Leave your job and land on your feet

The new year brings new goals, and of­ten a need to move on work-wise. A step-by-step ap­proach is a sure-fire way to re­alise your pro­fes­sional am­bi­tions

CityPress - - Careers - PETER KRIEL projects@city­press.co.za

As the end of 2016 creeps closer, many peo­ple find the idea of a fresh ca­reer start in 2017 to be ap­peal­ing. But vi­sions of fir­ing off that res­ig­na­tion let­ter, clos­ing the door of your old of­fice be­hind you for the last time, and step­ping into a bril­liant new ca­reer filled with ex­cite­ment and op­por­tu­nity should be tem­pered by the real work and strat­egy that must go into suc­cess­fully mov­ing from one job or ca­reer to an­other.

Ev­ery year, thou­sands of em­ploy­ees en­rol in part­time or dis­tance cour­ses, or for a higher de­gree, in a bid to ei­ther en­ter a new field of work or im­prove their qual­i­fi­ca­tions and, in so do­ing, fur­ther their ca­reers.

Boost­ing your aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions is a great way to en­sure that your ca­reer keeps mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion. But this step should be one part of a broader strat­egy.

Be­fore you cheer­fully an­nounce your res­ig­na­tion, make sure you have gone through the ac­tions out­lined below.

Fail­ure to do so could re­sult in your find­ing your­self out of a job, and with­out solid prospects, in an ex­tremely tough eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment.

De­cide whether you should leave

Af­ter a few months of re­lent­less stress and pres­sure, it can be tempt­ing to throw cau­tion to the wind.

How­ever, sit down and take a long, hard look at your rea­sons for want­ing to move.

A job in hand is al­ways bet­ter than three prospec­tive ones, and there may be op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able at your cur­rent place of work.

Write down all the rea­sons you want to move, and then ask your­self: Are th­ese mostly push fac­tors, such as a hor­ri­ble boss, low pay and a neg­a­tive com­pany cul­ture? Or, are they mainly pull fac­tors – an en­tic­ing new ca­reer, a rep­utable com­pany you want to be part of and a new pro­fes­sional field with ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties?

Jenny Blake, a ca­reer strate­gist and au­thor, ad­vises that one should re­mem­ber to keep fo­cus on what is work­ing, rather than only fo­cus­ing on what is not work­ing, to make an in­formed de­ci­sion when con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer change.

Do your re­search and test the wa­ters

If you de­cide to move on, don’t give up while you are try­ing to move up. This means that you con­tinue to give of your best at work ev­ery day, while at the same time in­ves­ti­gat­ing ca­reer op­tions and po­si­tions that in­ter­est you. Make a point of at­tend­ing in­dus­try net­work­ing events, speak to peo­ple who are do­ing what you would like to do, look at va­can­cies in the field, find niche growth ar­eas and de­ter­mine what a move would en­tail.

Chart the wa­ters

Once you have de­ter­mined that you want to move on and you have pin­pointed your ideal job, plot a strat­egy for the most ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive way to get there.

Take ev­ery­thing into ac­count: po­ten­tial loss of in­come, re­duced earn­ings when start­ing out, the time re­quired to ex­e­cute your plan and the re­sources re­quired.

Make sure that you take all in­for­ma­tion into ac­count, and de­velop a plan that works for you.

For in­stance, it may not be nec­es­sary to give up your day job if you can en­rol for an on­line short course deal­ing with the in­dus­try you’ve set your sights on.

Set sail

Once you have mapped out your plan, start tak­ing ac­tion im­me­di­ately.

In the case of study­ing fur­ther, make sure that you meet the reg­is­tra­tion dead­line and have the re­quired doc­u­men­ta­tion.

Also, check that your CV is in or­der and keep it up­dated. And keep your ear to the ground for op­por­tu­ni­ties in your new field.

It’s im­por­tant to bear in mind that when the time comes for you to re­sign from your cur­rent po­si­tion, you leave gra­ciously, with­out burn­ing any bridges.

Lil­lian Bususu is the grad­u­ate devel­op­ment man­ager at Rose­bank Col­lege, which places thou­sands of stu­dents in new po­si­tions each year.

“It is cru­cial to leave on a pos­i­tive note. Do­ing so in­creases your chances of get­ting a bet­ter ref­er­ence, which will help with fu­ture job hunts,” she ad­vises.

“While in­ves­ti­gat­ing your bril­liant new ca­reer and set­ting plans in mo­tion, it is im­per­a­tive to keep things con­fi­den­tial and un­der wraps for as long as pos­si­ble.

“But when the time comes, play open cards. The last thing you want is for your boss to hear the news via the grapevine.

“That is em­bar­rass­ing for all par­ties, and it may ruin the good re­la­tion­ship you en­joyed in the past.”

Bususu adds that when leav­ing a po­si­tion, make an ap­point­ment with your man­ager to no­tify them of your in­ten­tions. Fol­low this up with a for­mal, po­lite writ­ten res­ig­na­tion let­ter. “Some bosses will try to counter of­fer with a bet­ter pack­age, but as good as it may sound, you must refuse,” she says.

“Re­sist counter of­fers and stick to your ini­tial de­ci­sion. If you ac­cept such an of­fer, it ap­pears that you can be bought and you may lose cred­i­bil­ity. You have made up your mind to move on, so be­lieve in your­self and your new path.” Kriel is gen­eral man­ager of the In­de­pen­dent In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES / IS­TOCK­PHOTO

CUT THE NEG­A­TIV­ITY A can-do at­ti­tude and proper ground­work will en­able you to leave your job for the right rea­sons and find work bet­ter suited to your ca­reer goals

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