Steps to a Smooth Job Change


Ch-ch-ch-ch CHANGES . . .
Turn and face the strange, changes . . . ,” croons David Bowie in his hit song titled the same.


The average person will make this change 9 or more times in their lifetime.

It can be a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood or even a change of life passage as we grow older.  It can be an integral part of a mid-life crisis as well.

A favorite author/artist of mine, SARK, claims to have made this transition 250 times – admittedly, much more than many of us.


>>How many times have you started a new job?<<


You might be:

–moving from our current field into another,

–transitioning into a fun ‘retirement job’ out of our long-standing career positions,

–or just starting fresh and new into the world of work

Regardless of the details, there are several steps we should take to navigate our ch-ch-ch-change from old to new work as smoothly as possible.

Steps to a Smooth Job Change:

  1. Say goodbye to the old, then don’t look back

  2. Take time for a little R & R; and

  3. Ease into the new, with confidence


#1 – Closure:  “Ride the horse in the direction that it’s going.” –Werner Erhard

Whether you’re leaving an old position, or your former life as a student, homemaker, or coming out of retirement, any time you are reentering the workforce, take time to review your last situation with awareness.  Make note of: what you liked, what you didn’t like, what you will miss, and what you will not.

Face the change squarely, acknowledge the changes you dread, and also find things to look forward to. Don’t hold on to what is quickly becoming the past.

Prepare instead, for your future by preparing for perfect closure.

–Make notes about what you learned in that scenario, what you gained, and what you’re looking forward to now.

–Be sure to include your accomplishments and major projects you completed in the last stage, as they will probably help you update (or create) your resume for your next step.

If you are leaving a current job regardless of the reason, (new job, lay off, dowsized, etc.), leave with class:

–Tie up loose ends and leave instructions for the co-workers or new hire taking over your duties.  Being responsible and professional up to the end will always feel better, and be better in the long run.

–Make sure you let clients, key customers, and other departments know you are leaving, and who they can contact in the future.

Leave consciously:  doing all of these things helps you make peace with your transition in any circumstance, and brings a healthy sense of closure to your experience.

On your last day, look around and acknowledge that place, those people, that role in your life, and appreciate all you learned there.  Be mindful, and say goodbye with intention, as you might to a fond friend or acquaintance in a far off place you know you’ll likely never see again.  When you walk away, don’t look back. Then you are ready for stage two.


#2 – Rejuvenate:  “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” –Leonardo Da Vinci

Make sure you take at least a long weekend, if not more time in between one major post in life and another.  Allowing down time in between jobs, school and job, or even semi-retirement and jobs is an important part of preparation for the rest of the transition into the new.

Literal time and space clears your mind, mends your heart, and rests your body to aid you in creating a clean slate, fresh start for that new position.

Take some time to make a ‘wish list’ of your perfect job – the ideal work environment, perks, co-workers, boss, as well as the goals you have for yourself in this new venture, the skills you’d like to sharpen, etc.

Getting clear on where you’re headed will help you get there faster.


#3 – In the Beginning:  ““Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” –John Wayne

As you begin your new position, it’s always prudent, at least in the first weeks and maybe months, to practice listening, observing, and learning all you can. 

Read up, ask pertinent, well informed questions. Make sure you do the little things like: being on time for work, meetings, break times, as well as leaving your work space neat and doing quality work.

These are all ways to start making a good impression without stepping on any toes.

Also, remind yourself of your strengths to help boost your confidence during the challenges of adjusting to a new environment.

Take things slow, focus on building relationships, and know there will be time to shine once you’ve been accepted and assimilated into the new team.

Wrap up:

No matter how many times you’ve made a job change (even if it’s 250 or more!), there’s always a learning curve.  Allow for that.

A stumble often avoids a fall, the best way out is always through.  Accept the change, take a breath, and celebrate!

A brand new door awaits your passage….


Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.” – JRR Tolkein


PS:  I offer two e-guides to help you discover a new career direction and make a job change:

Career Clarity Guide 

THIS IS FOR YOU IF: You know you want a better job, but you don’t know exactly WHAT that would look like – yet!

       — Reinvent Your Resume

Once you are clear on your new career direction, the next step is to rework your resume to sell yourself for it. This guides shows you how!

THIS IS FOR YOU IF: You are a career changer that is puzzled about how to re-target your resume!