Finally, after years of searching, you found the “perfect” company. You’re excited to get up for work in the morning. You love your executive, your co-workers, and the view from your office window. Even the challenges you face seem easier – more like fun puzzles than insurmountable hurdles.
But then the walls come tumbling down and the job as you knew it disintegrates. Your position has been eliminated, you’re asked to transfer, or the “best executive ever” leaves the company.
It’s happened to me multiple times during my corporate career. Losing the “best boss” or the “perfect job” can be devastating if you aren’t mentally prepared for it. Each time, I’d slowly regain my composure. However, my focus was always on looking for what I had, rather than using the situation as a stepping stone to a better position or working relationship.
Change is inevitable in your admin career – even if you stay at the same company until retirement. Sometimes that change will work in your favor; other times, it won’t. The best thing you can do is prepare for that change now.
Will you respond positively or negatively?
The positive path will fast-forward you to a better, more productive place. The negative one could lead to being hurt, bitter, and impulsive – all of which can harm your career success and professional credibility.
So how can you proactively prepare yourself for professional changes and create a positive path forward? Here are four things I’ve learned about moving on from my “best” and creating something even better.
1. Process Your Loss
It’s important to properly process the emotions. Identify what you’re feeling and find productive ways to deal with the emotions. Get some exercise. Talk to a close friend. Cry if you need to. Releasing these emotions is important to the healing process, but it’s also important to know when it’s time to pull yourself up and put the past behind you.
2. Identify What Made the Job or Executive the “Best”
Write it down. Put it in a journal. If you decide later on that you need to pursue a new job, you’ll be able to use this information to ask potential employers better interview questions.
As you identify the positive traits of the person or the aspects of the position, ask yourself if those things were always there or if they developed over time. If they developed over time, how did that happen? Was it because you pursued training and professional development opportunities and applied them to the position? Was it because you consciously worked on developing a better working relationship with your executive? What was the catalyst for the improvement in your working relationship or job satisfaction?
3. Don’t Rush to Pass Judgment
Even though I was crushed at the time, losing one of my favorite bosses opened the door to an even better one early in my career. I had just started the job and was beyond excited to be working for this particular executive. A few short months later, he was gone.
As I started to build a new partnership with his replacement, I realized what an incredible manager and people person he was. The longer we worked together, the more trust and respect we developed for each other. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, I realized he was an even better boss than his predecessor.
I never imagined this outcome when he first arrived. But, because I gave him a chance, I got to work for someone who has had a significant influence on my professional development. That wouldn’t be the case if I’d approached the change negatively.
I’ve been on the other side of the coin, too. Sometimes things don’t change for the better – no matter how positive you are. I’ve tried to improve working relationships with a manager or colleague. I’ve asked other company leaders for advice on how to be more successful in my interactions. I’ve initiated crucial conversations with the managers or colleagues involved. Yet there have been instances where none of it worked. If the effort is one-sided, and you’re the only one putting energy into improving the relationship, you probably won’t get very far. In these instances, I began my search for a new job and never looked back.
4. Set Your Course for the Future
When I lost my last “best boss,” it turned out to be the greatest thing to happen to my professional career. It created an opportunity for me to pursue an entirely new path.
After two of my favorite executives left, I had a new plan of action when it happened the third time. When I discovered he was leaving the company, I mapped out what actions I needed to take to be prepared. I researched new ideas. I evaluated the pros and cons of my options. I identified professional certifications and additional training I wanted to take. I was already in a forward-thinking and forward-acting mindset when my boss left.
It was still an emotional moment in my life. But it quickly became one of the most exciting times for me professionally, and it was a milestone moment in my administrative career. It was the start of my journey into entrepreneurship as a virtual assistant which eventually led me to the launch of All Things Admin. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else!
As you begin brainstorming about what positive, forward motions you want to take next, consider asking yourself some of these questions:
- Where are you now?
- Where do you want to go next?
- What do you need to do to get there?
- Are there certifications you want to pursue?
- What training or continuing education classes interest you?
- What skills would you like to learn or enhance?
- Are there professional organizations you should consider joining?
- Should you enlist the support of a mentor or a coach?
What should you do when you lose your favorite boss or job? Set yourself on a path to find an even better one! Stop looking backward. Hit the reset button and focus on your future. When you map out your own path for productive, positive career growth, you lead yourself to a new “best” everything!
If you haven’t already downloaded my free report, “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan,” I encourage you to do it now. It will help you get started on your journey to your next career “best.”
Have you ever lost your “best” manager? How did you cope? Is your current “best” even better? Share your story with us at AdminSuccess@AllThingsAdmin.com!
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.