How to not take baggage from one job to the next

Libby-Jane Charleston

There's nothing like a new job to refresh and revitalize the part of your life that takes up the greater proportion of your week. You can use a new workplace to reassess any negativity you might have carried around with you, courtesy of your last workplace, or you can make a decision to start afresh.

But many of us struggle to remove the baggage of our previous job - it's a little like the baggage we might take from one relationship to the next.

The Collective CEO Lisa Messenger said she has interviewed a person who said some nasty things about his previous employer.

"The interview was going very well until he told me the CEO was a 'ball breaker' who micro-manages the staff and that the culture of the workplace was hideous and that he was 'over it.' This part of the conversation only lasted a matter of seconds, but it was enough for me to change my mind about him. Instantly," Messenger said.

Lisa Messenger from The Collective Hub advises people to wipe their slate clean before they start a new job. Source: Supplied

"If you're going to talk about somebody like that when you have left that workplace, then I don't want that attitude brought into my business."

It's important to remember that even if you haven't had a 'good' work experience, your new job should be an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and leave your last job behind you.

"Every single opportunity and change that presents itself in life is an opportunity to grow. We all have baggage and things that upset us. Instead of bringing baggage from one job to the next, there are ways to turn everything into a positive instead of having a bitch fest," Messenger said.

"In our lives we all consciously choose to leave something behind once it has served its purpose. Choose to look at what you learned from your last job and, no matter what, be loyal and have some respect when you move into your next job. Think about the positive things of your last job, then bite your tongue and move on."

Rowdy McLean, the International keynote speaker on motivation, leadership and culture, said we need to understand the systems of a new job before we start to change the world.

"Before you start the new role, consider what did you like about your old job that you would like to carry over into the new role. Also, consider what you didn't like and be sure not to drag that baggage along with you," McLean said.

Rowdy McLean says every workplace is different so you shouldn't start a new job assuming it will be like the last. Source: Supplied

"Don't assume that people will be the same, behave the same or show up the same. Every workplace is different."

It's also important to understand office politics if you want to get things done.

"Listen far more than you talk to find out who's who in the zoo. A little leverage can go a long way. One individual such as an EA, a particular manager or long term employee can hold all of the keys to the kingdom," McLean said.

Rowdy's Tips

  • Be careful about building alignments too early. Just like on the TV show Survivor, the wrong alignment can bring you undone very quickly.
  • Every workplace has non-negotiables (the absolute no-go behaviors, such as never be late, don't use your mobile phone, 'people here work through lunch'. Learn what they are very quickly and make them part of your daily habits so you fit in.
  • If you headed to the new role thinking the grass would be greener and find everything is the same. Consider that, YOU might be the problem!

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I'm a journalist and author writing across a wide range of topics, including tech, travel, history, business/startups, relationships, beauty & fashion, British royal history, & local stories concerning Charleston, S.C (where I have a long family history on my father's side: hence my surname! ) Former HuffPost Assoc Ed, ABC TV, ATV Beijing correspondent and many more. Author of "Fatal Females." Mother of three boys: I will love them until the Statue of Liberty sits down.


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