Nov 9, 2018Moving to a New Position
You have been at your first job since graduate school for several years. You have gained valuable field experience and created a network of individuals, including several mentors, who can help you progress along the way. While this current position satisfies your needs, you have a lingering desire to move on. Then you get word of the perfect opportunity, and the want to apply gets even stronger.
While the transition from one position to the next may be easy for some, there are several important steps that professionals should follow. Consider the following:
Plan for your departure and arrival
Make sure you give notice to your employer and co-workers of your departure. To help alleviate stress, make sure you remain organized and start planning the transition. Make a “to-do” list. Are there things you need to prepare or do before you leave your current place of employment? Does your new job require relocation?
When I moved from California to Michigan for my current position at Concordia University Ann Arbor, a lot of planning was required. I had to make sure everyone at my previous job was aware of my departure and train my replacement in the roles and responsibilities they would be taking over. The most stressful part of my transition was the move itself. Making sure everything had closure in California, finding a new home in Michigan, renting a moving van, and booking flights and hotels were all required for me to start my new position.
Start before you start
Even if you haven’t started your new position yet, it is still possible to start building a foundation for a very smooth transition. Get in touch with your new boss and see if there is anything you can begin working on before you start. Are there any important documents you can read and become familiar with? Human Resources might have paperwork you can fill out early to save time on your first day.
For me, transitioning from a clinical setting to full-time teaching, I was able to start working on syllabi and labs for classes before I moved. I also researched the area around my new home to get an idea of where things were. This actually helped me greatly when the moving van — along with my car — arrived a week late due to weather during the first week of school.
When starting a new job, building new relationships can be difficult. It can be even harder when you are an introvert and meeting new people is a challenge. Being friendly, asking questions, and introducing yourself to as many people as you can will help.
I, myself, am a bit of an introvert. When I first started at Concordia, I shared an office with our now Program Director for one semester before we moved into a new building. It helped me greatly to have someone who was hired at the same time as me to share an office with. I felt comfortable enough to talk to him about work-related issues, we could learn together about the dynamics of the university, and, most importantly, he was a huge support when our department had to deal with a disgruntled employee.
Identify star employees
Identify the star performers and learn what makes them successful in their roles or what they did to get to that position. Again, in my current position, my immediate supervisor has become someone who I look up to and strive to be like. While I am perfectly aware that I will never have a work ethic exactly like him, or be able to juggle as many tasks as he can, I can certainly try to improve each day and accept new challenges that will help me grow in my career. I can honestly say I wish he could have been my mentor earlier in my career, but I am lucky to work beside him now. I also have another co-worker who is very prominent in her field. I feel that when you have a team that works well together and has similar goals and work ethics, the department can run more efficiently and be successful.
Keep in touch with contacts
Lastly, it is important to keep in touch with your professional contacts/network. Reach out to those who helped you get your new position and let them know how things are. Succeeding in the field means not only doing well at your current location, but also in the profession at large.