It is never easy to make the decision to leave a company and start anew. The decision leading up to leaving is difficult, but the hardest part is actually starting over. It is like the first day of High School. You show up at the school and while you may know someone or even have a good friend at your side, you still have to find your locker and your way to your home room. It is not that different when you start at a new job.
For me, I while I had a sense of complacency in my job and at my company, I was not seriously considering leaving. I had been focused on the task at hand, investing in my network, and writing for my blog. Though, I have always been a person who answers when somebody knocks on their door. Well, opportunity knocked and while I turned it down several times, it kept coming back. Eventually, I could not ignore it and I was forced to take stock of my current employment situation against my future goals.
I laid out my decision criteria as the following: What is my ultimate objective in my career and does this accelerate my path or not? Can I achieve this same objective at my current employer, if not why? Am I prepared to start over, rebuild my credibility and risk all that I have built at my current employer? Am I energized by my current opportunity, if not why? What about my new opportunity is most attractive? What is the worst that could go wrong in my new opportunity and can I survive it? Am I prepared for the change? What impact would this opportunity have on my family?
The questions went on and on. For me, as long as I am working in Corporate America, I will strive to be a part of an executive leadership team helping my company leverage technology to further its strategic goals and objectives. I view this culminating in a CIO role that will allow me to maximize my contributions to a company. With that in mind, I laid out three non-negotiable criteria:
- Be a direct report of the existing CIO, with commitment to provide the mentoring to achieve my ultimate goal
- Lead transformational technology projects for the business to drive the future state of the organization
- Have direct exposure to the Executive Leadership of the company, with the ability to influence how technology is leveraged to enable corporate goals and objectives
If any one of these were not able to be met, than I knew the opportunity was not the right one for me. First, I took a look at my current job and graded it in it’s ability to meet the above goals. Unfortunately, my current job did not meet the criteria I laid out. I mapped out at what point it may start to meet the above criteria and it was years away, making me uncomfortable that in the mean time complacency would settle within me and my drive would wane. The opportunity that was knocking on my door, eventually got a foot in as they were able to meet each of the criteria above.
120 days into my new gig and I am excited for what the future holds.
The day I walked into my bosses office to submit my resignation, I knew that it was the right thing for me to do. As hard it was to leave a boss that was loyal and supportive, to leave a team that I loved, and a company that had treated me very well, I knew the future opportunity allowed me to further myself towards my goals in a way that my current employer could not. For the first time in my career, I was also very realistic in what I was getting into. I knew the new job would have it’s baggage to deal with too. That the grass is not greener, just different and that I would have a distinct personal change curve to work through.
What I didn’t expect was that as prepared as I was to change jobs, I still struggled to get ahead of my own change curve. It was impossible to not judge the new company against my old company from the moment I walked in. My first day my new boss spent hours with me bringing me up to speed. My new co-workers had invited me to lunch and I had a computer, email access and a new badge. Regardless, the office was not as modern, my computer was not as modern, the company lacked some basic productivity tools and I was disorientated in my new surroundings. I went through the normal change curve experiences: Denial, Frustration, Letting Go, Curiosity and finally Commitment.
If you are considering a job change, be thoughtful about it. Layout why you want to consider changing jobs. What you expect to get out of the new opportunity and be realistic and open minded as you start the new opportunity. I still miss my old colleagues, including my boss. I miss many aspects of the company I worked for and the level of comfort I had there. Though, I am more excited about how I have grown in just 4 months time, the contributions and impact I am having in my new role and the future that lays ahead.