I can’t tell you how many times a week over the past decade I have had conversations with people where I found I was concurrently coaching them and speaking to my younger self. Truth be told, sometimes I was speaking with my current self.
I’ve run into the following issue enough times over the years that I thought it worth sharing here in The Snack so that it may benefit others—both employees and employers.
Recently, I had a conversation with an industry veteran of 20-plus years who had a challenge, or opportunity, depending on how you look at it. Let’s call him Joe. Joe’s “challenge/opportunity” was being presented with a new job by his current employer. He had been in sales for years, and the company was offering him a role managing grower relationships and its supply chain. On one hand, he was excited about the opportunity and change; on the other hand, there were the challenging “what ifs;” What if it didn’t work out? What if he wanted to return to sales? What if he gives up all his customers? The list went on.
It’s totally natural to feel nervous about change, especially when those changes are significant. I believe the answer is to shift the decision from feelings to facts—from emotional-based decision making to information-based.
This particular employer had not presented Joe with any real information. I get it; we’re all busy, and sometimes it is just easier to “ready, shoot, and aim” or “float a trial balloon” and go from there. In this particular instance, however, the balloon could have popped.
My recommendation for employers is to be better prepared before you excite and/or worry your valued people. Smart employees will have questions that both help them prepare for the role and help you as the employer define the position as well before the parties commit. Having answers to the list below will help you to be better prepared when making an internal job offer or promotion.
1. Can I see a job description?
2. What defines success in this role?
3. What will my key performance indicators (KPIs) be?
4. What are your expectations for the first 30, 60, 90, 180, and 365 days?
5. What does a “day in the life” of this role look like?
6. What is the compensation?
7. Will there be an opportunity for a bonus? If so, what is it based on?
8. Who are the stakeholders for this role?
9. Can I see the organizational chart to understand the people and roles around me?
10. Are there other changes in this department or role that are being discussed and/or planned?
It’s always important for both the employer and employee to gather information before committing to a role transition. That is only one half of the equation, though! For people in Joe’s shoes, now you need to look inward before you accept a new role.
1. What do I like to do?
2. What do I want to do?
3. What makes me happy?
4. Am I ready to make a change?
5. Am I ready to be uncomfortable and not have everything dialed in each day?
6. Am I ready to learn and grow?
7. Who will be my mentors?
8. What is my long-term career goal and path?
9. Does this new opportunity take me forward in the direction of my long-term career goals?
To get a better idea, I suggest you compare your current position to the new position. Create two lists—in writing—outlining the pros and cons, and either answer the questions above or draw on other bits of information you think would help you make a better-informed decision.
Changing jobs is a big deal, even when it’s an internal shift. Take your time to carefully evaluate the opportunity and how it fits you, your short-term objectives, and your long-term goals and path. Life is short, so invest your time wisely.