Whether the decision was yours or theirs, changing jobs sucks.
In fact, transitioning from one place of employment to another can be one of life’s most stressful events, right up there with getting divorced, having a kid, and navigating signage on the 401.
But once you shift employment from one place to another, the Internet’s professional hive-mind is often more interested in how you share a career update than what you’ll be doing next. It’s no longer enough to update a social media profile by thanking your former co-workers and sharing your excitement for the new road ahead.
Whether you’re switching industries, moving between cities, or even “taking some time off,” you have to set yourself apart and treat news of your new gig like a product launch or corporate merger: with confetti, fanfare, and a hopefully a few new followers.
Announce to the World…Literally
Most employees limit career messaging to closed networks of family, friends, and relevant personal contacts. To make a giant splash at the new office swimming pool, hire a skywriter to fly a customized banner through local airspace above cities across Canada. Whether you live in Vancouver, Winnipeg, or St Andrews by-the-Sea, carry your message to folks driving on the highway, sitting on a train, or watching a Jays game. Coordinate with a local airshow event calendar and use the listing Bruce moves from Senior Manager to Director: new email; same cell.
(Remember: airplane mastheads limit bulletins to 50 characters or less, and hyperlinks won’t work unless your audience happens to be skydiving and can open Safari in the cloud.)
Corporations often send notices of C-Suite roster updates to media outlets like MarketWatch, Bloomberg, and, you guessed it, Canadian Business. Take things one step further by scheduling in-person interviews on TV, radio, or any YouTube channel with a green screen and “Top 10” logo in the background. When sending your press release, remember that PR is a sales tool: ignore irrelevance and remind viewers that you’re eager to serve clients even more effectively and that oh, by the way, you love referrals. Don’t forget a pull-quote to help with promotion, such as “I want to spend time in my backyard,” or “I just couldn’t stand Todd.”
Plan a Flash Mob
Little known fact: downtown workers love to be surprised with product samples of Pringles and recreations of Michael Jackson videos on Tuesdays at 10. To achieve maximum impact with a similarly interactive flash mob, enlist several hundred volunteers dressed as various characters from Moana with the promise of “lots of possible exposure on the big screen at Yonge & Dundas.” Consider miming your journey from Exit Interview to First Day while distributing business cards taped to tiny packets of Pizza Pizza. Don’t forget to curate an online poll to crowdsource everyone’s favorite Bruno Mars song and, if possible, get video for “added engagement over social.”
Stage a Play
If public (and free) flash mobs aren’t your thing, consider self-producing a private (and paid) one-person show dramatizing your life, from the time you were born to the moment you update your LinkedIn work history. After drafting a script (typically 45–350 pages long), hold a workshop in a local theater studio with at least one actor from the show Suits. Title the show Updated Contact Information. Remember, when creating characters based on your life, don’t use names of real people (ex: “Bobby” becomes “Dobby”). To add revenue, negotiate a liquor license for beer and wine. Don’t forget the Facebook event page: those “Interested” clicks are nice to include in a branded content deck down the road.
Start a Podcast
Don’t start a podcast.
So, if you’re working through a job upheaval, focus less on the narrative and more on the evolution. There’s always time for the t-shirt cannon at your first client event remind folks that, yes…you love referrals.