Recently I was talking with a few friends at Microsoft.

They had all done something that might seem a little crazy.

They resigned from their current positions.

They moved on!

Prompting me to wonder…

When is the right time to move on?

Asking this question is important. It’s important to think about moving on. It’s important to know three things:

  1. Where you are today
  2. Where you want to be
  3. What you’re willing to do to get there

These sound pretty obvious. And, they are. You need to have a good feel for where you are. That shows situational awareness. You should have an idea of where you want to be. This can be 100% from your own mind, but it’s better if you can have some guidance from a few trusted advisors. And, finally, you should have a solid understanding of what you are willing to do in order to make your next transition.

I’m not suggesting you obsess about your next career move. However, I am suggesting you should know what you want to do… next.

Having a plan to move on may involve a very specific path. Some roles and some industries have stages for advancement. Whether or not your chosen career has a path or not isn’t critical. Just be aware of it and be prepared to plan for it.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
~ Peter Drucker

In the modern work world there is a need to know where you are and where you want to be. This is driven as much by Gig Economy workers as it is by people working along the traditional career ladder. More and more in modern business workplaces roles are being created that have never existed – formally or informally. Be on the lookout for unfulfilled customer engagement opportunities. If you can become especially attuned to these unmet needs you will stand out in your career.

I’m sure we all know people that seem amazingly good at picking just the right role, at the right company, and at the right time. It’s an art and a skill that, truth be told, is combined with a little bit of luck.

So, how do you know?

Sometimes it’s not 100% within your doing to move on. However, you should always be thinking about what you want to do next. Whether in your current company, starting your own thing, or changing industries all together. Plan ahead and do your best to… know when it’s time to move on

Ultimately you should do what you came to do. Whether it’s a personal commitment on a handshake deal or a more formal 2 year apprenticeship.

When you do move on…

This might come across as a bit too “new age” oriented, but I believe people and companies will begin to pay more attention to the HOW you transitioned out of your last job as they do to the WHY. In these cases it will be as much about leaving the job, the program, the effort, and even the earth… a little better than when you arrived. Meaning, leave things better than when you arrived. If you can do this consistently you will stand out in your career.

One way to think about this is to Never Burn a Bridge

Making The Move

In order to make it easier to move on there are a few things you can do.

One of the most important things to consider in a transition is that whatever you do will follow you. It will become part of your legacy and something that precedes you. It’s important to note that last point. You may be very interested in a new job or landing a new client, but one critical point to keep in mind is that you may not get a chance to tell your story. People will ask about you. It is incumbent upon you to make sure that story that precedes you is the one you want it to be.