Choosing to make a job transition can be extremely stressful, however there are ways to drastically reduce the stress you experience. In most cases, stress is heightened due to the expectation of the unknown.
Gone are the days of working for a company for 30+ years to retire and receive a pension. This is simply due to the nature of the job market today. When you decide that it is time to further your career, you find yourself at a crossroad.
You have to decide if you would like to attempt to do so with your current employer, or if you will have to do so with a new employer. The sad truth is that is in most cases, you will have to leave the company.
If you can’t change your company, then it’s time to change your company
There is a wrong and a right way to handle leaving your current job – as well as on boarding with the new gig. The obvious wrong way to leave current job is to leave your current projects and responsibilities in limbo.
Meaning, not tying up loose ends and ensuring that the objectives you were responsible for will continue to progress after you move on to your next employer. This would be a HUGE mistake.
Never, Never, Never, Never Burn Bridges
You should never leave a job and burn bridges in the process. This will ultimately have a negative impact on your personal brand, which can come around and bite you later in your career. You never know how or when you may cross paths with one of your peers in the future.
Would you want to work with or hire someone that left you with the drudgery tasks of completing his or her unfinished project that was a headache to drive across the finish line – I think not.
That is something you have to be mindful of during your transition. So, the obvious – well it should be obvious, way to leave your current position is to leave your projects completed or transitioned appropriately.
This can be done with minimal planning, but simply having a plan in this case, will have more of a positive impact on your personal brand than you may think.
By completing any outstanding tasks and transitioning others that cannot be completed before your departure, you will leave a positive impression on your boss and peers with minimal effort on your part. Remember that whole karma thing – you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of it.
Your 90 Day Plan and It’s Benefits
What is a 90 day plan? The idea is that you create an action plan that you will execute within the first 90 days of your new job, including making sure that you leave your current job the right way – a little planning will go a long way.
Here are the key objectives and tasks that should be completed in each phase of your 90 day plan:
Pre-Nighty Days: Create a list of your current projects and responsibilities. Identify the tasks you are able to complete before your last day, as well as the tasks and projects you will transition. Get agreement from your boss to ensure you both are on the same page.
This will ensure that expectations are established regarding what you are responsible for completing as your tenure comes to an end – this way there will be no surprises. Now it’s up to you to deliver and leave a positive final impression.
- Create a list of projects and tasks to complete vs. transition
- Meet with boss and agree on what done looks like for the items on your list
- Complete and transition all tasks and projects on your list
Days 1 through 30: It’s now the first day of your new job. You should focus on learning as much as you can about the company, it’s industry, products, services, competition, organizational structure, your role, etc. This will require you to ask a ton of questions and capture the information as you execute your plan.
- Meet and greet with new team members – take notes
- Ask questions to get an understanding of internal and external customers
- Perform a company SWOT Analysis
- Schedule meeting with your boss to get clear on expectations (your role, company goals, future of company)
- Perform analysis of the company’s product and service offerings
- Identify company communication preferences
- Get an understanding of the company culture
Days 31 through 60: By this time, you have a better understanding of what the company does. Now it’s time to start transitioning from the learning and observing phase, to more of a contributing phase. It’s time to identify where you can potentially start adding value.
- Redefine your role (if necessary)
- Map out solo and team projects that you are aware of and their impact to the company
- Get a few personal wins
- Evaluate how others in company perceive you
- Identify leadership/volunteer opportunities to be filed (maybe even by you =])
Days 61 through 90: Now you have 60 days under your belt. It’s time to get clear on the future strategy of the company and how you fit into the big picture. It’s time to really start adding some series value.
- Identify improvements that you can champion for the company
- Access skill gaps within the company and compare to your skills – (hit the books if necessary)
- Meet with your boss for an informal review & feedback
- Identify how you can contribute to the company culture
- Keep a running log of your accomplishments (this will come in handy come annual review time)
Post-Ninety Days: You have crossed the finish line and your 90 day plan is complete. There are a few other tasks that you will need to keep in mind. Some of these tasks could have been done earlier in the process, so feel free to do them sooner – when it make sense to do so. However, make sure you don’t overload yourself and become distracted from the primary tasks for each phase of your plan.
- Follow up on your old job and renew relationships
- Be sure to connect with old and new peers on LinkedIn
- Meet with yourself once a week to review your progress
- Meet on a regular basis with your boss to check in and level set on expectations (ex: 1x/month or 1x/quarter)
- Identify internal and external networking events to attend
Final Thoughts: Things to Remember
I want to leave you with a few things to remember as you implement each phase of 90 day plan.
It is vital that you ALWAYS remember that you are CEO of Me, Inc.
This means, that you have to take responsibility for the outcome of your career – both good and bad.
It’s highly likely that each job transition will come with a unique set of challenges. The good news is that now you will have a plan to help you navigate through the unknown and will allow you to put your best foot forward.
Please, please, please resist the urge to make changes on day one
Utilize your calendar and task reminders to follow through on your 90 day plan
Meet with yourself once a week to review your progress
Always pursue ways to sharper your skills and continue personal development
The reality is that job transitions are stressful, but I hope that that you feel better about the transtition process now that you have a plan. Execute your plan and work to the best of your ability and I’m sure you will do just fine in your new role
Please share your experiences in the comments below and I’ll see you on the web.