Transitioning into a new role and new department within the same company can be more difficult than one may think. My primary challenge was the loyalty I felt for my department. I had spent the past seven years within operations as an account executive. I have grown and learned so much over the years I never would have imagined anything else outside of operations.
The First Step
The thought process for me started with the internal conversations I was going to have to have. I was nervous even to have the conversation with my manager and VP. I had to get approval from them before I could apply for the Solutions Architect position. What if I did not get the role? Maybe they would think I was unhappy or looking elsewhere. How would my peers take it? Would they be supportive? My thoughts turned then to my family. Could I be successful in the new role to be able to keep providing for my family? Am I making a good decision for our futures? I then started questioning myself because the new role’s requirements were not a skill set in my wheel house. Do I really want to put myself out there into a vulnerable position? Can I do it?
Once I made up my mind I realized I did over think a lot of my internal struggles. My manager and VP, while disappointed that I was thinking of moving on, were supportive since I was looking internally. My peers were also supportive in the move and offered to help with the transition plan. My family of course was behind me in any decision I was going to make as long as I thought it was the right one. There was still the question of being able to do the job at this point.
The Waiting Period
At this point the wheels were in motion, interview completed and I had a verbal offer. Then there was this long period of waiting for the offer letter. I understand in large companies the approval process can get held up. This is where I felt the most anxiety as I did not have anything in writing and didn’t officially know if I got the job. I learned a long time ago that nothing is official unless it is in writing. I kept thinking ‘what if I do not get this role and my current managers are already writing me off since I want to move on?’ It was an uncomfortable period for me, but the offer finally came and I was definitely relieved.
My first order of business was to make sure I began working with the person stepping into my role. I had a process in place to make sure my team ran as smoothly as possible. I wanted to make sure to take the time and teach them and sit in while this person ran a few of the meetings. This happened rather smoothly and I was confident that when I stepped away I would be able to concentrate fully on my new responsibilities.
I was fortunate enough that when I began learning my new role as Solutions Architect I happened to be working with a close colleague who had trained me when I first joined the company. This goes to show how powerful relationships can be, and how it’s very important to maintain relationships and never burn bridges. He invited me to all of his meetings right away during this transition phase. If I could, I sat in on these calls. He would send me over all the material I needed accomplish at my job. I was also given access to use our internal barge tool to listen in on sales calls. This was an amazing tool to be able to ramp into a new role. I was able to listen in on the folks having the phone calls that I would be, working with to learn their different ways.
A New Job
When I was thinking more about this role after training for the first two weeks I realized that this was the right decision. Coming from Operations I had the correct skill set to be successful. It was as simple as knowing our product and speaking about it to prospects. I still have a lot to learn in my delivery and tailoring it to different people and industries. However, this is why people should move forward in new roles and experiences. You do not want to stay complacent. You want to continue growing, learning, and move forward in your career.
Moving roles at any point in one’s career can be challenging and stressful. A couple of take aways I got from this experience are the following:
-Understand why you want to make a change. Are you running towards something or running away from something?
-Be open and honest with your higher ups and explain why you want to make a change. If you do not feel you can be honest with them why would you stay with the company?
-Come up with a well thought out transition plan and execute it. Do not cut corners here, it can come back to bite you.
-Hold dear to the relationships you make in the company at any point in your career there. You never know when you will need to rely on them to success in your current or new roles.