Is the grass greener on the other side? Maybe.
If you’re thinking of making a change from your current work environment to a different one, learn as much as you can before you make the leap. Some transitions are easier to work through than others — whether it’s a change of industry, a change of culture or a change of scenery.
We asked expert Aerotek recruiters for their advice on how to manage a change in work environment and set yourself up for success in your new surroundings.Switching industries
When moving from one field to another, maintain a degree of familiarity with the work you’ll be doing to help to manage the change.
Aerotek Senior Professional Recruiter Sam Yeomans says, “I see a lot of switches from architecture to construction, and those tend to go well because the two industries are closely related.”
Senior Professional Recruiter Matt Wiehe adds, “The move from food service or hospitality to a more office-centered customer service environment is usually smooth. The goal of providing great customer care doesn’t change.”
Another good rule is “ask, don’t assume.”
Aerotek Senior Professional Recruiter Jackie Ross says, “It’s common for people to think manufacturing environments are loud or dingy. That’s often not the case, and it varies greatly from site to site. Instead of assuming, it’s always good to just ask what it’s like.”Adapting to new cultures
The transition to a new work environment often involves more subtle changes. It’s rarely as obvious as the difference between working in a library versus a sawmill. Every workplace has its own culture; and it can show up in ways that make the work environment distinct.
Jackie Ross recalls, “I once worked with a contract employee who struggled with the transition to a work environment with a shared workspace. It was just different for him. I suggested going to lunch with his new coworkers to get to know them better. Now they work really well together.” Reaching out to coworkers for advice is rarely a bad idea, and the bonds you form can help you be a more effective team.Deciding between field work and office work
Sometimes work environment transitions happen within the same industry, and even within the same company. One example is the transition from field work to office work or vice versa.
If you’re in an industry where employees are tasked with either field or office work, Matt Wiehe recommends taking a good look at your expectations before making a switch: “Many of the struggles I’ve seen involve a misconception that the grass is always greener on the other side. Make sure that such a big change is really what you want, because it’s not ideal to request a move to a new environment only to find out you miss your old one.”Working remotely
Another common transition within a career track is moving from on-site to work-from-home.
Aerotek Recruiting Manager Morgan McCormick works with many people who make this change, and says, “I advise new remote employees to over-communicate. Always let your manager know when you’re logged in and when you aren’t. Also, keep an eye on the tendency to overwork late into the night because your new work environment is so easily accessible. It’s a good idea to set ‘office hours’ for yourself to avoid burnout.”What they all have in common
Not all work environment transitions are the same, but there are some common elements of successfully managing a transition.
Preparation and strong communication are both very important.
Matt Wiehe recommends, “Always do your research prior to seeking a change, and maybe even see if you can do some cross-over work beforehand. Once you’ve made a switch, communicate that you want to keep learning and growing. That way employers will be more understanding.”
Confidence is also key.
Sam Yeomans says, “It’s really important to proceed with confidence. Being timid about trying new things or getting out of your comfort zone in a new position can — fairly or unfairly — send the wrong message about your work ethic. Remember that even if you’re learning, there’s always an opportunity to take more initiative.”Learn more
Are you working through a career transition? Check out some of our past articles on the subject: “Six Tips for Navigating Management Transitions,” and “From Permanent to Contract Employee: How to Successfully Make the Transition.”Get help
f you’re considering a switch from a familiar work environment to one you’ve got less experience in, reach out. You can always talk with an Aerotek recruiter for expert advice that pertains to your particular situation.