“Should I stay or Should I Go” – Career Transition Planning

Having reached a certain age (myself recently 21 yet again) the thought for many people at work may stray toward stepping back from the day to day hectic working life. The long commute or hours travelling from one country to another may allow one to reflect on a different lifestyle or a change of career direction. I guess if we were to generalise, as we move on through our careers or working life our priorities tend to shift. We all see the wonderful stories of people braking sharply from a corporate or business existence to something completely different. For example a cup cake/bread baking business, running a small coffee shop or using the business experience in a charitable or third sector organisation. 

In the book by Dave Francis  “Managing Your Own Career” there is a short but interesting questionnaire about career drivers. I use it occasionally in my work with clients transitioning careers. Now the results from people conducting the questionnaire do highlight some general patterns in terms of career paths and needs from a career. Some executives & managers may be looking for autonomy, status, material rewards &  power and influence over resources etc. Whereas, those in more people centred occupations regularly focus upon affiliation, creativity and a search for meaning in their work. Now as I stated earlier these are generalised and anecdotal findings but nevertheless seem to follow a pattern. So where am I going with all this? One statistic that always intrigues me is the search for meaning in careers & work as we move through our lives. The sense of “surely there is more to work than this” is stated over and over again with my clients. However its turning the dream into reality that can be the hardest part of the journey. 

So with that in mind here are the first set of questions you may want to ask yourself before jumping headlong into a career transition. This is the planning or an assessment phase that is a vital process to be able to make sense of the issues going forward.

  1. Planning. sounds obvious but without time scales, targets etc how on earth will you arrive at your destination. Some call this the “dream phase” though seems a little prosaic for something that may be life changing.
  2. Where are you now? Create your career narrative (my previous blog will help you with this) how did you arrive at this point in your career, challenges met and overcome. How do you want to use you experiences and talents in your new career?
  3. Transferable Skills? Really builds on the previous point – what do you bring to the party for your new career possibilities? Leadership, management, negotiation, sales, marketing etc how do these skills translate into any potential new role? Its quite a rejuvenating process to know that you probably already have all the necessary skills and abilities to take you forward.
  4. Reality Check? OK here is the tough love……………do you have the resources to get you through the transition. Perhaps financial resources i.e. to help you with the time necessary to move on, perhaps staying in your present employment until you can move on safely. Many do as it may be the best way forward. However, a reality check may mean – do you really want to change career? Do you need more qualifications or experience to move into your preferred career? All things to consider.
  5. Motivation? Again relates to the last point from the reality check – do you really want to change if so how much and what are your drivers to sustain you in tough times?
  6. Options Easy one really – is your change forced upon you and what are the time scales involved with the enforced change? Do you have plans A, B, C if not then you may need to think about strategies if plan A doesn’t come to fruition. You always need plan B if things do not pan out.

So this is stage one for your life and career change. No one said it would be easy. However and as I can testify having completed the career change process after 30 years in the graphics industry, my  journey toward work and coaching psychology turned out to be the most rewarding transition I could have made.

For the next blog I will continue this journey of discovery for career change, however please contact me should you want to discuss the career transition package I have developed. Designed to give you the framework to move toward a fulfilling, sustainable and happy future at work.