Facing a career transition

Whenever I meet someone to discuss their career needs, it is not unusual for them to feel as if the career issues they face are unique.  While the specifics are unique, facing a career transition is not.

How can I be so sure?  Well, besides my years of experience in this area, there is also an author who writes about the stages of adult development which MUST include career/life transitions.  The author is Gail Sheehy who has two books of interest:  NEW PASSAGES and UNDERSTANDING MEN’S PASSAGES.

When I first read Gail’s book, I was so relieved to know that it is natural to face these transitions – that we don’t need to know what we want to be at age 20.  Even if we did, we would face a time when we questioned this choice.  This relief quickly ended when I faced my first career transition.  Who would ever want to feel the distress of this time of questioning?  YUCK!

Gail describes the natural stages of adult development:  building stages and transition times.  During building stages you feel energized and excited by your life and your career.  Then, suddenly, without warning, you enter into a transition time.  During this time you feel confused, anxious, distressed.  Sometimes you know what caused the transition to occur, sometimes not.  Being human, it is natural to want to get out of these transition times as quickly as possible.  Who wants to feel the “YUCK”?  We all want to feel the “GOOD STUFF” of being in a building stage.  If, however, we don’t take the opportunity to explore what the next steps need to be while we are in the transition time, we will keep bouncing back to the transition no matter how hard we try to push ourselves into a building stage.  The result is to prolong the transition.

Most of us have never been taught how to move through this transition time.  Most of us have never been taught how to create a career/life vision and plan.  The worst time to learn this is during a transition time.  Why?  We need to add to the learning the management of emotions to ensure that we are not making choices based on emotion.  However, again because we are human, it is usually during the time of transition that we have the need to learn the skills necessary to make a wise transition.  The first step is to understand that this is a natural transition and that the emotions need not guide you.  By using a process you can guide the emotions for more effective results.  The second step is to find a process to develop a career/life vision and plan that uses your needs, wants and desires to direct the next steps of your life and your career.  Using these two steps, you can manage the “YUCK” and lead your life to a new area of “GOOD STUFF”.



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