The Job Transition Canvas – Ten Reflection Questions to Guide you Through your Next Move

Changing jobs is incredibly exciting. Most of us spend so much time at work that moving into a new job is really a transformation of what you think about all day, who you spend time with, our job includes some of your conflicts, achievements, part of your identity. 

So it’s understandable that a professional move often comes with a lot of reflecting about what you actually enjoy, what your ambitions are, how you want to spend your time. 

But here’s a problem that I observed from coaching both new hires as well as departing team members: Between the thoughtful decision for a job change and actually starting the new job often lie months. During that time you are preparing handovers, saying goodbyes, (hopefully) enjoying a little time off before finally launching into onboarding at your new job. With such a busy schedule, it’s easy to lose track of your once well-formulated intentions and ambitions. All of a sudden you are two months into your new job with new deadlines and expectations to meet and have lost sight of why you started this endeavour in the first place. 

So I’ve started handing team members and friends this piece of paper as a structured way of documenting their thoughts around both their exit and their entry during a job change. It is meant as a personal reflection tool that you can hold yourself accountable to. I recommend to print it (A3 is ideal) and sit down with it along with an inspiring beverage of your choice. It should be pretty self-explanatory, so let’s just take a brief tour: 

Top section: 

This area is intended for reflection on the move in general. Which environment are you leaving? Which one are you headed for? How does all of this feel? A lot of people will ask you this question, so you might as well think it through.

The following sections can be filled out in any order that feels natural: 

Left side: 

This is section is about the past with three reflection questions on what you are taking away from your last job: Personal development, things you learned and people you would like keep in your network. 

Right side: 

These are your aspirations for the new job. Things you are looking for, that you want more of, things that you want to get away from. And, very important: Your golden rules. These are the personal principles, values, or mantras that you want to stay true to and that you will hopefully revisit once you’ve been in your new position for a few weeks.

Middle section: 

Between the old and the new, this is to explore your motivation for the move and, very importantly, what should stay consistent: Your personal purpose that motivates you beyond a single job.

Feel free to try it out, change and adapt it and let’s change jobs with full heart & mind! 

An adapted version appeared in the German magazine Neue Narrative in August 2019: