What I Learned after Leaving My Job

I am officially done in Statesboro. I have a few weeks off before I start my new job, and I'm thankful for an opportunity to rest, recharge, and get my house in working order. No one likes to live out of boxes, or without the things they need, so this week I am trying to get as much done during the days so that I can totally focus on CJM in the evenings.

It was hard to leave Statesboro, but it was terribly sad to leave the lovely individuals I worked with on a daily basis. I really grew professionally in my most recent role; it was a job that truly prepared me for the big step up in career that I am going to be making in a few weeks. I've learned a lot about being a young professional, and wanted to share a few thoughts/tips with you! Please leave your suggestions in the comments as well--I truly believe it takes a team to be successful, and appreciate any insight.

  • Work/life balance is critical. This was something that I came into this position determined to maintain. At my first post-grad position, I let everyone around me dictate my schedule by answering calls and emails to people that I didn't answer to, ever, and didn't pay my bills. 10 p.m., 6:00 a.m.; I was available. This is unhealthy. And it sets a precedent that is almost impossible to break. I am totally available to my boss/es when they need me. And they know the best, most direct ways to reach me. But there is no need {usually} to answer calls and emails from others late in the evening or early in the morning. Maintain the most healthy for you and your job amount of work/life separation as possible. I was much happier at my most recent job because I had established cut-off times for communication.

  • Not hating your job is key. Job satisfaction directly affects your level of happiness in the rest of your life. While no job is perfect, one that has the right amount of stress, engagement, challenge, and reward for you will be one that supports a positive, re-charging environment outside of the office. We all know that person that hates their boss/job/office environment, because that's all they seem to talk about! And if you can't leave a job where you're miserable, make sure you're doing absolutely everything you can to discover a contentedness while you're there. Your happiness is ultimately up to you.

  • Depend on your work family. While not always a reality in every office, I've been blessed by working environments that recognized that I was a real person, with real emotions, and real issues. When I had family issues that I needed to take care of they listened, were supportive, and allowed me opportunities to address the situation that involved people outside of the office. We all worked to learn about and invest in each other, and created a true sense of community amongst our office. These are the people I invited to my wedding, celebrated birthdays with, and other wins and losses throughout life--even hard ones like moving away, and starting a new job. Support your team, and they will support you as well.

  • Network! At my last job, I worked in networking. We provided multiple opportunities throughout the month for business leaders in our area to connect with others and saw some great initiatives develop through these events. I also saw people who didn't take advantage of networking, and they end up feeling left out of the loop, uninvolved, or uninvited. Insert yourself into networking and building relationships with other individuals whenever you can. These are the people that become your references, help you find a job in another town when you do have to move, and become that person that you can schedule lunch with once a month, too!

  • Be consistent. This is probably my biggest personality pet peeve: I hate when people are inconsistent. I think consistency in work can be shown in various ways: through timeliness, efficiency in work, and in the skills you provide. But it's also in your personality and appearance--don't come in a grumpy slob one day, and peppy professional the next. It sends mixed messages, and makes you hard to get to know and work with. People want to know what to expect; save the surprises for thoughtful notes or words of encouragement, not in your presence or behaviors.

  • Communicate. Our office always worked to know what was on each other's schedule {kind of easy, but also crucial when there was only three of us!} in an effort to not overschedule or overload any one person. It also helping us plan days off that everyone was happy with, and to just be aware of the "real life" things that were going on outside of the office. While those are easy things to share, it's important to communicate the issues too. When a problem arises in a project, if a volunteer becomes too much for one person to handle, or if you are unhappy in your work life and need something to change. Communicate what's really going on--good or bad. Just like in any relationship, it's important to be honest with what's happening in your heart and mind. 
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