Short answer – yes. We are all in constant stages of transition.
Am I entering a significant period of transition?
The early part of a transition can escape our radar. We may notice an increased level of discomfort – not uncommon with change. Sometimes we might feel there’s a lag in our mojo, but we can’t quite put our finger on the cause.
For those who ever read the book “The World According to GARP”, the feeling can be likened to the “undertoad”. (Great book if you haven’t read it)
Rather than just pushing these feelings of discomfort to the background, it is worth examining our environment to find the source.
The proactive approach to take is to recognise the opportunities in every transition.
Scan our environment for signs of significant change. There are countless triggers of career transition. The most common encountered in the workplace is an organisational restructure.
These can be incredibly unsettling. They can also bring with them, the most surprising opportunities for career growth.
We have two choices in a restructure – Stay or Move on.
We need to be clear about our decision, because it will drive our behaviour.
If we decide to remain, we will become highly proactive about how to demonstrate the advantage of the skills we bring to the organisation as it works through change.
On the other hand, if we choose to move on, we will shift our focus to new horizons, which can also be very energising. Time to reflect: is this the lever we need to dislodge from our current role?
There is actually a third option – which is to make no decision at all, and to roll with the punches. If we are on a growth trajectory, and we set our personal and professional vision and goals at the front end of each year, we will not be passive about our future. So we really only have two options.
We may feel a strong connection to the organisation, and have a real desire to grow our career here. (We need to be totally honest with ourselves – are we choosing to stay so we can avoid the challenge of moving on?)
Revisit our vision and goals, and determine where we can position ourselves within the restructure. Examine the roles emerging from the restructure and where our current role will ultimately sit – or indeed, whether it will exist at all.
Make early appointments to speak to the decision makers. Flag our aspirations, and take the opportunity to showcase our strengths in relation to the changes.
This is a choice that will take us through a major transition, and probably into uncharted territory. We can use our professional vision and goals as a platform to plan our next steps.
Map out our skills, knowledge and experience. It’s useful to create a mind-map to link these with specific roles we are exploring.
Consider the scope of change we are prepared to make – will we remain in the sector or move into a new sector? What impact will this decision have on our career trajectory.
Identify any additional professional development we may need to pursue in the next phase of our career.
Now we are ready to contact our professional networks, update our CV, our LinkedIn profile, and prepare to promote ourselves to the relevant recruiters.
Make a time to catch up with our coach or mentor early in the transition. Tapping into a trusted, agenda-free sounding board, as soon as we feel the “undertoad”, can bring balance to our deliberations.
At the outset of a significant transition, our coach or mentor can facilitate a safe zone so we can give voice to our fears about change. Once we have tabled these, we have clear air to explore the opportunities present in all transitions.