Friday, September 23, 2016

Cutting the Cord: Best Practices for Transitioning Within the Same Organization

by Stephanie J. Gray, Associate Director
Kelley Graduate Career Services

Stephanie J. Gray
You did it! You set your sights on a new position within your organization and after months of networking and interviewing you have earned a new title and a new set of job responsibilities. There’s one problem: you still work at the same company, so leaving your old job isn’t as easy as handing in two weeks' notice. Your previous supervisor may have advocated for your promotion and your clients may not really understand how you work for the same organization, but can no longer help them.

I recently made this transition and I have come up with a few helpful tips to “cut the cord” with your old job and start your new adventure.

Take time off.
This is something that I wish I had done. If you have the opportunity, take a week off to decompress and get excited for your new role. This week will also help you to distance yourself from your previous position without having new responsibilities.

Accept that there will be a transition time.
You likely haven’t changed building locations, so you might feel like the same person, but you are a new employee in THIS office. Allow yourself some time to adjust to the new responsibilities.

 Redefine success.
What made you successful at your last job may not be what makes you successful at your new one.  Usually moving up or over will require a different set of skills, some that may be completely foreign to you.

Follow through on your commitments.
There was probably this euphoric feeling of knowing that the parts of your old job that may have not been your favorite tasks, were no longer on your plate. However, you are still at the same company and will want to make sure that you follow through on all of your previous commitments. For me that meant making sure that any projects I was working on during my transition, had a new point person that was up to speed. I did this by meeting weekly for just 30 minutes with the new project lead to answer any questions he/she had about the project.

Make your new job the priority.
It will be easy to answer emails with questions regarding your old position because you know those answers and feel like an expert. They already know that you were good at your old job, that is how you got this fancy new one! Now make time to learn the ropes.

Come in on time and stay all day.
You may have gotten to a point with your last position where you were such a high performer that you were able to have a more flexible schedule. If you have done it once, you will likely master this new job too, but for now, make sure the staff in your new office knows that you are a considerate and professional co-worker. Show up early and come prepared to every meeting.

Share your network.
Because you come from a different office and background, you likely have a whole network of different people and valuable knowledge from another area. Share what you know and connect your new co-workers with someone in your network if their expertise would be helpful.

Assist in the transition plan when appropriate but don’t overstep!
This one will definitely vary by the company culture. There was a bit of lag time between when I left my old position to the time the new person was able to start. During the transition, I did a little double duty, with permission from my new supervisors.  However, at the end of the day, I do work in a different area now, and I had to remove myself from any important decisions made at the previous office.

Let go!
Believe it or not, your old office will function just fine without you. There may be a couple of weeks where they are understaffed, but business will go on.  When it’s time to finally cut the cord permanently, embrace your new role completely.  

      So there you have it; what I have learned during my work transition. Being within the first 90 days means that you haven’t proven yourself just yet, but remember, you have a lot of internal advocates and you earned this. Set boundaries but be respectful of the advocates that may have helped you get where you are now. The great thing about an internal move is you know the overall organization, you’ve got established mentors and you don’t have to find a new route to work!


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