Occasionally, someone will ask me how I managed to transform my career. If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that my career began as an Administrative Assistant. While I had the opportunity to support some amazing leaders, I knew at some point I wanted to do something more. The challenging part of knowing I wanted more was not knowing exactly what more was. It took some time, a lot of soul searching, and I even had to educate myself to figure out if I had the capacity to do something different. I will say that it didn't happen overnight, and if I had it to do all again, I would definitely approach my transition differently. My career migration took a few years. I had some natural progression via work promotions. I even had organizational changes that dropped me in roles that I may or may not have wanted to be in. Eventually, I had to take charge of the direction I was headed to land on the path that I designed. As I think about what ultimately put me on a path to career happiness, a few critical activities stand out as true game-changers.
As I revamp this post, I'm updating to my signature 3 bulleted list. Let us begin- 3 tips for career transition.
Know what you DON'T want to do? - while I wasn't certain in the beginning what I wanted to do, I knew exactly what I didn't want to do anymore. Looking at my current role(s), while for most of them, I had skills that made me good at them, I didn't enjoy several aspects of them. When trying to understand what’s next for you, it's important to know what about your current situation makes you want to do something different. If you are not clear on what’s broken, you are doomed to repeat it.
Update your professional social media page and start networking - Update your LinkedIn page with your new goals, resume, and skills. It's a great way of announcing to recruiters that you are interested in exploring new opportunities. Once you've done this, start engaging by networking with others of similar background and subscribing to pages that interest you. Also, consider local networking groups around your hometown. For example, I know several local breweries's that host run and network groups after hours. It might sound like strange bedfellows, but several of my former co-workers got hired in new roles because they met their new manager at a run club..anything is possible. Your local gyms, libraries, and churches could also be great networking resources.
Consider contracts, short-term or temporary options - This option may not work for everyone but is one I highly recommend that people consider. While there may be some sacrifices, these opportunities sometimes offer higher hourly wages than your traditional FTE (Full Time Employee) opportunities. Many contract assignments offer benefits like retirement and medical. If those are important for you, consider this opportunity as you are working on your transition plan.
BONUS: Quit your job - Yep, I said what I said. This isn't for everyone. But sometimes, you can't fully embrace where you're going while holding so tight to where you are. This option may require some planning. I did this. It was the most frightening thing I think I've ever had to do. I had about 3 to 5 months of living expenses with all my savings. I was aggressive and knew that I had to secure something in 90 days. I decided to set this 90-day target as my personal goal to ensure I didn't lose focus on my aspirations. If you decide to do this...count the cost. Don't make this decision overnight and try to plan as much as possible. I can truly say this was the most (in the end) rewarding decision I've made as it pertains to my career. Most people I knew thought I was crazy, but I didn't care. I believed in myself. I also had an amazing support system that held me close while I walked out on this tightrope.
I believe that anyone can have a career they design. Just know that the design process is different for everyone. Don't get discouraged, don't give up. You can have the change you want. Stay the course. Change is afoot!
As always, these are absolutely my thoughts...