I recently took a big leap. I left my job in San Antonio and have started a new one in the Roanoke, Virginia area. The leap required giving up not only my job but our beautiful, renovated home, the kids excellent schools, friends and what we knew as our life over the last three years. There is a lot of uncertainty in finding these securities again in a new state, over 1300 miles away. Some friends and acquaintances don’t understand, and that’s ok. We didn’t make this decision lightly. I say “we” because any decision made to take a new job impacts my entire family and we all need to be a part of the decision. Jake and I must agree it’s the best decision for us at the time. We will miss our friends and things we loved about San Antonio but deep down we are a family who enjoys traveling, exploring, and seeing new things. The opportunity to move to a new part of the country is an adventure! With adventure comes challenges so I wanted to share some of the things we’ve faced over the last few weeks in an effort to help any of you contemplating a leap to fulfill your career aspirations.
Our adventure began about three weeks ago. We did some up-front work before making the almost twenty-hour drive and thought we had a townhouse rental secured. In the event you’ve been living under a rock, both the buying and rental markets are nuts right now across the entire country. We are doing well on the selling side but trying to find a place to live in a good school district in Virginia has proved to be difficult. When we first arrived in Roanoke and visited the rental property, we quickly realized it was not going to work for us. This led to a couple days of stress, headaches, and concern that we would not be able to find a place to live before school starts. While we were very stressed out, we kept at the home search through several avenues. A realtor that I was connected to through my new work connections came through and was able to convince an owner to let us rent even though they didn’t allow pets. This was a huge relief for all of us.
A few days after securing a place to live I started my new job. I was greeted with an office that was clean and well outfitted including a vase of beautiful flowers and a signed card from my new team. My office smelled amazing (like flowers) and when I left my office and went out on the production floor, it smelled like cake! Yes, my new company makes decorated, ready-to-sell, cakes (and cookies). I have a window from my office to the production floor so I can see all the cakes being made – white, chocolate, carrot, German chocolate, raspberry-filled, peanut butter, and any other flavor you can dream. My first few days started out great and my team left a positive impression from the beginning.
On the home front we were still in moving mode. Jake coordinated our entire move and drove two long trips to Virginia in a Uhaul truck to get all of our household goods to our new place. Juggling the move of goods, getting both kids registered for school and worrying about our stressed out dog (that’s a whole other blog) was a lot. Slowly but surely we are making progress, getting out of the boxes and starting to resume a somewhat “regular life.” I won’t lie, there were some not-so-fun days, but we are a resilient family and we will always get through. I’m excited for the kids to start school this week and get the chance to meet new friends.
A few of you have reached out over the last few weeks and asked how it’s going. Thank you for thinking of me, I really appreciate the calls, texts and PMs. I realized today that depending on what day you asked me, my answer may have been different if I was telling the complete truth. Here is how I frame up the new job adoption curve…
- Days 1 & 2 – Everything is bright, shiny, and new. Team members have smiles on their faces and tell you how excited they are to have you on board. Workdays begin at 8am and finish at 5pm. You leave feeling like you made the right move!
- Days 3 to 6 – You start to see the “opportunities”. Personalities start to come out and you feel like you’re drinking from a fire hose trying to learn everything about the business and your team quickly. Early arrivals and late departures become the norm. At some point you think, “Oh shit, did I bite off more than I can chew?”
- Days 7 to 10 – After stressing out for a few days, you realize that the problems that lie ahead did not make themselves in a week and it is going to take longer than that for you to “fix” things. You slow the pace a bit to really listen to the issues, prioritize focus and take planned steps toward improvements. You start to get excited about the “opportunities” again and begin to take action steps with the team to improve.
With just a few days in at the new job I have utilized a few strategies to ensure I’m getting off to a good start. First, I’m having positive assumptions about everyone I meet. This is really important, even though I have picked up on potential issues from people I’ve met through the interview and initial meetings. Only through giving everyone a clean slate will I truly understand who they are and their capabilities. In addition to positive assumptions, active listening is also key to a great start. I have started capturing ideas but am not hard selling anything yet. I take the chance of suggesting something that could hurt more than help if I speak up too soon. I need to understand the business, the history, and the players a little more before I start assuming what the business needs.
I’m sharing all of this to be real about the good and the challenges that come with a cross-country job change. If you find yourself contemplating a leap, just do it. It will be scary, there will be unknowns and maybe even things that cause stress. However, the rewards for trying something new and becoming re-energized with a new challenge will grow you in ways that cannot be achieved by staying where you are. I encourage you to be courageous and go for it!