Career Transition - There Is No GPS – Make Your Own Roadmap

Career Transition – There Is No GPS – Make Your Own Roadmap

A recent Gallup poll revealed that, nationally, 70 percent of U.S. workers are either “non-engaged” or “actively disengaged.” A good percent of of those workers are initiating a career transition. Are you taking control of your next career move or are you waiting for it to happen to you? Career transitions come in many varieties:

  • Changing functional roles, e.g. from sales to marketing or finance to operations,
  • Changing industries, e.g. from high-tech to manufacturing or from a for-profit company to a non-profit,
  • Changing companies: moving from your current company to another firm,
  • Changing divisions within your company,
  • And many more!

There is no book, website, or video to guide you through the steps you need to take to get to your goal.  However, there are key strategies to success; a combination of things to do and NOT to do.

  1. Don’t quit your job. No matter how frustrated you may be, do not quit, threaten to leave, or show signs of “short-timer’s disease.” And you will feel “short timer” signs immediately after you make up your mind that you want a change. It manifests itself by little things like having more closed door conversations, showing up later than normal, or leaving early.
  2. Don’t tell anybody you work with. There are no secrets around the office and you don’t want a manager thinking that you are uncommitted. Any slip-up can jeopardize the results of an upcoming review, a potential promotion, or a special assignment. Oh, and don’t use any company resources, including your company PC, to research or make connections.
  3. Spend hours researching your desired next move. Too many career-changers wing it! Jonathan asked, “Here is my résumé. What do you think I should do next?” Or Leslie said, “I want to leverage my background in blah, blah, blah, and find a challenging position working with great people.” Really? Have you done any research at all?
  4. Make your career transition Job #1… outside of your day job, if you are employed. If you are unemployed, there is NO excuse for not dedicating a minimum of 30 hours per week on your Job #1. If you are working, check out the excuses you give yourself for not spending hours working on your next move. Wake up earlier, go to a coffee shop or library during your lunch break, and work on it at night. Be disciplined. Put times and tasks on your calendar and make progress! Document everything you learn in a file on your home computer or in a good old-fashioned binder… whatever works for you.
  5. Network face-to-face. Find great events in your local Business Journal (either printed or online) or in LinkedIn groups. Share your goal and seek advice and guidance. Learn how others made a career transition or what they would recommend you examine. Always bring personal business cards to networking events, NOT your company cards. Follow up with everybody you meet so you can build 2-way relationships, don’t just “use” them.

Nobody cares about your next career step more than you do. So what are you waiting for? Don’t be a victim, do something to take control and make a change!.  

I value your comments. What is preventing you from taking charge of your career? What are some of your obstacles? Or what tricks have you used to get un-stuck?  Comment below!