My colleague Mirka from Prague has written what job search and interviews have in common. And indeed career management and love work – or don’t work – for the same reasons. Or not?

Let us break down the different phases of a relationship, ugh, I mean your job:

  1. First love: The first weeks in the new company. You have high expectations and feel highly energized. It is so much better here than with your previous employer! Love is blind!
  2. Reality sets it: First After 3-10 weeks, you wake up. Mmmhh, not everything is better here, actually some things were even better where you come from…
  3. Learning to getting along with each other: Survive phase 2 in the new job and during your first year, you will constantly increase your performance and become a proven team member. Like in your relationship!
  4. Routine sets in: In year 2, you will get solid results. You have mastered “good and bad times”. By now, you have understood almost all aspects of your job and you perform without much guidance or hesitation.
  5. Maturation: As of year 3, you will stabilize at a high level. You are able to manage all dimensions of your job, have created a reputation as well as a solid internal and external network. You have achieved the peak of your career in this company, your personal top performance. This phase can last several years though research shows that it is mostly not more than 5 years.
  6. Still in love? At one point of time, your motivation will decrease, you will get first doubts about your firm’s strategy or you disagree more and more with your boss. You are not as committed as you used to be. You begin thinking about a job change.
  7. The end of love: You feel deeply demotivated, you are tired when getting up in the morning. Maybe you talk bad about your boss or with customers or suppliers. Small things stress you. People notice something is wrong with you. Your demotivation has a negative impact on your private life and your health. You feel worn out.


When you have reached phase 6, it is getting complicated and you should recover fast. Or leave fast. Find love again – here or elsewhere. Why did you fall in love in the first place? What did you see in the other that you do not see anymore? How can you find that again? But also: What did YOU do differently and how has YOUR behavior changed? Remember: “ask not what your lover or employer can do for you. Ask what you can do for your lover or employer!”

May your love always stay in phase 5. Happy Saint Valentine!


PS: My original post has appeared on Forbes. It did not make it to the top 10 for two consecutive days. Seven Things A Headhunter Won’ Tell You!