I recently had a client, David, who after 15+ years of employment, advancement and promotions with the same company, found his career at a standstill. His manager encouraged him to stay put because opportunities may be on the horizon, but with downsizing and layoffs happening across other departments David saw a bleak future ahead of him and decided to take control of his career and look for a new job.
Like many people in David’s situation, career changes can be difficult to face. But career changes are a part of life. And the quicker you can recognize change and make adjustments in your career, the easier and more successful your career will be.
Just like the weather, careers have seasons. The springtime is like starting out in a new job. Everything is fresh, new, and exciting. The summer is when you hit your stride, you’re confident, making significant contributions, and your job is actually FUN!
During the fall, you’re a seasoned veteran in your comfort zone and an expert in your role. Strangely, this is also the time when many professionals and executives begin thinking about a career change. Some become antsy for a new challenge or a bigger step up the corporate ladder to change into a deeper, more meaningful career.
David was in the winter season of his career. This is the final phase of your job when you realize that change is inevitable, and that you must move on.
Whether you find yourself being pushed out of the nest due to corporate mergers or downsizing, or you’ve made the decision for change on your own, the quicker you recognize and respond to change, the quicker you can take control and get your career on the RIGHT track.
Most professionals change careers 4-7 times during their lifetime. For David, it was his 3rd, and I’m happy to say that he navigated through the storm beautifully. We created a step-by-step career transition plan and within just a few weeks he was considering job offers from two different companies.
If your career is in a fall or winter season, then here is your assignment…
Start exploring all of the opportunities around you. If you’re currently employed, then consider taking on new projects or joining teams that excite you or at minimum, help strengthen a skill and boost your resume.
Also, beef up your professional network by attending industry conferences, training seminars, and business networking events to talk to other professionals and discover new career opportunities. Learn about the skills and qualifications required to move into those new jobs.
If you’re feeling ‘stuck’ and not sure what you want to be when you grow up then read the business journal, trade magazines, industry publications and your local newspaper to see what kinds of jobs are available and what inspires you.
The point is to take control of your career. Identify which season you’re in and if it’s time for a change – then get on with it. Do the work necessary to get through the storm and you’ll find that your career (and your life) welcome a fresh new start.
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback“ also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE. For a limited time, grab (3) THREE FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com