5 tips how to make a career transition
Recently I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people around what it takes to plan for a career transition.
For some, a job ticks off functional needs – paying the mortgage, have a sense of routine, meet your social requirements.
For many, it’s more than that. Our careers are a deep source of meaning, intellectual stimulation, identity and sense of belonging to a ‘tribe’.
Without getting too hung about the definition of a transition – taking a side-step role, moving down to create space for other personal goals, changing industries – there are common themes that come up for people.
Here are the 5 tips that I’m sharing in the conversations we’re having:
1. It’s more about the process than the outcome
Deciding to transition away from your current line of work and tribe is a process. The outcome may be clear – a new working environment, set of skills you want to leverage further, a different job title.
The process to get there and be clear about the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of the change is what takes the time.
Often, you’ll find it’s not something that is neatly boxed into a personal development plan or wrapped up in a few meetings with your manager.
It requires courage to uncover your true self, ask the deeper questions and explore the feelings and thoughts that come up as a result.
- The process brings emotional work with it – and often there is a point where people prefer to revert to finding a ‘functional’ job vs one that has deeper significance for them.
- I encourage you to push through those moments and do the heavy lifting.
- What you learn about yourself is invaluable.
2. Adopt “Towards” over “Away” thinking
Generally speaking, most of my clients have more clarity about what they DON’T want vs what they DO want.
They can clearly articulate what they want to move away from, what ‘not this anymore’ looks like for them.
This is a great starting point – however needs to be expanded upon further. If we are moving ‘Away’ from something – our thinking is restricted to only what isn’t working for us, how we don’t want to feel or tolerate.
- To help you get into “Towards” thinking – start with your feelings.
- What do you want to feel MORE of in your life? Is that freedom, independence, supporting others, energised?
- Where do those feelings currently exist in your life and how can you transfer elements of it over to your working life? For example if ‘freedom’ is important to you and you feel that more when taking your weekend tramps – what is it about the tramping that lends to that feeling? It may be the ability to wear whatever you want, listen to music, have less time restrictions.
- What will help you recognise when you’re feeling MORE of what you want to move Towards?
3. Embrace the awakenings
When we arrive at career transition crossroads, it can come with some of the popular one-liners such as “feel the fear and do it anyway”, “be bold, you have one life”, “work isn’t everything so don’t take it so seriously”.
These lines can be great motivators – however please don’t underestimate the emotional processing that happens as you work through this.
I’m sure you’ve seen the popular image of “the road to success – what people think it is (straight line) vs what it actually is (squiggly and with lots of peaks and troughs)
- Career transitions bring the gift of awakenings for us – a different possibility and way of showing up for yourself in the world.
- This may translate to not feeling the need to do the long hours you are used too, feeling a deep sense of obligation to be 110% dedicated to your work colleagues or projects.
- Much to your surprise, you may relish the pressure of being “always on” easing up.
Remember this journey is about you – and what you want to gain from it.
4. Be real about where you are at
You are at an advantage if you can plan your career change when it suits you and your life circumstances. Unfortunately, for many it’s thrust upon us and we’re not well prepared for what the changes bring with it.
For some, we’re not in the ideal position of having 3-6 months’ salary saved in the bank.
Whether circumstances have pushed you into career transition or you have decided to make one on your own – be mindful of everything else you have going on around you.
- Review your life circumstances – are you going through a break up of a relationship / moving home / kids in transition?
- Are there restrictions on your time re: taking care of family members who need your support?
- Are you ready for another change? Whilst you may feel excited about the new learnings a change can bring with it, are you ready for the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies it?
- There is no right or wrong answer what you choose to do with the above – the point is to be aware and real with yourself for where you are currently at.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of baby steps
When making changes – it’s easy to jot down the one liner statements of what that may be : contact recruitment companies, meet people in a new field etc etc
Yet within that – lies multiple steps and as soon as you begin to feel overwhelmed – know that you’ve made the step too big for yourself
Some days you’re fired up w energy and can crack through more on your to-do list than you thought possible. Other days, it may feel too hard to even do one small action.
The discipline and beauty of small steps is how they add up to create momentum towards the bigger ones, even if they may not be obvious to you (or on your exact timeframe if you’re the impatient type!)
- At the beginning of each week, write down the top 5 things that you want to accomplish. Notice that these will have many sub components to them. Jot those down as well.
- Now with your current commitments in mind – review what can be realistically done day by day.
- Ideally you want to be taking ONE small action every day – even if it’s as simple as looking up a telephone number or connecting to someone on LI
If you are looking to amp up your career and looking for support and accountability to keep you on track, book a free 30 minute Discovery call with me today.
I’d love to hear which of these tips resonated the most for you – please let me know in the comments below!