Personal confession time: I rarely liked a job just the way it was right out of the box. And so one of my favorite career moves was figuring out how to take the job I had and coax it into fitting me better. And it worked. In effect, you can change your job without quitting!
But why would you even want you do that? Sounds like a lot of work that might not get you what you’re looking for anyway. That’s true. But you’re already there, and job hunts take time. Plus there’s no guarantee you’ll land somewhere better. So why not give it a shot?
Examples of job changes I made for myself
Data Proofreader to System Update Manager
Original job: While in grad school, I was hired as a part-time consultant to review customer data records for a major bank’s investment division. The records had different spellings for the same customers, and my job was to catch all of them for cleanup by someone else.
Pretty boring on the surface, right? But it helped pay my bills. More importantly, it gave me a foot in the door. It was a chance to show I’m capable, reliable, and pleasant to work with. Also a chance to meet new people and always be on the alert for new opportunities. Key techniques for internal job change!
New job: One of the people I saw regularly was the IBM Product Manager assigned to our bank. I used to chat with him while I did my work, asking questions now and then about what he was doing. One day I heard him say he needed some backup help maintaining the system code for our traders. That sounded interesting to me. And since I’d studied a little coding in school, I figured I could do it.
I found a book and brushed up on the computer language they used, and told him I’d like to try. Then I showed him what I could do while he supervised. He said I knew enough to be the person who took over when the regular employee was out. And eventually, with patience and time, I stepped in to manage the system changes on my own. With a nice rate increase.
Ticket Seller to Front of House Manager
Original job: Early in my career, I wanted to work in theater production. It was my college major, but I’d never earned any money doing it. Sometimes you just have to find a way in, so I took a job selling tickets for a theater. It was pleasant enough, but I was itching to take on more responsibility.
New job: Again, I did the very best I could to establish a solid reputation of competence, likability, and dependability. And, while doing my regular job, I also looked for things I could suggest to improve our processes. I noticed that the way ticket sales were being recorded didn’t make it easy for the bookkeeper. So I suggested a new method they liked.
I continued to do my job with full dedication. But I also kept coming up with ways to help improve theater operations. And, I befriended the Assistant Producer, who needed a friendly set of ears amid all the offstage drama. After just a few months, there was an opening for Front of House Manager. My friend suggested I apply and recommended me. I got it!
And there were many more examples
I’ve had over 60 jobs in my career, if you count different temping and consulting assignments. And in the vast majority, I always looked for ways to get my job to fit me better. In all but a handful, I found something to help.
I chose these two examples to at least give you a basic idea of how to change your job without quitting — if you just keep your eyes open to opportunity. Even a bad or boring situation can lead to something interesting with YOUR help. Here are some more ideas you might find useful:
15 tips to help change your job without quitting
- Create solid two-way relationships all around you.
- Don’t just point out all the problems — come prepared with solutions.
- Always be looking for better ways and better methods.
- But make sure not to be a know-it-all. A great attitude and personality go far when openings arise.
- Offer ideas with respect, including others in your plans where possible. It’s about the team, not just you.
- That said, also learn to do your own PR without bragging. Share accomplishments and ideas with those above you, while doing it in a way that shows you support your boss and team.
- Look to take on new responsibilities and projects. Especially ones that increase your experience in areas you enjoy.
- Get yourself a specialty others need that you also really like doing. And make sure people know about it.
- Learn new things wherever you can, once again finding things you especially want to add to your job if at all possible.
- Keep your eyes and ears open for information about the company and possible new projects or staff members you may want to connect with.
- Look for new opportunities anywhere and everywhere. You may be surprised where useful info can be found.
- Never do something half way. Even the smallest tasks deserve full commitment. These things show.
- Look for ways to help others without personal gain. Be someone that others know they can rely on and trust.
- Always believe you will find a way.
- FINAL TIP: Enjoy yourself. And enjoy going after the possibilities you come up with. If you’re doing this without smiling or any pleasure at all, it’s not worth it!
Feel free to add this discussion if you have a story to share or advice to offer!
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