Early November 2021, I started a new job. That moment was bursting with excitement, with people wishing me the best, and with memories of fun times with my colleagues but only I knew the rollercoaster of emotions in the months that preceded the transition. In this article, I share what I learned from it.
Be mentally and physically prepared
The decision to pursue a new endeavor usually happens months before the actual move. My case was not different, and add to it a couple of months for immigration processes. Even though I expected it to be a stressful time, I underestimated it. For instance, I drastically reduced my workout frequency with the excuse that I needed more time to prep for the interviews. Big mistake! I lost several pounds, I was stressed out, and my sleep hours were impacted. In general, my quality of life suffered a hit.
Lesson #1: do not change your habits, prioritize your health, and keep doing whatever you do to relieve your stress. Set the environment around you to go through that period while finishing it mentally and physically undamaged.
It may be flattering to be reached out by recruiters from large companies. However, they should not decide for you if it’s time to pursue a new position. If you didn’t think or dream of yourself working for company X before a recruiter pinged you on LinkedIn, you should think twice before jumping into a selection process. It will demand you a lot of time and energy. In addition to the company, you also need to be as selective for the position. Working for a company that looks fancy on your LinkedIn profile but doing something that you don’t like will make you feel miserable.
Lesson #2: The position AND company need to get you excited from the get-go. If only one of them hits the bar, don’t waste your energy. Select the top 2-3 options and discard the other ones.
Get ready and line up your options
Preparation is crucial for any position level. Dedicating time to learn about the company, get familiar with the selection process, and brush up on some skills will pay off in the end. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll learn something useful.
If you’re considering multiple companies (and you should have a few), the order that you interview with them matters. Your top choice should not be the first one. You’ll inevitably make some mistakes or learn something new that could make the difference later between landing a job or not.
Lesson #3: Invest the time to prepare. That boosts your confidence, and interviewers notice when someone has done their due diligence. You’ll get better as you interview. So, avoid interviewing firstly with your top choice.
Limit your criteria
Congratulations! You passed the interviews leading to having a few offers on the table. You only need to pick one. Easy, right? Maybe.
If you have an offer that stands out in many aspects, that’s a no-brainer. If there isn’t a clear winner, you have to evaluate all the pros and cons before making a call. Location, company, position, growth potential, base salary, performance bonus, sign-on bonus, stocks, 401k matching, vacations, health benefits, perks, and many others. This list can go on and on, and you may get into a situation where too much info leads you to paralysis. Only a handful number of criteria should matter to you and your family, and identifying them is critical. I realized that when debating with myself if I should consider X since Y was offering a better 401k matching policy. 401k matching would not even make up my top 5 criteria to choose an offer.
Lesson #4: Pick no more than three criteria to support your decision. Do not look back once you have decided.
One’s reputation is built over several years, but it only takes one wrong move to ruin it. The fact that you are interviewing with other companies or that you have given your 2-week notice does not free you up from your responsibilities. Regardless of your reason to leave, you should continue performing consistently until your last day. That not only leaves a good impression, but in my case, it is in alignment with my core values, and it was the ethical thing to do.
Lesson #5: People will remember you for what you’ve done, but your last actions are more likely to stick to their minds. Maintain your job performance until you are officially out.
Be patient, humble
Here you are on the first day new at your new job! Excitement is through the roof, and you survived the selection and transition process. You were used to an environment where everybody knew you and where you had a solid reputation, but assuming that you’re not a superstar widely known in the community, you’ll have to build your reputation from scratch. Maybe only the hiring manager knows a tiny bit about you. The rest of your colleagues know nothing.
In the beginning, navigating that anxiety of causing a great initial impression and hitting the ground running can be tricky. Humbleness and patience are essential qualities during those times.
Lesson #6: What brought you here may not take you there. Be humble to understand the context and practice active listening when meeting with people. That should set the environment for a durable, successful new journey in the long run.
- During the hiring process, do not change your habits and prioritize your mental and physical health;
- Both the position and company need to be a good fit for you. Consider no more than three options;
- Preparation is key. Optimize the interview sequence to get better for your top choice;
- Pick no more than three criteria to choose the offer to accept and don’t look back once you’ve decided;
- Don’t burn bridges and be responsible until your last day of work;
- What brought you here may not take you there. Be humble and patient in your new job.
Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are my own, not those of my current or former employers.