Congratulations! You are moving to a new phase in your working life. Whether that’s taking on a role in a new industry, returning to work after a career break, starting to study part-time or something else, career transitions are never easy.
Here are our tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.
Transition 1: To A New Industry
Whoop! You’ve secured a job in a new industry. A career move like this can come with more responsibility and better pay, but it can also be daunting to start work in an area where you have none of the business context or industry knowledge.
It can be a challenge to get taken seriously when you have no sector knowledge. And you can feel foolish asking questions even the youngest graduate in the room rolls their eyes at hearing.
Overcome by: The good news is that those are the kind of things you can learn. It’s hard to squash five years experiences leading teams into a three-day training course, but if you want to learn the basics of what it means to be in accounting or IT in 2017 – that you can pick up quite quickly. Give yourself three to six months in the job, and you’ll find yourself speaking the lingo as if it is something you’ve known for years.
You might need to do some training. Even a basic course run by the professional body regulating your new industry will help you quickly understand the basic jargon and processes that govern your new working environment. This can be a huge clue into the culture of a new industry and the kind of people who work there.
Ask questions, be curious and remember that you were hired for what you can bring to this industry, so don’t let your lack of industry experience prevent you from doing the job you were recruited for.
Transition 2: Returning To Work
There are multiple challenges with returning to work after a career break. Whether that has been maternity leave, an extended break to look after young children or elderly parents, a period of unemployment or illness, or a year off traveling the world, coming back to work is often a hard transition.
For a start, you might be facing coming back to a job at a lower level than your previous position, where your colleagues and peers are recent graduates.
It’s difficult to mentally adjust to not doing whatever it was you were doing when you weren’t in work. You might worry about leaving the children behind, or find it hard not to daydream about Thai beaches when you should be preparing for a project board meeting.
Overcome by: Seeking a mentor. Many, many people have been in your shoes. It’s fantastic that you are ready to rejoin the workplace, and you should be shouting from the rooftops about your new job. You’ve got one, that’s a start. A mentor can help you quickly move through the ranks, if that is what you want.
Even if you aren’t worried about a fast-track career progression, it can still help to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to balance work and family commitments.
Transition 3: To Part-Time Work
You have a side hustle that you want to spend more time focusing on. Or your company is downsizing and part-time is the only option for you now. Or you want to reduce your hours so that you can be more present for your family or other commitments.
Whatever the reason, more and more people are choosing (or finding themselves in) part-time positions. These can work really well for individuals and also for employers.
However, the switch from full-time to part-time work isn’t an easy one. You can find yourself trying to do your full-time hours in a part-time week (and only being paid for the part-time work). You might feel guilty at having to decline meetings on days that you aren’t working. It’s hard to mentally switch off and leave your phone behind when you know there are colleagues who are relying on you.
Overcome by: Financial planning can be a huge weight on your mind when making the decision to go part-time. If you are secure in your finances and know that you can afford to cut your hours, you’ll feel a lot happier at making the transition. Doing your budget will also help you know what you have available as disposable income which should help you avoid spending your non-working days shopping online for designer goods!
The other thing to watch for here is the guilt that comes with not putting in the same hours as your peers. Stop feeling guilty – that might take some mental readjustment but remember you are doing the job you are paid for, and probably a bit more on top, so there really is no reason to feel torn when asking someone to reschedule a meeting for one of your working days.
Transition 4: To A New Location
Project management is a hugely portable skill, and one of the challenges many professionals face is being offered a fantastic job in another location. Moving cities is a big upheaval. Is it really going to be worth it for the work? How will you make new friends? Will you stay in touch with colleagues you are leaving behind?
Regardless of the platitudes, they write in your Good Luck card; the chances are that you won’t stay firm friends with the majority of people you are leaving behind so the pressure is on to make a new life for yourself where you settle next.
Overcome by: Leverage your network. You might already know people in the new location. You already have the networking skills that have helped you land this new position, so put them to good use building positive working relationships with people in your new location. And do stay in touch with past colleagues as you never know when your paths might cross again. LinkedIn is good for this, so ask to join their networks as soon as you know you are going.
A professional staffing company can help you navigate the challenges of finding a new role, whatever stage you are at in your life or career. Get in touch and let us help you find your next career move.