Making a career change is almost as stressful as meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time. Even if you’ve landed your dream job, you’ll encounter your fair share of challenges on your new career path.
Luckily, with the right approach, a positive attitude and a little bit of help, those challenges don’t have to be insurmountable.
So, if you’re considering a major career change, make things easier on yourself by following these six steps to get on the right path.
Find a Mentor
Going into a new job can seem like a never-ending mountain that you need to climb each and every day. But less-experienced mountaineers typically don’t climb without a guide—and neither should you. By seeking out someone with more experience who has been in your position before, you can gain not only some guidance but also a confidant who can offer sage advice, a sounding board to help you gain clarity and a champion to make sure your accomplishments get the attention they deserve. See if your new place of work has a mentorship program, or seek one out to see the benefits of having a mentor in the workplace.
Get a Routine and Stick to It
Be prepared for what you signed up for. It doesn’t matter what your previous work life was like, you need to be certain of the schedule your new employer expects of you. Each workplace is different—some offer flexibility, while others have a strict 9–5 schedule. If your career change also comes with a significant change in routine, take the week before your start date and get yourself ready for it.
Do it For the Culture
Do you like to tell jokes and go for little walks during the workday? You better be sure that’s something that isn’t frowned upon at your new job. You can add your own personal flair to the overall team dynamic, but trying to change an entire company culture is more than difficult. Your best bet is to ask the right questions during the interview and knowing for certain that this position is the right fit. Because you don’t to be a Seinfeld type of person walking into a Friends type of office.
It can be tough to remember everyone’s name—let alone all the new terminology that’ll be thrown at you—so a pen and a notepad will likely be your best friends (at least for the first few weeks). Don’t be shy about writing things down, asking follow-up questions or asking people to slow down or repeat themselves. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to gain a solid understanding of the ins and outs of your new company.
Build Strong Relationships
Working independently, taking charge of responsibilities and exuding a sense of confidence may give your superiors a positive image of you, but you can’t do everything alone. Many workplaces increasingly value collaborative efforts, so find a way to work well with your coworkers. By building strong relationships right away, you’ll be able to develop a network of contacts that extends across departments.
Don’t Stop Networking
Just because you’re on a new career path, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to old your old contacts. You’ll be able to strengthen and diversify your network with your old and new colleagues. While it may seem like an arduous task to be constantly connecting and reconnecting, the sooner you start reaching out, the sooner you’ll start feeling more comfortable.
You’ve worked hard to get to this point in your career, so this should be a positive time in your life. Following these bits of advice will minimize stress and set you up for a successful transition into your new career.