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Changing jobs after a long time at one place

August 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Last year I changed jobs after about 15 years working for the same company. Starting somewhere new was more of a challenge than I expected.

At beginning of your career, it is common to hop from one role to the next every couple of years, and never really get immersed in one place for too long. (This was certainly my experience – I worked for five organisations in my first 12 years). In those roles, being relatively junior, you have a clear and focussed job to do based on your skill set. After a week or two of induction and finding bearings you can get straight on with your job and quickly find your stride.

Eventually you reach a point in life and career where a bit more stability is needed. By this time your career may also be reaching the point where advancement becomes more difficult, and you need meaty experience, which takes longer to attain. It also often coincides with greater demands from your private life – maybe by now with mortgage and family, security of employment becomes more important, or the convenience of being able to get home on time.
If I’m honest I was in one place for too long, although I had good reasons for staying as long as I did. I was ready to leave when suddenly the recession arrived in 2008 and good jobs dried up. As the market was starting to pick up again I had some clear internal career progression opportunities so I stayed put, and didn’t resume looking until my CV was bolstered a few years later.

I had forgotten how hard it is to start again, even as an experienced hire. Coping with a dramatic change in culture is expected and welcome – the challenge comes from no longer knowing how all the simple day-to-day stuff is done. Not “how” exactly, as the principles of project management remain constant, but the detail of the processes is different. The little nuances of the way things are written, or expectations around how ideas are socialised. Where to go to find out, who to ask.

At a personal level too, it is more of a challenge than I thought. There is a need to prove myself again, which creates its own pressures, sometimes self-imposed, after many years of having established a reputation. At my age I don’t want to run the risk of being let go too soon after starting; even after passing the six months’ probation stage I still felt anxious that I wasn’t yet doing myself justice. Last time I felt had to perform in this way I was still relatively early in my career and I was used to being in this position as a matter of course.

There are many positives too. I am able to bring in my experience of doing things a different way in my previous organisation or for my previous clients. It is refreshing to see where my new employer does things better. I have found myself assuring my more cynical colleagues that actually, things aren’t so bad here.

Above all though, I am glad I moved from a career perspective irrespective of the respective merits or otherwise of my former and new employer. From a personal standpoint it is very easy to become jaded and lose that little bit of spark at work when you have worked for the same company for a long time. I needed the refreshment provided by a new set of challenges. I recovered my enthusiasm for work, even maintaining it through quite a difficult first assignment. As the old saying says, “a change is as good as a rest”.

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Radio silence

August 25, 2017 Leave a comment

In the last three years a combination of family troubles (now all settled), difficult projects and a concerted and successful effort to change employer took up all my energy and spare time; a few posts were half-drafted and never completed.

I wonder how much benefit my thoughts and experience bring to other people (I hope so – a couple of the Use Case posts generate some traffic) – but I find that attempting to commit some thoughts to (e-)paper is personally beneficial as it makes me think in a more structured way about some of the things I am doing. I have no idea how some people find the time to post daily, about once a month is enough for me!

So here goes again…

Categories: Personal

The intervention of real life

September 11, 2013 Comments off

A year has passed since my last post.

This was not intentional, but was a reflection of an extremely busy period at work combined with family problems which together used up all my spare time. Both have now come to an end and I have some material in preparation.

Categories: Personal