Many times I am asked about advising someone in their career change. Typically, it is common for the “job seeker” to have already decided what they think they want to do. These decisions are seemingly based on assumptions such as social norms, an “Aha moment” while on vacation, influences from family and friends, or even the idea that has lingered for years, held up by barrier after barrier that seemed to never disappear.
The initial task is to break down those assumptions and follow some prepared due diligence. First, we must break down the discussion into two key questions.
- Do you have a place to leave?
- Do you have a place to go?
A Place to Leave
Why is the grass always seemingly better on the other side? All too often the “Job Seeker” is motivated to make a change because of a dislike of their current role, and a feeling of assurance that the next job will be better. The problem with this theory, is your career is much more than a job. And if you choose to be just a “job seeker”, then all you will find is a job. You deserve a career that is an integral part of your work/life balance.
Your unsettledness is much deeper than “I don’t like my job”. In our work together, you will move through a deeper discovery of what you should be doing in your “Encore Career” later. First you must cross the bridge of, should you be leaving your current world of work, and how to do it correctly.
Sometimes the decision of leaving this current world is out of your hands. Even so, there are paths to choose, and tasks to complete prior to looking for the Place To Go.
Step 1…Job dissatisfaction arises from three questions most people don’t take the time to answer completely. In our early work together, we must dig deeper into these issues.
- Do I know who I am? (What are the talents, personality, skills, functions I am able to offer? How completely satisfied are they? – Is there a chance to increase my offerings?)
- Why am I working? (Am I motivated by rewards, or purpose? Is my job about meaning, or assignment? – Can I reach a better sense of satisfaction here, on my “Why”?)
- What environment drives me? (Where should I spend my time? Is my current environment, boss, co-workers caustic, depressing, or simply boring? – Have I explored all of the opportunities for changes?)
Sometimes corrections can be made either by you, or by those around you who control the application of the answers to these three questions. Many times, you are driven away because you do not have the ability to control the better answers you deserve. You will be much happier later, if your decision to leave is based upon a fact finding mission, feeling you have exhausted every possible avenue of correction.
Step 2…After you have decided you do have a place to leave, there is still much to do. A carefully designed exit strategy puts many wheels into motion. Your decision to leave will set several tipping points into motion.
- When is the best time to leave? – Why?
- What must be completed, or left undone? – Why?
- How is your planned exit communicated? – Why?
- How can you prevent burning bridges? – Why?
- Can you control your succession? – Why?
A Place To Go
Our parents generation taught us to work hard, get a quality education, find a good job, and settle down. Work would fill the days until family engulfed us, and we waited somewhat patiently for the carrot at the end of the stick called retirement. That was the goal instilled into us. Do all the right things so we could be grandparents, play golf, fish, go to the cabin when ever we want to, and live in Arizona during the cold months. That was retirement. As we edged closer, the reality of a fixed income, too much down time, and visiting the buffet at 4:00 seemed underwhelming. We found there was still more to do. And our generation started to dream.
Imagine waking up in the morning with excitement and enthusiasm for the coming workday. Imagine knowing you are spending the rest of your life doing something you care about deeply and that it finally benefits you. Imagine you will spend the majority of your time engaged in activities that use your talents fully. Imagine you have the income, the time, and the energy to balance your life between all of your dreams. This is called your Encore Career.
The key to pursuing your Encore Career, is first to discover what your passions are. If you can channel the best of your possible choices into your passions, you will be great at it! Remember when you were growing up and said “I want to be a…” You need to re-visit that sense of freedom. Encore careers are single, or a combination of positions that combine required income with personal meaning and social impact.
Eventually, it’s like filling a bucket or two of passions. One bucket is the volunteerism type of things you cherish, but never had time to do. They are very fulfilling but don’t pay the mortgage. The second bucket fulfills your lifelong destiny, and takes the shape of what you have been unknowingly training yourself to be, but also pays the mortgage. Part of your discovery will be to comprehend the rules of limitations that will still exist for you. After all, we can’t all afford to just hang out on Duvall Street in Key West and let life happen.
Prepare yourself. Many people know they want to keep working or even need to, yet they wrestle with just what it is they’re looking for in their job and life. Start by making an honest appraisal of your skills and interests. Much of what you already know is transferable to your next undertaking. The key is to match your encore career to your interests and personality.
The Planning Process
We will go into these topics in much greater detail. But for now, familiarize yourself with some of the important ground you need to cover. Making Decisions
- What are your natural talents and innate abilities?
- Do you know your personality traits and temperament?
- Can you describe your purposeful meaning or mission?
- How much are you willing to stretch your boundaries?
- Can you clarify how your work should be rewarded?
- What work environment is most compatible to you?
- What’s the bottom line for you…Can you make a choice?
In the end, after you answer the seven questions, you will be prepared to build a personal model encouraging you to investigate and make decisions on three components, enabling you to narrow down final choices.
- Who am I? – Talents, personality, temperament, roles of life, best workplace functions.
- Why work? – Meaning, mission, purpose, values, rewards, goals.
- Work where? – The ideal environment.