I have always been fascinated by career transition and the various stages clients go through as they navigate new territory, learn new skills, and create new networks/professional associations. I also am amazed at how resourceful, flexible, and brilliant clients can really be once they are clear in their own mind about where they are going.
This month’s article is written by one of Aspire’s clients who is not only going through her own career transition, but is clever enough to use this opportunity to write and speak about the topic to others.
Angela has been an inspiration to me and I wish her the best success in her new writing career.
Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.
Career Transitions and Career Changes: Are They the Same Thing? by Angela Epshtein
Most people use the terms transition and change interchangeably—they are synonyms, right? From William Bridges’ perspective, it’s important to make a distinction between the two terms because in fact they are profoundly different phenomena.
Change is any external variation in your life such as a new job, new home, or new relationship.
Transition is an internal shift within you. Transitions begin with an ending, develop into a neutral phase, and end with a new beginning.
From a career transition standpoint, the “neutral zone” is the most difficult because you don’t yet know where you are going, your path lacks definition, and your next steps may not be clear.
In order to build a new you need to dismantle and provide space in yourself for the creative act of constructing a new career.
A New Beginning
So, how do you know when you’ve reached the point of a new beginning? Beginnings are often inauspicious and quiet. Perhaps you’ve met a former colleague who is beginning a new business and invites you to join his or her new endeavor. You will notice that both your thoughts and actions have become purposeful.
I have found it helpful to think about my own career shift in terms of change and transition. After many years of wanting to write for a living, I decided that I very much wanted to start my own writing and editing business. I felt a strong urge to set my own hours, be home when my kids are home, and be creative. Interestingly, my 15+ years of management experience were challenging and successful, it just didn’t feel like “me” anymore. Since June 2006, I’ve been working with Randi Bussin and a number of mentors and would-be colleagues toward my ultimate goal: To have a fully functioning writing and editing business by summer 2007.
True to form, my own career transition began long before June 2006 with an ending. Namely, I began to gradually shift away from my current career. I felt that I enjoyed the writing assignments I took on at work, and was less engaged with other components of my managerial role. Also, I found myself researching writing-related job postings. When I hit the “neutral zone,” I was troubled by my inability to focus and set goals, but remained patient and sought guidance from my career coach, Randi. Together, we worked out a plan where I focused on getting my writing published while also meeting successful writers with whom I could network and develop potential mentoring/working relationships.
I knew I was “beginning” my new career when I voluntarily took on the production of a newsletter for my current employer. The satisfaction and pride that came from knowing I had provided copy for an official publication was huge. I had indeed started my new career!
Tips for Managing Career Transitions
1. Patience and Fortitude—Allow yourself to explore your feelings about your current career. Perhaps you need a slight shift in focus, or you could be in the beginning stages of transitioning to a new career. Share these thoughts with family, friends, and trusted colleagues.
2. Seek professional help—Career counselors can offer assistance during any phase of your career transition. Think of this as an investment in your future.
3. Network—Join networking groups, including online services that provide career development opportunities and job postings.
4. Cultivate mentoring relationships—Begin networking with professionals who are successful in the field you wish to enter. These individuals will become your cheering section and potential colleagues.
5. Take care of yourself—Make sure you build in time to exercise, see friends and family, and relax. This will help you maintain energy and focus during your career transition.
6. Training and education—You may need to update your skills and/or broaden your knowledge to ease your transition. Take a course or two or engage in professional development to round out your skills.
7. Gain experience—Try to gain as much experience as possible in the new field; consider part- time or volunteer work.
Randi’s Recommended Reads
Life Work Transitions.com: Putting Your Spirit Online
Deborah Knox and Sandra Butzel
http://www.amazon.com/Life- Transitions-Com-Putting-Spirit- Online/dp/0750671602/sr=8- 1/qid=1172183895/ref=sr_1_1/002-7574978- 5755227?ie=UTF8&s=books
Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes
William Bridges (Da Capo Press edition 2004)
http://www.amazon.com/Transitio ns-Making-Changes-Revised- Anniversary/dp/073820904X/sr=1- 1/qid=1172183997/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-7574978- 5755227?ie=UTF8&s=books
Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career
http://www.amazon.com/Working- Identity-Unconventional-Strategies- Reinventing/dp/1591394139/sr=1- 1/qid=1172184099/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-7574978- 5755227?ie=UTF8&s=books
William Bridges & Associates
Aspirations! is written and compiled by Randi Bussin, a career counselor and entrepreneurial consultant with 25 years of experience of corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial expertise. She leverages her extensive background to help mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs clarify their aspirations, develop the “big-picture,” and set realistic goals in designing a career that reflects their personal values and passions. Through focused coaching, she helps clients make steady progress and achieve their career goals.
If you would like more information on our services, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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