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Four things I learned in a career transition

By: Grace Hartley

Earlier this year, I made my first “big girl” job change. As soon as I graduated college, I immediately started my new job in the media space after years of hustling, internships, and publishing my name anywhere I could. Almost three years ago, I walked head high into my first ever real job with benefits and everything. Like most things, eventually, it was time for some fresh scenery and new challenges. Here are four things I learned from my first “real” career transition.

Quitting a job isn’t that serious.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I was so afraid of quitting my first “real” job. I had never left a big job before, and it felt so daunting for some reason. What would my bosses think? Would they be upset? How much would I miss my coworkers? Turns out, it’s not a big deal. Your bosses will wish you well on your next journey and the coworkers you love you’ll continue to stay in touch with. Doing something for the first time might feel scary, but it being scary isn’t a good reason to not do it, especially if you know it’s the right next step. Trust your intuition.

Culture is important.

If you have the ability to meet with other employees from a prospective company during the interview process, do it. Get a feel for the culture, ask them about their likes, dislikes, concerns, and how they work with their managers. It’s important to be in a space where employees (and eventually yourself) feel respected, appreciated, and valued. I had the opportunity to meet with my future team before officially accepting my new job, and getting to spend time with them, and hear all of the good things they had to say about the culture, the job, and our boss, I knew I was headed in the right direction.

Be picky.

Now more than ever, candidates have more say in what they really want in a job, and I say: take advantage of that. It’s kind of like dating: sometimes you go on a few dates with a nice person and maybe they’re great, but they’re not the right one for you. Jobs can be like that too. Do you love the office space but remote work is actually something you’d prefer? Honor that. Do you love the people but you need a job with more flexibility because you have children? Nothing wrong with that. Don’t sacrifice your needs or even some of your big “wants,” if there’s a job out there willing to meet those.

You have a life outside of work.

"Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life." Dolly Parton said it best, but work/life balance should be a priority for your job search. Is the best job in the world really the best job in the world if you never see your friends and family, are always working more than 40 hours a week, and spend more time in front of the computer than with your partner? I’ve learned that having my “life” time to recharge, do things that make me happy, and spend time with my loved ones allows me to show up to my “work” time refreshed, energized, and excited to be there.

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