What to expect during a career change

Sometimes moving overseas is accompanied by a shift in career paths. Are you ready for a career change? This article is not meant to discourage you but presents the harsher side of career changes so that you can prepare and persevere through them.

Career change is one of those things that could work out great or frustrate you completely. If you are ready to be completely challenged in your new field and start afresh, go for it! If not, then find an industry where you can use the skills you have already acquired over your career. Perhaps you don’t have an option and need to start afresh like I did when I moved across continents. Here are some lessons that I had to learn as I worked through my new career.

career-change-copy-2You will most likely have to start all over again. Depending on how different your new career path is – you might end up starting right at the bottom or at a mid-level position. This might or might not be determined by your skills and years of experience. Starting at a level lower than your current level will include its own set of challenges such as more administrative busy work or having to deal with too many managing levels breathing down your neck. Stay humble and power through it – keeping your end goal in sight at all times.

career-change-copy-3Relearning everything. Your boss will either treat you like a champion or will try to teach you everything – even the basics of Outlook. Be prepared to smile through it all and not let it discourage you.

career-changeReestablish every level of expertise that your industry already has. You will be expected to prove yourself at every step. Even if you are your current industry expert, you might have to climb the career ladder all over again. Keeping your focus fixed on your goal can help you get through this challenge.

career-change-copyFlexibility will be important if you need to take a salary cut to fit into your new industry. When opting for a career change, assessing the company and your new manager are more important than you might think.

During the months when I dealt with all of the above struggles, it really helped to start the day with this question: How am I planning to make this day the best ever? Some days will be harder than others but they will all roll into better days. Many have thrived through career changes – you can too.



Rebellion in the workplace that works

Can you think of someone you consider a workplace rebel? Someone who likes to break all the rules, do things differently in a stupid way, and usually get into trouble with ‘management’? I can too. In fact I can think of several rebels who ended up being unsuccessful in their roles because they crossed some boundaries. But I can also think of several rebels who actually thrived and management seemed to encourage their style of thinking.

Why does rebellion at work serve some and hurt others? A lot depends on answering the ‘why’ behind rebellion and let’s explore this intention a little more.

Managers and teammates judge behavior based on their interpretation of the intention. If a majority of your objectives are to help the company succeed, your intentions become very clear and act in your favor. But if you’re someone who likes to be hailed as the rule-breaker so much that you destroy others around you, you can completely ruin your favorable sprint at the company.

Do managers generally dislike rebels then? Not necessarily. But challenging everything and not picking your battles wisely will only hurt your workplace reputation.

You don’t have to be the say-yes-to-everything kind of employee either. An easy way to judge if your attitude will work in your favor is to ask a few important questions:


Do you consider yourself a workplace rebel? How has that worked out for you? Feel free to comment below or leave a comment on The Lead Journal’s Facebook page.



Maximize the first few weeks on your new job

Your first few weeks on the job can dictate your performance and reputation for possibly the rest of your time at the new company so be proactive about the reputation you build.

I really enjoy leading onboarding for new hires. Getting someone who is new to the company plugged in with ‘why we do what we do’ stories is quite a refreshing responsibility. But for the new hire, onboarding and orientation basically means an overwhelming amount of training schedules and introductions to new people and terms.

As a new hire, you have the opportunity to start afresh and prove your value to the company right from the start.

Prove that you’re smart:

First the obvious – pay attention during training. Don’t let your mind wander even when the information begins to go off in tangents. Instead soak in all the information that is passed on to you. That includes information from trainers, team mates, and informal chats. This should not be hard considering that all you have to do is listen and maybe take notes.

Nothing screams “incompetent” louder than when an employee does not have answers to the most basic questions despite being on the job for weeks. Show initiative and prove your competence.

Prove that you’re serious about performance:

Start thinking about how you can excel over the next few months. Find out the measurable for success at the company and for your manager. Once you have a concrete idea about what success looks like at your company, plot your guidelines to help you achieve.

Ask questions during your first few weeks. You will be excused for almost every silly question that you ask while you’re still considered new to the team. Full forms of abbreviations, significance of processes, names of team members – find out everything. Be empowered.

