So you’re ready to make a career transition. That’s a big deal and there’s a lot of important things to consider before diving in.
In fact, research suggests that a significant number of people may end up just as unhappy, or even more unhappy, after a career transition.
That’s scary, but it makes sense.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, career transitions can be a major source of stress and may even lead to negative outcomes, such as depression and anxiety.
Far too often people find that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, and the challenges and stressors they faced in their previous career have simply been replaced with new ones.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to make a complete pivot in your career, a fresh start, a new industry, a new city– whatever you want– and end up aligned, fulfilled, and happy. The key is that you have to transition in a way that works.
But let’s begin with what doesn’t.
The old-school method
This is when you begin with assessments, review the resume, find transferable skills and start your job search from that point. It feels like that would be the most logical and practical approach, right? It’s what most career coaches and outplacement firms will do. In fact, it’s what I used to do too. Nonetheless, it doesn’t work.
In my experience I would find that the majority of people who went through a similar process with me, or another coach, found themselves just as unhappy within one year in the new job, as they were in the old one. They felt just as empty and misaligned as they did before they started.
Therefore, what does it take to find fulfillment in your work?
The answer is complicated, but first and foremost, it takes work that aligns with your values and interests. It also helps if there are positive relationships with colleagues and opportunities for growth and development.
What I discovered in my work with clients was that most of them couldn’t answer this question, “what does it look like to work in alignment with your values and interests?”
It is actually a more challenging question than you may think. In the US we usually make career decisions by our junior year of college or around 19 years of age. We can’t buy a beer, but society expects us to have the capacity to make major life decisions.
Sometimes we make career decisions based on family legacy. Who wants to be the first person in five generations to NOT go to medical school?
But no matter how we’ve come to these career decisions we are not the same today as we were when we made them.
Let me repeat that.
We are not the same person today that we were when we chose our career.
Life happens, we gain experience, we grow, we mature, we change. The person we used to be no longer exists. Yet when we are thinking of our next career, we often go back to the same mindset of the past. We assume we have to follow the same path.
Yes we might try to tweak it a little, but basically we don’t stray far. So, how do we break this cycle?
The answer is self-reflection.
When was the last time you sat down and thought about your core values? When was the last time you thought about what you enjoy doing? Or what you hate doing? How about what your dream career would really look like? Have you considered that? Or have you just focused on wanting out of where you are?
Most career coaches will skip over this part. They want to make progress, they want to get that resume updated for you and start getting you interviews. Because that’s what they think you want.
And, they may be right.
But, it isn’t what you need.
To sum it all up
If you’re considering a career transition, consider taking a brief pause– even for a few days. spend that time in deep reflection. Discover who you’ve become in this past decade and who you want to be as you transition into this next career.
If you take this step first, you’re setting yourself up for success in your career transition. The future is yours. Make it powerful!
You don’t have to fly solo in this career transition. I’ve got the blueprint. The exact steps you need to take, when, and how to take them. Make your next career the right career.
Learn more about Re3 - my signature career transition system - click here to learn more.