I have written about Job Transitions in the past, but it has been many years, a dozen to be exact, since I had the personal experience of doing so. It is a great reminder for me of the steps and emotions involved in ending one thing, being in limbo and starting something new.
I recently met with some of our Military Veterans transferring to the civilian world. Some of the words they used to describe their feelings ranged from being uncomfortable, the loss of their identity, to fear of the unknown. They talked about how tough it is to describe their experiences in terms others will fully understand. Every company has their acronyms and internal jargon, the military is that on steroids. No matter what the industry, we find comfort in knowing the rules, written and unwritten as well as who to call when you need help and what to expect when you get it. When we leave that comfortable place, even if we are ready for a change, we can feel a bit untethered. Some of us like that feeling. Some of us do not.
After making the tough decision to make a change, I took time for reflection to assess who I am, what I truly like to do and what gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I organized a closet. I took a trip to Nicaragua and enjoyed the rum and the sun and reminded myself of the value of being in the moment.
During that time I took my own advice and connected with my trusted network of friends, colleagues and professional associates.
When in transition for a completely new job or role or just ready to start looking for your next project, look to your connections and who they know. Not only do they offer a great support structure, they can be good for the soul in that they can help you see yourself in ways you can’t or haven’t given yourself the time to see because you have been up to your neck in your project or your day-to-day work. One of my friends suggested sending an email to 5-10 work colleagues and ask them to write 5 descriptive words about you and send back to you. You might be surprised and affirmed. Those words can be used in your resume or in response to that interview questions, “How would others describe you?” Look for companies that specialize in what you do and like to do and the way you like to do it. LinkedIn is an obvious way to check to see where the people you respect have worked. They can give you the insights into culture, expectations and if they are consultant friendly environments.
If you are in contemplating your next role:
- Connect and reconnect with your personal and professional network.
- Look to those people you respect and where they have worked or who they are connected to.
- Know yourself well, what your strengths are and how you want to use those strengths.
- Know what you don’t want, either in a job, role or work environment.
- Know the kind of culture or leadership that brings out the best in you.
- Practice articulating your experiences so that you don’t miss an opportunity because you couldn’t formulate your thoughts in a concise way and in terms anyone can understand or translate to their business.
- Understand what you might be willing to compromise. For example, is managing a new project, using a new tool, learning a new industry more important than money or is earning money more important than a juicy new project.
- Enjoy the journey.
And, let me know if I can help you.