in Human Resources or as a recruiter. However, as I said earlier, I do have an MBA. I had to take a few classes in human resource management and had to gain at least a graduate level understanding of things like resume writing, interviewing skills, and hiring management. A lot of this came from mock interviews, resume writing, and scenario-based 10-page paper assignments. In addition to actually having the skills and experience to do an effective job, hiring mangers want candidates to be able to:

  • Not accidentally (or purposely) bad-mouth their current or any previous employer
  • Communicate their strengths and what they can bring to the table for the organization clearly and quickly
  • Have the same expectations of the pay-range that the hiring manager does
  • Be just a little bit humble

You know what makes all of this the easiest for the candidate? It’s when the candidate is comfortable in their current position. Of course this wouldn’t help those who aren’t currently employed or haven’t been employed in a long time. It also probably doesn’t apply to those who absolutely hate their current job, which does definitely happen. But, if you are comfortable right now and see a position that you’re not 100% sure about but think “maybe”, there’s nothing wrong with applying for it and even going through with the interview. Plus, you’ll get interview-practice.

So Anyway…

So, undergraduate-Eric dream job acquired. I start in the fall. I spent the weekend in Indianapolis and I’ve gotten approved for a few apartments in the Downtown area. I have a very tight moving window; I have to go to Portugal for an MFA program requirement for 3 weeks. Then, I think I have to start my new job at the school a few days after I get back. Yes, I’m very stressed. Also yes, I’m very excited to be going to Portugal for the summer. And also yes, I’m very excited to start teaching.

In conclusion, while you’re comfortable in your current role, apply to interesting jobs you’ve always wanted to but haven’t yet for some reason. Also, it’s apparently true that after 18-credit hours in an MFA program, you will just somehow magically evolve into a teacher and apparently there’s nothing you can do about it. Also, MBAs are expensive but they will probably help you become more confident in your interviews and in your blog posts about how to apply for jobs.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.

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