Think back to the last time that you left a previous employer to take a new job. Something that probably won't appear in the rearview mirror of memory is big splashy news headlines announcing your decision to the world. You probably didn't turn on the television and find fired-up newscasters weighing the merits of your decision, or possibly running you down for turning your back on your former employer. Most of us don't become fodder for an energetic national discussion after making a decision to finally stop working for Company A and go find out what it's like to be employed at Company B.
All of that and more rained down on the head of NBA demigod Kevin Durant last week after he decided to jump from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors. A former MVP and one of the four or five best players currently treading the hardwood floors of America's 30 NBA arenas, Durant's decision was heatedly anticipated for months before it happened, and will probably be a hot topic for months still to come. Our sports passions are often deep and complicated, and woe to the high-profile NBA employee who dares to shake things up by exercising his simple right to pick a new workplace.
In a sense, however, each of us who goes to work each day is comparable to a high-profile NBA free agent. We may not be like the father in that old Sprint commercial who literally turns into Kevin Durant after watching too much NBA action on his smartphone. But we all have the opportunity — with far fewer restrictions, frankly, than NBA players face — to decide that we've worked at one place long enough and look for a better opportunity. It's like the eminent philosopher John Cougar Mellencamp once observed: Ain't that America? Home of the free, yeah.
Free agency is even sometimes thrust upon us, whether we're looking for it or not. Whether your next free agency is thrust upon you, then, or is a matter of your own choosing, one thing you can do to prepare to hit the open market is add certifications to your résumé. A solid IT certification is like a letter of reference that you don't even have to ask your employer to write. It certifies that you have special skills. And in today's job market, those skills are in demand just about everywhere you turn. So get certified today, and you'll be ready the next time that free agency comes calling.