New Job, Same Company: What’s An IT Leader To Do?

Moving From One Job To Another Can Be A Big Hassle
Moving From One Job To Another Can Be A Big Hassle

Changing To A New Job In The Same Company Can Be Difficult

Times of change can be difficult for everyone, including IT Leaders. We all know how hard it can be to lose your job – in fact I think that we’ve probably either experienced it or have friends who have gone through it. What this means is that we all have a basic understanding of what to do if it happens. But what if you don’t lose you job, it just changes on you. What do you do then?

When an IT department shrinks, there are suddenly fewer people to do all of the work that was being done before. If you were working on a project that all of a sudden becomes less important, then there’s a good chance that you may get “repurposed” to work on a new (to you) project. Got any skills to make that transition?

Ways To Make The Change Go More Smoothly

In my life I’ve moved residences a number of times. Sometimes they were big cross-county moves, and sometimes they were short across town moves. What I’ve found is that the big cross-county moves always went better. That’s because I took the time to sort things out, packed properly, and scheduled enough time to do things right. The cross-town moves were always a disaster – I’d throw things in the car and move them bit by bit losing things and never taking the time to put things where they really deserved to go.

Likewise, moving to a new IT job in the same company can be a disaster if you don’t do a good job of managing the move. Unlike going to work for a new company, a lot of the players and the rules are the same. However, it’s not the same job – there are differences. This is where things can trip you up.

In order to provide you with a little guidance on how best to manage this move, Jane Porter has gone out and talked with people who have lived through it in order to get their advice on what you need to do to make this a successful move:

  • Talk, Talk, Talk: When you get assigned to a new IT job, it’s sorta like being married to two people for awhile – your old boss and your new boss. Just like having two spouses, things can get awkward quickly if you aren’t careful. What you need to do is as soon as possible sit down with both bosses and review what they are expecting you to do. Instead of having you push back when they want you to do the work of two people, have them come to a mutual agreement on what and when you’ll be doing work for both of them.
  • Learn The Rules (Again): you used to know how things worked but you can no longer make that assumption. Silly little things like when your boss expects you to be available and if a weekly status report is still required are some of the details that you need to quickly get a handle on. Once again, communication is the key here: asking what is expected is the best way to make sure that nothing is missed.
  • Don’t Close Your Door: it’s not just your new boss that you need to be talking with, but also your new co-workers. If your job was just created, then nobody knows what you are supposed to be doing. If you are replacing someone who got let go, then you’ve got to help everyone work through their resentment of you. Either way, you’ve got to take the time to build bridges not only to people within your new department but also to those in other departments that you will now be working with.
  • Prepare To Leave (Again): nothing lasts forever, and your new job just might last for a very short time. All too often after a reorganization, something will happen that will require you to return to your old job for awhile in order to deal with a big issue. Although successfully solving problems is a good thing, you need to remember that your career no long lies with this old job. Keep your new boss updated while you are gone and make sure that your new tasks are being covered by someone.
  • Network: hopefully this goes without saying, but we’ll cover it again anyway. You need to start reaching out to everyone from your first day on the new job. Your old network is still there, but its value is now less. You need a new network that can support you in your new job and you are the one who is going to have to build it.

What All Of This Means For You

You can go to countless book stores and find books on how to start a new job at a new company. However, starting a new job within your existing company is a bit more difficult because the rules are not so clear.

Realizing that you need to treat this change of jobs as seriously as you would joining a new company is a good first step. Next you’re going to have to take the steps that we’ve outlined in order to quickly make yourself valuable and well connected in your new position.

Change happens and there’s not a lot that we can do about it. Savvy IT Leaders understand that developing the political skills needed to switch jobs within a company can go a long way in boosting their careers…

What do you think is the #1 skill that you need in order to do a good job when you suddenly find yourself in a new position?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As the global recession starts to fade away, IT Leaders who are searching for a new job are starting to feel some new hope and IT Leaders who still have jobs are starting to get the itch to take a look around at what other opportunities there might be out there. Sounds like it’s time to get some resumes in order…