As many of you may or may not be aware, I've recently decided to leave my job as the Director of Client Services at Gaughan & Connealy after nearly four years.
Might seem sudden, and yet this is a career move I've been considering for more than a year now. It feels as though I've hit a ceiling at the law firm - I've been here since the day I finished college and convinced myself that I've given the law firm all that it could handle; the next route for me doesn't necessarily benefit the company and it no longer works for me to stick around. Alas, I've powerfully chosen to part ways.
Don't get me wrong.
I've boldly declared my status upon having conversation after conversation with my boss. Gaughan & Connealy is full of wonderful people; they've stood for me through life changes, supported me with my entrepreneurial adventures, encouraged me to travel with my family, and, most of all, mentored me through challenges most coworkers would quickly scurry away from.
Quite honestly, I wouldn't be who I am without their stand for my success. For someone fresh out of college four years ago, I took for granted much of the advice they gave to me walking into my mid-twenties. Many of my fellow college classmates have struggled, fallen, faced layoffs, etc... And me? My work family made my life a breeze and I couldn't be more grateful.
Throughout this process, I've come across several insights that have helped me forward my game of finding new employment, while I continue to thrive at Gaughan & Connealy.
1) Have that conversation with your boss
Yes, that one - the one where you tell him/her that you're ready to move on. It's a bold move, and, ultimately, I found that my boss respected me more, if anything.
We talked, we brainstormed new ideas, attempted to put together new challenges to keep me learning. He even offered to mentor me through my newest entrepreneurial venture.
When we finally agreed that it would be best for me to move on, he offered to be a positive reference in my search and even asked me what I was looking for. Today, he's keeping an eye out for any opportunities that might host the responsibilities I'm looking to take on.
This leads me to my second point.
2) Be courteous
Gaughan & Connealy is a family-owned company. With six team members, it's a hard hit when someone leaves. And, for everything they've done for me, I've constructed an exit strategy that works for both of us.
I recently shared with my boss that I plan to stick around to hire the next big leader and train him/her to smoothly take my place. Might not be the most traditional of ways to leave, however, if there's no integrity to my move, then there won't be success to follow.
Take a minute to think about what it is that you're willing to give. Consider all that your current/previous employer may have done for you - with or without your knowledge. Use that to determine what your courteous exit will look like. Most importantly, don't burn bridges. Ever.
3) Brand yourself
Throughout this process, it has occurred to me how long it's been since I've been out of the game. There are thousands of new graduates stepping into the real world ready to take on any gainful employment they can maneuver their way into. And then there's me. What's left of my Strategic Communication Bachelor's degree is only what I've embraced in my career. I may have walked out of college with a 360 overview of everything my education has to offer, but it would be deceitful to say I've used it all. All that remains is what I've applied in my current job and strengthened over the years.
That being said, research ways to stand out. For me, it was this digital portfolio. I spent countless months researching, applying, failing, and starting all over again to learn how to develop a WordPress website. What content should my site provide? What would be meaningful to employers and still display who I am as an individual? Who do I want to be known as? Whatever route you choose to get yourself out there, always consider how it lands for others. After all, it's your reputation on the line.
One of my favorite articles that I've referenced time and time again over the years is an oldie but goody. Click here to read it.
Do the exercise. Might seem redundant, and yet it'll get your juices flowing in a way you may not have previously experienced. I thought I had it down the first time around. That night I couldn't sleep. I spent hours awake thinking about what it was that mattered to me at the core. Days followed and I still couldn't find the exact verbiage that clearly described my stand. It's been years since I first took that on and the final product is still not perfect - far from it. As cliche as it sounds, it's really the process that helps you find clarity in your decisions.
4) Reach out to your professional network
All of those people that have added you on LinkedIn (or that you've added), folks that you encountered at parties, friends and family, your B2B networks. Literally anyone and everyone.
Reconnect with those people. For me, it was a simple message that I drew up. Each message acknowledged the experience my professional contact has gained over the years, briefly explained my personal journey to find a new career, and strategically highlighted a few keywords to display where I'm looking to head next. Albeit a simple message, I delicately chose each word to create who I will be for their companies.
Finally, I ended each message with a request for the individual to keep an eye out in his/her respective company for opportunities that may fit what I'm looking for. And, if such an opportunity didn't immediately strike them as fitting for me, I gave everyone a chance to say no - there's no reason for anyone to feel by my new, self-proclaimed journey.
That's it. If you find yourself inquiring further about any of the moves I'm making to find my next career, please don't hesitate to reach out - Hi@EvaLadhani.com.