Welcome back to Transition Tales, where we hear the true stories behind people’s bold decisions to leave the comforts of work they know to pursue work they love. In this edition, we’re telling a transition tale from management to associate.
What I admire about this Transition Taler’s (TT) story is that he was proactive and intentional about his career path all along. He didn’t sit back and wait to have things handed to him but instead was reflective about what he needed in his career and asked for it. At times when he didn’t receive it, he made the choice to look elsewhere.
ALV: Why did you want to make a career transition?
TT: I had made a transition into a new industry (mid market IT) from logistics. I went from a very large company to 2 very small companies. Each company promised me training, mentorship, and guidance. I ended up not receiving any help despite my communication and after a year and a half I was not learning and growing and I knew I had to make a very smart move that would help have a better future.
ALV: Was there a “straw that broke the camel’s back” in terms of deciding to make the move?
TT: After 2 months in the new role management did not provide any training and I had to constantly seek out guidance, feedback, and training! I also learned that most employees were never in the office and management rarely came in as well. Besides that, the company culture was horrifying. Everyone seemed so lethargic and unhappy at work and people did not practice good hygiene. This built up over time and I realized I needed to leave ASAP.
It’s clear that learning and development opportunities were important cultural values for TT, and not only was he not receiving them directly; he didn’t see that any of his colleagues also valued these things. When a values conflict this significant arises, it can be difficult to stay motivated or envision a future in that organization.
Before making a switch, TT spoke with some friends and family, and then also decided to seek out coaching support to help him find his next role. Given he had made two job changes fairly recently, he put a lot of pressure on himself to get this one right.
TT: I really wanted to make a great career move. I was so scared of making anymore career mistakes and I wanted a great job with a great company and pave the way for a bright future.
So TT now found himself in the position that many of our clients find themselves in and that I, myself, was in when I first worked with a coach.
“I know I don’t want to do this anymore, but I’m not quite sure what I want to do instead. How do I know it will be better?”
You can never know with 100% certainty what a role will actually be like until you get there, but you can take a thorough, logic-driven approach to help you identify what’s important to you and then select a position based on what is most aligned with you and your needs.
ALV: How did you figure out what you wanted to do in your next role?
TT: I had some ideas but they were not validated. The Ama La Vida modules really helped. It starts from taking things from a high level. What do you like doing? solving problems? Executing plans? Analyzing data?. Then it goes into the day to day and a lot of other broader ideas. Creating my list of what I was looking for validated what I wanted to and as well as what type of company I wanted to work for. When you keep things somewhat broad in terms of the type of work you want and the environment you need, it is easy then to find the right opportunities.
ALV: And what did you discover?
TT: I was looking for development, mentorship, and ambition. I have about 5 years of work experience, but I am still hungry to learn and grow and I wanted a company and a manager that would provide development and somewhat of a path for growth. As far as culture, I was looking for high energy and positive people who were also curious learners.
It’s clear that for TT the way in which the work is done and the type of people he is surrounded by are just as important to him as the work itself. This helped him focus his job search around the cultural factors that were critical.
Even though TT was clear on the companies he wanted to work for, that didn’t mean the job search process was going to be easy. It can be grueling, especially when you have something very specific in mind.
TT: It is going to be challenging. There are times when you feel like you found the best job ever. Then you will learn something bad about the culture or you will not receive an offer when you really felt like you were going to get it. Interviewing is definitely a skill as well. The more you do the better you will become.
In total, TT applied to about 25 jobs and had 9 interviews. This feels like a lot because you are constantly putting yourself out there to be evaluated by strangers. However, it was worth it in the end for him to find the right position. And he learned some important lessons along the way.
TT: The transition took about 5 months. I did apply for some “reach” roles in the beginning as well though. I felt empowered, hopeful, excited, happy but also scared, nervous, anxious, and hopeless when I did not receive any offers. My advice for you, do not waste your time interviewing for jobs you know you do not want.
All that hard work and enduring the emotional ups and downs were worth it. TT landed an amazing new role as an Operations Associate. But the journey doesn’t end here. TT continues to be laser-focused on his growth and development. He prioritizes learning on the job so he can continue to move toward his long-term goals, while being fulfilled by his work in the process.