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Changing Jobs? 4 Tips to a Healthy Start

It is Stacy’s last week. She is starting a new job next Monday and she is struggling. “I have only a week to go and I find myself very emotional,” said Stacy. “I am angry at one moment and grateful the next. Do you have any tips for me?”

Switching jobs and companies--is a big change. Some clients liken it to a grieving process. A job change represents an end--yes to the work, but more significantly to relationships. Too often, we do not pay honor to this transition. We jump straight into the start of a new job without managing this big transition.

If you are changing jobs and want to close this chapter in your life in a healthy manner, here are 4 key steps I recommend you follow:

1. Remember the beginning and middle

Stacey shares her start. It is her first job out of residency. She joined because she loved the mission and believed in the CEO. She recalls when she became a leader and how her team grew from three to 6 direct reports. She remembers her first very difficult patient. Then her first very difficult employee. She becomes quiet and says, “I’ve grown-up here. It has been an incredible experience.” This process grounds her. It roots her to the present and helps her prepare for tomorrow. Rewind. Start at the beginning. Remember how it began and bring it forward to today. Use these questions to help you.

  • How did you hear about the open position?

  • How were your first days?

  • Who was the first person you met?

  • What were the good times, the funny moment and the big events?

2. Sit in the emotion of leaving

I think we think we should always be up. Like a sine wave, we think we must hover above the axis and stay in the positive. But that is not life. Our emotional wave goes up and down, sometimes very high and very low. It is in the moments of the ups and the downs that we experience the fullness of life. Take a moment and sit in the emotion of leaving and experience the enormity of this change.

  • Who will you miss?

  • Who has made a positive impact in your work?

  • What will you miss?

  • Who will you stay connected with beyond the job?

  • What pieces of work are you most proud of?

3. List the lessons

Stacey’s biggest negative situation was one of her employees. Stacey hired this employee and took her under her wing. Yet once Stacey started to address performance issues, this employee began to undermine Stacey’s authority. This employee worked very hard to discredit Stacey’s work and challenge her authority. It became a strained relationship. Yet, even today, Stacey will tick off important lessons that she will take with her to her new role. All jobs teach us something. Take a moment to list the lessons that you will take with you.

  • What part of the experience are you most grateful?

  • What did you learn?

  • What area of your life did you expand and grow?

  • What did you learn that helps you today?

4. Look forward to what is next

The previous steps will help you bring closure to this part of your life. Now swing your attention to the future and find yourself excited to what your new job may bring.

  • What are you looking forward to?

  • Where do you think you can make an immediate impact?

  • What are you intentions for your first day? Your first week?

We’ve all changed jobs at least once in our careers. In some cases, several times. If you are changing jobs and find yourself in an emotional spot like Stacy, avoid jumping too quickly to the next role. Take the time to sit and reflect to honor the past and pave the way for a healthy beginning to the next chapter in your career.

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