Job changes are nerve-wracking. New coworkers, new office, new company—new everything. While the unfamiliarity of a switch is daunting, don’t let the uncertainty of the future hold you back from making smart career decisions.
From 1984 to 2017, Dave was an IT Project Manager/Executive at Xerox Corporation. It was the first company he worked for after college, and he thought it would be the last. However, early last year he started to realize that Xerox might not be the best fit for him. As it turns out, the company was offering an early retirement package, and he was eligible.
While he was desperate for a change, he knew packing up his office and turning in his laptop wouldn’t be easy for him. After all, the company had been a part of his life for 33 years, and he felt like he owed it to Xerox to finish his career there. Was his emotional attachment to Xerox more important than his desire for something new? No, for in the end it was his life, his career, and his decision to make. He accepted the retirement package, said goodbye to his colleagues, and didn’t look back.
But, Dave wasn’t really looking to retire for good. He wanted a job change not a career end. Spoiler alert—he found a new position at a new company that he loves. It took him a few months, but he finally found a position in which he is happy.
Change is refreshing, exciting and rewarding.
Know Your Own Financial Position
Before you begin searching for a new job, understand your financial position first. While a job change can be liberating, it might not be the best financial fit for some. We suggest you recognize all the possible outcomes and be prepared for any one of them to happen.
When you decide to retire or quit, you run the risk of never working again. Ask yourself, “Can I handle that possibility?” Or,you might find a job that pays even more than your last. Regardless, recognize how far your current savings can go before making any drastic decisions.
Take Advantage of Your Time
Once you say goodbye to your old job, you will find that you have a lot of time on your hands. Use this time to do things that you couldn’t do while you were working. Whether it be traveling, relaxing, or finding a new hobby, do what makes you happy.
Dave took a few weeks off to visit new places and watch his fair share of Shameless on Netflix. After, he decided to occupy his time with things that would benefit his job hunt. He attended seminars offered by the University of Rochester, his alma mater. He talked to people he hadn’t spoke to in years and relearned the interview process. After all, it’d been over three decades since he had been in this position.
Take Inventory Of Your Professional Career
Once you take a few weeks to yourself, it’s time to get back to reality. Chances are that if you’ve been working for over 30 years, you must have some valuable skills. Once you make the decision to leave your current position, take time to reflect on your talents and your flaws. What have you learned over the years that you can apply to a new position?
Reflect on your last employer. What did you like about the company? What didn’t you like? Take these positives and negatives into consideration when you search for a new employer. Doing so will help you recognize what makes you happy in a workplace and will guide your job search.
Now is also time to update your resume. You may notice that you are older than some of your competitors for the job. Since my dad was searching in the technology field, he was competing with the digitally savvy iGeneration. The one thing his younger counterparts didn’t have on him was experience. Thirty years of work is valuable, so use this to your advantage and make sure it is highlighted in both your resume and during your interview.
Network, Network, Network
Remember those people that left your company over the years and found work somewhere else? It’s time to call them and say hello. You never know, they might be looking to hire someone with your exact skills. That’s how Dave started his search. He was one of the final two candidates for two separate positions that he discovered through former colleagues. While he didn’t ended up receiving either of the roles, he still benefited from the process. Those positions were the first jobs he applied for after he left Xerox and the first interviews he sat through in years.
Use LinkedIn to your advantage and connect with some old friends. The professional social media site is also a great place to learn about new jobs, so consider starting your search there.
After a few months of planning, researching, networking and interviewing, Dave is now a Project Manager Scrum Master at Paychex, a national payroll and human resources provider. Before Paychex, he was always worried about his job. His work would follow him wherever he went, even on family vacations. Now, he is free of his worries and when he leaves his desk, he leaves his work too.
Don’t be afraid to find something new. Even if you’ve been retired for a few years, don’t be afraid to “unretire” too. According to Chris Farrell in his book Unretirement, “unretirement is a realistic option for many professionals,” so don’t disregard the thought if you think it might be the right move for you. The world holds so much opportunity and you deserve to have it!
Did you recently undergo a job switch? Submit your story—we would love to hear it!
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Whether you are an avid TWE reader or first time downloader, a member of the iGeneration or on the brink of retirement, my hope is that through this eBook you can discover what matters most to you in life and and time to appreciate it all.