Prove that you’re a team player:

Be social and pleasant. Some of your new team mates will be more interested in leading introductions  than others, which means that you have to take the initiative to introduce yourself. Don’t miss your opportunities to say hello and ask people about their stories.  Most people love sharing their work stories.

Understand your manager and your team – observe and learn their personalities, work styles, and treat them with respect. These early relationships that you establish can impact the rest of your time at the company.

All the best for those first few weeks. You got this!


Start planning for that promotion today

Photo credit: Pixabay

“Work a little so you can ball a lot.” – Tom, Parks and Rec.

Create the position that you want.

Recently I heard a story about an employee who waited for his boss to promote him and ended up disappointed. His company was going through some changes and he observed that there was a need for a full-time deputy manager position. He shared the idea with some friends who encouraged him to apply.  But he ignored their advice and decided that if a position was budgeted, his boss would surely recommend him. A week later the company announced that his colleague, who sat right across from him, had been promoted to the newly established deputy manager position.

Sometimes reminders about your skills and expertise for a new role can works wonders for your career growth. Companies have problems and sometimes problems create vacancies.  When you see a need, even before the vacancy is advertised, think of ways in which you can step up to the role. Draft a job description and make your pitch about how you would solve the problem. It’s important to prove that you really are trying to solve the problem. Be prepared for the possibility of first getting the job without a raise. But if you prove yourself and your company is not in the business of slavery, a promotion and raise will not be far away.

Apply for that role instead of waiting around to be picked.

I heard Evelyn’s story a few years ago. Evelyn worked at a company for four years and was considered the data management genius in her zone. The company went through some changes and a data manager position was created. Everyone who heard about it knew that the obvious choice would be Evelyn. Her friends had even started planning a celebration for the potential promotion but a few days after the position was announced, a less competent employee was promoted. To make things worse, Evelyn was asked to assist this colleague to become an expert in data management.

The employee who was promoted had a history of conflicts because she was not a team player. So we know that it wasn’t charming personality that did the trick. A few months into the role, this employee ended up quitting the company.

I have heard of so many people who wait for years to get promoted at work but never do. This is not because they aren’t great but because they let opportunities just fly by and end up waiting for their colleagues and bosses to determine their own career progress. Brush up your skills and CV and apply for that new role. Give them a case they can’t reject. But if you do get rejected, your ability to treat the rejection as a professional can still get you on the management’s radar for all the right reasons.

Turn that ‘acting manager’ position to an official promotion.

My least favorite kind of promotions are the temporary acting promotions. When someone is asked to fill an acting head position for months or years till the right person is hired. Of course, there are those who don’t want to get promoted to their acting roles and I am not referring to them. I am referring to those who are the perfect fit for the real role but are content at getting exploited in that acting position until the boss promotes them.

I have known Neeta for a long time now. Neeta had been the sales assistant for her company for two years. When her supervisor resigned, Neeta was asked to step in as the acting manager because not only was she smart, she had managed her boss’ responsibilities when her boss went on vacations. She had proven to be a leader. Neeta led the team as their acting manager for about three months before she was offered a promotion to the official role. You would expect her to be thrilled and accept the role immediately. Instead, she declined.

Everyone who heard about it told her that she was a fool. It was only after a few of her trusted colleagues drilled some sense into her did she realize how foolish she really was! At that time, she was working extra hours, at no extra pay and tons of extra stress. So why did she decline an opportunity that would give those extra stresses an official title, more pay and let her progress in her career? She thought she was not good enough.

Neeta is one of those people who measure by outcomes but don’t seek feedback. Neeta had failed to seek specific feedback from her supervisor about her performance in the acting manager position. Fortunately for her, her boss offered the role to her again after a few months. This time she did not decline. Since then she has progressed in her career beyond that company. But she considers declining the first promotion offer as one of her most foolish decisions, one that could have cost her major career growth.

Learn how to evaluate your outcomes. If you are not confident in your own abilities, no one else will be. For a company, finding an internal candidate to fill any need is preferred since they have already been part of the company. It is important to prioritize your responsibilities in an acting role in such a way that your successes can shine quickly and consistently. Ask for feedback and follow through on commitments. Take initiative and don’t let your seeming modesty ruin an opportunity.


