When I have sensed a need for a change in my work I have made moves that have resulted in HARD landings and others that have resulted in SOFT landings! I like the soft landings better. I found out that hard landings are overated!! Hard landings are the ones where you:
- react rashly and quit without having a solid plan in place
- scramble for any type of work without considering what you are designed for and what you enjoy
- end up in a similar or worse work situation
No job lasts forever, so when it is time to move on it is helpful to think through carefully how and when you will exit. The way that we exit says a lot about our maturity level and our preparedness for the next level of opportunity. Even when you are leaving the worst job imaginable, it is still possible to do so with dignity, composure and a sure-fire plan of action.
When you need to make a vocational change or a vocational upgrade, be sure that you transition well by being sure to:
Build Your Ramp. Once when I was realizing that my work context was not good for me I went to a man of God for advice. He said to me with prophetic insight, “Build your ramp!” There is a lifetime worth of wisdom in those words. Essentially he was telling me not to make a hasty move now that I had realized a change needed to be made. He was telling me not to be reactionary, but to take a planned approach to the transition. As a result of his advice I made plans to move on, but not before I took months to carefully prepare (in evenings and on days off while I was in my former employment) so that I had a soft landing. Each week I took a number of steps that prepared me to launch higher and further off of my ramp. I took time to understand my giftings and callings so that I landed in work that was closer to my sweet spot rather than further from it. The steps I took included networking, skill development and education, building strategic partnerships, considering how my skill set may be employed in innovative ways, planning out the first year of our new venture with my wife, etc.
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” (Prov. 21:5)
Consider Your Timing. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). Often people leave a job prematurely before they have gleaned everything they could have gleaned. On the other hand, it is possible to stay longer than you should in an unhealthy situation. This requires counsel. If and when you feel it is time to transition out of your current role it is crucial that you surround yourself with people whose counsel you trust implicitly and ask them to speak into your life.
“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” (Prov. 11:14)
Maintain Peace. It is normal to hit points of frustration in your work life, and there are times that you need to move on to something that is a better fit for you. However, far too often people take shots at the organization, or the people they were working with (read the boss), as they are on their way out the door. In our thirst for vengeance we burn the bridge and close the door to relationships and opportunities with those people. This is shooting yourself in the foot! Remember that you may need a reference from that company. You do not want to brand yourself as a malcontent. Additionally, some people end up wanting to return to the organization at a later date. You do not want that to be an awkward conversation. Even if there were outstanding issues or concerns, be sure that you exit with grace and take the high road.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Rom 12:18 emphasis mine)
I have learned the hard way about how to transition well. You either learn through WISDOM or EXPERIENCE. I want to help you learn through wisdom so that you land softer!
God has GOOD plans for you and a way for you to land SOFT!
If you feel it is time for transition in your career tap into the wisdom around you and let us know if vocational coaching would serve you at robparkman [at] live [dot] ca.
Question: Have you discovered any other tips for making a soft landing when switching jobs or careers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.