When we are in the midst of a career transition trying to figure out what to do next, it’s easy to get stuck. We usually focus on our present job, reeling over all the negative aspects of the job that leave us yearning to do something new and different. But we can’t figure out what that ‘new and different’ is. We fall into the negative abyss and can’t dig our way out.
When your career gets derailed
Early in your career everything was working quite well. You graduated with a degree in accounting, spent time in both private and public sectors attaining positions of greater responsibility, and were on track to become a controller.
Then the recession hit, you lost your job, and had to settle for a low paying, office manager’s job to support your family. Fast – forward to the present. Your career has evolved away from the things you love to do, accounting and finance, and into a human resources role. Yuck!
Don’t panic. First, focus on previous jobs that brought you the most satisfaction and make a list of all the aspects of those jobs that worked for you. Categorize the list by ‘must have’, ‘nice to have’, and ‘frosting on the cake’.
Next, start your job search campaign, making sure you honor your list as you evaluate every new career opportunity. Don’t settle for less than what you need to be completely happy in your next move.
Your past holds keys to a satisfying career in the future
When you are in career transition ask yourself the following:
* What goal or part of your life have you put on the back burner because the timing wasn’t right?
* What dream or goal have you given up on?
* Is your life one of your choosing? If not, which parts are not?
The answers to these questions will provide clues to help you decide what direction to take next. Be open to new ideas and avoid dismissing career alternatives prematurely because you ‘think’ they are unrealistic. Do your homework to explore the viability of each option before narrowing your list.
Evaluate the building blocks of your career
Another way to identify career options is to look at your work history as a series of building blocks from which a number of career options could emerge.
For instance, early in her career, Susan earns a degree in business and lands her first job as a marketing specialist with a pharmaceutical firm.
Later on she takes a lateral transfer as a social media advertising specialist and enrolls in school to learn Web design.
Fast – forward several years. She stops out to raise a family while starting a home – based business in an entirely unrelated field, medical transcription. Did I mention she worked in her mom’s medical office during high school and college?
The possibilities for future careers in this scenario are endless. The point is, you need to evaluate each and every block of experience and determine what worked and what didn’t.
In the above example, entrepreneurship may have been the most appealing; or perhaps it was the idea of working for a large pharmaceutical that developed cutting edge medications. Starting a business as a web developer for small, emerging pharmaceuticals could be a viable option for Susan.
When you are in career transition focus less on what drives you nuts about your current job. Instead take time to evaluate your past and look for those nuggets that drove you to do your best and be happiest at work. These will be the keys to unlock your best career yet. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.