How to leave a job: C. Transitioning to a new job

This third article in a 3-part series about How to leave a job.  The first two articles are A. Making the decision to leave and B. Exiting yourself from the job.  This article focuses on the space of transitioning to a new job.

C. Transitioning to a new job

It’s like you’re swinging on trapezes – you’ve let go of one, and you’re in the space where you haven’t quite grabbed onto the other. It’s an in-between space, a liminal space. It’s a place of possibility. It’s a place worth appreciating and acknowledging …

You may not have a new job waiting you when you leave the last one. Here’s some advice for navigating the space between jobs.

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If you have a new job lined up, there’s probably some excitement about the possibilities along with some nerves about entering a new space with many not-yet-known things. Take a moment to note what those exciting possibilities are. When things get challenging, it’s helpful to remind yourself why you liked this opportunity in the first place.

If you can create such a conversational moment, do the Value Exchange activity with your new supervisor/manager. You might both get valuable insights about how to best help each other achieve good things. Even before you start the new gig, be sure to do the Value Exchange activity so you know what value you expect to give and get in the new role before you are influenced by what’s offered.

From the reflections you do as you leave, consider making (or updating) a User’s Guide to Working with Me. Get clear on when and how you do your best work; when you felt you were in a state of flow. You’ll want to make sure these can happen again, either because you created the conditions for such, or because you negotiated with or educated others about the best way to work with you.

Work on any negative residual feelings from the past job so you don’t carry these over. It’s not bad to have negative feelings. Use your emotional intelligence to decrease their intensity, and shorten their duration. Find a trusted confident who you can tell your ‘old story’ to, and make a personal ritual about closing that chapter of your life. Fire or water could play a cleansing part in that ritual – I’ll leave it to your imagination!

Take some moments to do nothing; to spoil yourself, to switch off. Such breaks can better mark the Pause or Full-stop of the space you are in. Don’t be tempted to fill your every waking moment with activity, even if you are excited about what is next. Be present and enjoy the moment of space – breath!

When you are ready to take action in the space, you can do a few things to consciously prepare for the next stage. Like – Figure out your new travel routes and schedule for getting to/from home. Look over your personal resources and do culling and updating. (What resources? Your wardrobe. Your devices.) Think about the first impression you want to make – what stories will you tell about your experience as you introduce yourself.

Overall – remember you are the Sovereign of your workscape. You are in charge; you have control; these are your decisions to make and actions to take. If this feels overwhelming – grab the help of some good friends or a life coach.

May this period of transition put you in a great state of mind for your new job and enable you to do your best work.



Helen Palmer, Founder of Self unLimited, has not followed a traditional path in her ‘career’, nor does she intend to. It’s been her personal experience that she’s made plans, then life happened and things went in a direction that wasn’t anticipated. As a consequence she’s fascinated by the emergent and serendipitous approach to life and work. She thinks about ways to help others navigate the future of work, given the ambiguous possibilities and opportunities if there is courage to take that journey. And for good measure, she likes to inject humour and originality into her work.


(Amended) Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash