I’m at my office-Starbucks. It is only my office for a few more days.
I will miss the smell of coffee wafting through the air consistently. I will miss the background white noise of people talking and keyboards clicking. I will miss my Grande Blonde Roast 1% Misto. Girly coffee, I know.
But I am very excited to start my new job as Director of Immigration Legal Services Technical Unit at World Relief. I’ve cleaned up my desktop, gotten a few new apps, and assessed my wardrobe. I hope to blog more about the amazing work World Relief does within the realm of immigration services as well as in other areas, as it works daily to stand for the vulnerable.
But right now, I’m saying goodbye to the old office and getting ready for the new one. It made me think, what should we do as we prepare for job transitions? Here is my off-the-cuff list:
1. Review the prior year. What did you learn? What mistakes did you make that you want to learn from as you enter a new career opportunity?
I was unemployed for a short time and then self employed as a consultant during the last year. I learned to conquer fear (if you would have asked me to try self-employment before, I would have said no way). Go me!
I also learned that organizations are organizations, and they all have their issues. I learned not to idealize organizations that have awesome mission statements. People are people, and I’m a part of the problem. The non-rhetorical question for me is, how will I leverage my new opportunity to improve on the human condition of always being, to some degree, part of the problem.
2. Review your wardrobe. Sounds obvious, but it didn’t occur to me until just a few days ago. My career path has been a bit wacky-law firm attorney to church employee to self-employed Starbucks squatter. That means I have some suits (all but one too small or outdated) to sorta business casual to jeans (the dress code at my squatting location). I will need a few suits (which means at some point, buying another), and a consistent wardrobe of business casual. I am no fashion maven to say the least. But I can dress professionally and in line with the organizational culture. And don’t forget to take a look at your shoes. I realized I have a lot of summer work shoes but need to get some fall and winter shoes to round out the closet.
3. Review your family obligations. Things are going to change when you are no longer as able to run errands, pick up kids or leave your Starbucks-located job early to see a soccer game. This is one that I also started to think about a bit later than I should have. I have a mother and grandmother nearby in hospice care, a high school freshman with after school activities, and a husband who works a nurse’s hours, which means 12 hour shifts. I need to have some conversations to make sure I have my obligations covered and I have carved out time for my family as I enter the new job information overload that is inevitable.
4. Last, get excited. After reviewing the three topics above, you might feel overwhelmed (I do). Don’t forget why you are making the change. Think about why you accepted the new opportunity and let that excitement ground you so that you can deal with the new logistics ahead of you. What is your new organization’s mission statement? If it compelled you when you first saw it, remember it when you are stressed about not having the wardrobe fully in place or worrying about how you will handle your kids’ after school activities.
Me? I’m excited to Stand for the Vulnerable.
What have I missed that is important in job transitions?