Write for TOM

The Overseas Magazine has amazing guest authors! In fact, some of the most read articles were written by our guest authors. You can be one too!

Everyone loves a good story and practical tips make life easier. Do you prefer having a format or guiding questions? Email your request to editor@theoverseasmagazine.com


How to submit your article or comic:

If you have something original and interesting to share, you can email your article or comic to editor@theoverseasmagazine.com. Articles will be edited for sound formatting and will be published when the content is approved. A good word limit for our posts is 2000 words but you can choose to keep it shorter.

Please use the following format when sending in articles:

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Below are topics that you could write about if you’re looking for inspiration.

Business Operations:

  • Do you know an entrepreneur who would like to be featured on The Overseas Magazine? We would love to connect with them and tell their story.
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  • Do you have an awesome employer? Tell us what makes them awesome.


Living Overseas:

  • Have you lived overseas? How was the experience? What advice will you give to a friend who is planning to move there?
  • Do you have any advice for families as they prepare to travel overseas? Do you have any advice for spouses and children living overseas? What about pets?
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  • Share about your recent travel experience. Remember that you can always request for guiding questions by sending a Facebook message or email to The Overseas Magazine.
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  • Tell us what you think about current news and events around the world. Voice your opinion!

Thanks for considering and please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Studying while working full-time

Pursuing a study course while working can be the most efficient use of your time. It’s especially important while you are living overseas with the possibility of returning to your country.

You can achieve more in a smaller span of time in terms of both work performance and personal development. Agreed that this can be the most exhausting endeavor you ever take on. It will demand consistent discipline and commitment and the reward will be sweet.

Being organized comes in most handy during this time. Keeping track of your assignments and work schedules is key to maintaining a consistent balance between the two commitments. It should help you begin and end your work day at sane hours. Keeping a written track of schedules will also free up your brain to retain study information. Maintain a calendar or set reminders to stay on track without getting overwhelmed. Some days are more demanding than others so being flexible with your schedule always helps.

Recognize your peak energy hours and schedule your priorities during those hours. If your employer is sponsoring your course, chances are that you can schedule study hours even during traditional work time. If you do not have that advantage, manage the time before and after work hours wisely. That does not mean that you need to sacrifice your social life permanently but being disciplined about your priorities will benefit you in the long run.

Your study course will either make you more successful at your job or it will offer some respite from your monotonous work schedule. Keep the end in mind to stay on track and whatever you do, don’t give up.

Team Issues? Sprinkle a dose of Care!

Employee engagement is directly proportional to how appreciated your employees feel. By ‘feel’ I am not referring to their emotions alone. No matter what personality types you have on your team, here are five simple ways to improve your team’s engagement and performance.

Value their time. No matter how cool a boss you may be, your team can remain disengaged if you waste their time and effort. Inefficient projects, inadequate planning and failure to implement ideas effectively result in lack of motivation. This requires a manager to put in thought when designing team objectives and projects. It is also better to provide some free time to your team when there’s nothing pressing to do instead of constantly keeping them busy just because ‘they’re getting paid for it’. If you don’t value your team’s time, they will not value yours or the company’s.

Provide effective feedback. What’s worse than no feedback? Ineffective or delayed feedback. Providing feedback on your team’s performance shows that you’re paying attention. Affirmative feedback and constructive feedback – both work as long as you discern the timing well.

Related: Effective Constructive Feedback

Encourage leave days and breaks. Have you heard of companies that grant unlimited leave days to their employee? It works for them because it improves employee efficiency in a lot of ways. Employees work harder and don’t mind long hours because they know that they can take a break from work when they need to. Therefore, it works in favor of both employers and employees. Even if you’re the boss of the smallest team in the company and cannot change assigned leave days, you can find ways to help your team maximize breaks and leaves without breaking rules. It will be rewarding.

Treat them to a meal. Food and especially the good free kind is one of the easiest ways to show your team that you care.

Stand up for them. Your decisions affect your team. Leaders are respected because they protect their teams and help them succeed. Recommend your team for capacity building initiatives and promotions. Help them get those incentives and bonuses. Leaders who simply pursue their own agenda break their teams up and fast track the company towards failure.

Employees are your BIGGEST assets. Treat them royally.