What is in this article?:
- How To Make a Career Transition
- Quick Wins & Team Building
Change is good is a phrase that stuck with me as an undergraduate taking a class in Management Principles. It was also the subject of a final e-mail to my team at the University of Akron before I left to become the senior director of dining services at The Ohio State University.
I'd had a 15 year career at UA, and a good position as its foodservice director, but OSU has a special place in the minds of anyone who lives in Ohio. (Contrary to popular belief, that's not only because of football. It has to do with OSU's traditions and the impact it has had on people throughout the state.) In many ways, the new role was my “dream job;” it was also a much bigger one that would bring plenty of challenge.
The transition begins immediately (and in my experience, it remains ongoing even after two years in a new position). I knew from the minute I received “the call” that I wanted to take the post at OSU. However, I also knew the power of inclusive decision making. Thus, I reached out to my wife, my dad, and a few others who had a significant, positive impact on my life.
An important lesson during this stage is that no one is going to tell you what to do. The decision has to be yours. Even your closest of friends will hesitate to give you their opinions.
Perhaps it is a bit unfair to expect them to. However, friends and family can be a great resource to help you evaluate the options. As you will have significant (and conflicting) emotional reactions to the pros and cons of such a decision, friends and family can sometimes help you step outside of that emotion and bring more logic to bear.
Once a decision is final, negotiations are complete and you've signed on the dotted line, another phase of transition begins.
There is never a good time to break the news that you are moving on. It is almost always difficult and emotional—after all, you’ve probably spent countless hours with the teammates you are now about to leave.
The other thing to keep in mind is that no matter how excited you are about your new opportunity, humility goes a very long way during these moments. No matter how excited your team is for you, there is always a sense that you are abandoning them.
It’s also worth noting that, once the announcement is made, your current team and management will move on more quickly than you expect. Don’t be surprised if they start making decisions without your input or leaving you out of discussions in which you normally are involved. That’s natural.
Once you actually leave your old position, it is worth having some private time to reflect on your personal transition, which can be very valuable. I started my new job the day after I left my earlier one. It was great to get started, but there was little time to reflect.
Once your old role is behind you, if at all possible, reserve a few days to reflect upon your approach to the new one. Once you start, your time will be consumed; your approach should be pre-established.