How to Turn Career Transition Into an Opportunity

Career transition can be scary. If you’ve lost a job, you may be worried about how quickly you’ll find a new one, and whether it will pay enough. If you’re still employed, but unhappy at work, what new strategy will finally enable you to experience professional satisfaction? I’m not one to offer empty platitudes during scary times. But I’ll make an exception in this case. With the right tools and focus you can transform a career transition into an opportunity.  

Take an Inventory

Career transition is the perfect time to take stock. Seize the moment to reflect on what you’ve learned from past work experiences and what’s essential going forward. Which parts of your professional life make you feel energized and which don’t. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a fan of using lists as deciphering tools. And what I like about lists is they take vague ideas rattling around in your head, give voice to them, and then narrow them down so they’re actionable.

Let’s start a 2-part list.

1. Name 3 parts of your work life when you’ve felt the most engaged. Be as detailed as you can. What was the exact activity that engaged you? Was it doing a public presentation, conducting expansive research to solve a problem, reaching out to potential new customers?

2. Now, name 3 parts of your work life when you’ve felt the most drained On my “anti-bucket list” is sitting through long meetings where no action is taken. From my clients, I hear about their dislike of making cold sales calls, being trapped in an office all day, not feeling valued by the boss, and a common complaint in Los Angeles, a really long commute.

During your Career Transition, Unpack the Essentials

When reviewing your list, did anything surprise you? What stands out as the one essential you want to be part of your next job, and which one you need to leave behind? And then think about WHY that’s the case. Write a short paragraph about it.

If you prefer a more visual tool, here’s another exercise I use with clients: Grab a piece of paper and some markers or crayons and draw your ideal work environment. Who, if anyone, is in the space with you? Is it located in a gleaming skyscraper downtown, a sun-drenched loft or your rustic home office? What do you wear to work? What’s the furniture look like? What do you see outside your window?

Prioritize Your Preferences

Rank this list in order of importance to you:

– Job’s alignment with your values
– Where job is located
– Amount of money you’ll earn
– Ability to maintain work/life balance
– Creativity on the job

No Job is Perfect, but….

Flexibility is important, and you many not get every thing on your wish list. But by clarifying the must-haves and deal breakers, you’ll have a much better shot at finding meaning and lasting success in your next job. That’s my great hope for you.

For more career transition exercises, click here:

And if you’d like one-to-one guidance and personal support during your career transition, please get in touch.

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