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Mentoring

Rarely do we stay in the same job for our entire careers. A cornerstone of career development is finding new challenges that will give us new skills, new experiences. So it’s inevitable that, at some point, you will have to tell your boss that it’s time for you to move on.

As you prepare to have that conversation, I have one key piece of advice I hope you’ll take to heart – leave your job the way you came in.

Before you leave a job, be sure that it’s what you truly want. Consider whether your reason for moving on is the right one. Whether you are looking for a new professional experience, a move to a new city, or more work-life balance, it’s important that your reason to leave is one you have thought about carefully.

Leaving a job can be a difficult decision and it’s not one that you should make in isolation. It’s a perfect discussion to have with a mentor. She or he can act as a sounding board to discuss the reasons you want to move on and help you make sure you are on the right path.

Once you have carefully considered the reason you want to move on and have consulted with a trusted friend or mentor, it’s time to speak with your employer. Be sure that you are honest and transparent with your manager and that you are prepared to clearly articulate your reasons for leaving. Be as calm and professional in that setting as you were during your first days on the job. Your last impression is just as crucial as your first. Who knows, you could work with that person again someday.

This advice is especially important in the Federal Government because we have the unique opportunity to leave a job without leaving Federal service. Whether you want to move to a new city, focus on a new issue area, use your skills differently, or simply are looking for a promotion in your field, you can pursue that change while remaining a Federal employee and continuing to serve the American people.

No matter the reason, if in the end you move on because you want to grow professionally, you won’t go wrong. Remember, we will all likely change jobs several times in our lifetimes. Take advantage of the opportunities you have. Just remember to give the job you are leaving just as much respect as the job you are entering.

Director Archuleta looks out the window at Argonne National Laboratory


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