How to Successfully Navigate a Job Change

OldStreetbarnIt’s no secret that people get antsy in their current jobs, whether that is for the feeling of mastering what they do on a daily basis, the quest for a challenge, realizing that they don’t like what they do, a lack of work-life balance, or numerous other reasons. The next question is what to do about it. The way I see it, you have three choices. You can either a) harbor silent frustration while your productivity declines, b) become stagnant and complacent  and fail to push yourself, or c) move on. After personally experiencing all three options, I would hands down say that the third is certainly the hardest. With first hand experience of going through a job change not once, but twice this year, I’ve gained some wisdom to make the transition as seamless as possible. In no particular order, some of my most recent (and harder) life lessons…

  • Talk to your supervisor. This might seem like something strange to say, but try to get to know your supervisor. As mentioned in a previous posting, they hired you for a reason, and must already like you a little bit, and let’s be honest, they play a huge role in your future employment. I am not saying to be fake or insincere, but the last thing you would want their recommendation to be is ” so and so is a great worker, but doesn’t make connections”, so make an honest effort to speak with them and learn about how they got to where they are. You never know, they might have some pearls of wisdom to share without you learning it the hard way.
  • Be transparent. If you have the option, be upfront with your supervisor about your desire to move on. It is a scary conversation to have, but if you were in their shoes, you would not want to be blind-sided by a resignation letter. Put on your grownup pants, ask for a sit down, and express where you’d like to see your career head. It’s much easier to hide and job search on the sly, but if you are out in the open about what your intentions are, you supervisor can be helpful in looking for better fits for you or giving guidance about the skills they see in you and where your next move might be. If the worse case scenario comes along where your supervisor doesn’t support your decision, at least they can know to prepare for any recommendation calls that might be coming in or to begin finalizing your employment files.
  • Know where you want to be. I have been in the position of being so bleeping miserable in your job that you think anything would be better than where you are currently. My advice: cut it out because it is absolutely not true. It may seem that your job is the worst thing ever, but keep in mind- you’re employed (which is more than many can say) and it’s only a job. You have a whole other part of your life to focus on, and when you lose sight of that, that’s when your world starts really crumbling. Don’t apply to anything that comes along, be deliberate. The worst thing you can do is to be caught off guard in an interview when they ask why you applied and the best answer you have is “because you had an opening”. A panicked and desperate tone in your voice doesn’t often result in a follow up phone call or offer. Research companies that you would want to work for and check frequently for opportunities. Find a location that you’d be happy living in also, and become part of the community.
  • Don’t check out early. Once you have secured a new position, try to refrain from losing all pride in what you have been doing. Do your best work up until the last day, no matter how tempting it might be to slack off. Your supervisor will appreciate it, and so will your co-workers, who will most likely need to pick up where you left off. Checking out early leads to burning bridges, which is not something that anyone strives for.
  • Be gracious. If your supervisor or co-worker has helped you out, thank them. If you are being praised for the work you’ve done, keep your mouth closed and accept the praise. Be sure to acknowledge anyone who helped you get to your new role, while realizing that they are busy too, and didn’t need to go the extra mile to help you move on. Lastly, regardless of your relationship, say goodbye to everyone in the office, including your supervisors.
  • Keep in touch. It’s not just for yearbook signing, kids. When you leave a group of people that you inevitably spend more time per week with than your own family, you develop bonds and friendships that take effort after you are no longer in the same place. If these friendships are valuable to you, make a conscious effort to check in and maintain the relationship. If continued friendship is not a priority, at least check in once in a while for networking purposes. You never know who knows someone you will want to know in the future.

These have all served me well over the past few months, as I have been in the process of changing jobs. While my first job in the company I work for was not the best fit for me, it was a great foot in the door, and with the encouragement of my supervisor through months of conversations, I have found (and secured) a better fit “in house”. As an added bonus, I get to stay in New Hampshire, which was a huge goal for me, as we are starting to build  a life here. There is a degree of relocation involved,and as a result, I will no longer be living in the Monadnock Region, but have no fear, my replacement blogger from the Region is launching soon! Thank you for reading along with me, and keep representing the Granite State!

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