Three times in the past 5 days I have received notes and text messages from friends and colleagues, each expressing the following sentiment, “I think 2018 is the year I look to make a move from ABC Company, would you help me?” This is not unusual, especially as the New Year approaches and thoughts of leaving the old behind to begin anew ring in our heads – Our sights set on a new role, higher pay, a more supportive boss, more (or less) travel, and greater challenge and opportunity.
What sets these recent conversations apart, is a deeper request. Over the last year and a half, a theme has emerged. Every person I have spoken with, whether looking to leave their current employer or simply feeling a sense of unrest, has expressed a need for more than resume review, networking assistance and a brush-up on rusty interviewing skills. They are feeling the need for something more.
For them, the solution isn’t looking for yet another position as a project manager, controller, or Vice President of Sales. They are all highly accomplished and skilled, with tremendous experience and expertise. They call after deftly managing their personal connections, and long weekends scouring LinkedIn Jobs for every available opening in their field; some with job offers in-hand. Many describe interviewing for jobs, which just a few years before, would have been ideal; reporting to people who, under other circumstances, might have been their dream boss! This time it’s something different.
“It’s time for a change; time for something transformational”, they say. An inner-voice calls and they feel something pulling them in a completely different direction. ‘What is’ is no longer enough, or right, or comfortable. They stand at a crossroads, unsure about how to navigate the rocky terrain of finding a new career, perhaps even a new vocation.
When this restlessness happens, it is all too easy to jump from company-to-company, boss-to-boss, job-to-job, hoping that the right situation will magically appear; leaving us feeling fulfilled, challenged, aligned, and satisfied. Unfortunately, for many people, this unrest can result in a series of roles, which a dear friend of mine calls, “soul-sucking, hollow and devoid of any redeeming features”. It is not that the jobs themselves are bad and unrewarding, they are just not the right at this time. This lack of fit, like a pair of shoes which is too small and the wrong color, causes chaffing, pain, blisters and doesn’t complement our wardrobe.
Before making a move, I encourage all seekers to take time to explore which situations have contributed most significantly to your success? Look back across your career, education, volunteer activities, and take stock of the roles in which you felt your best; where you have been most satisfied and done your greatest work. Which of your past leaders or peers have inspired you to be your best and how have you carried their lessons with you? If your current situation doesn’t afford you the chance to be thrive, it may be time to look for environments, leaders and opportunities that leverage your most brilliant self.
This is often a difficult task, and if you need to reach beyond your work life for these answers, do it. Take the time to dig deeply. There are many avenues for this kind of exploration. Talk with your friends, family, and co-workers – they may know you better than you know yourself, see yourself through their eyes. Check out on-line resources and the library for books and videos which may help your discovery.
A wise and wonderful friend shares this piece of advice, “Always make sure you are running toward, and not running away from something.” I will add, that as you take on this challenge, make sure your footwear fits well and is stylish enough to carry you along your new path looking and feeling your finest!
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from help in their own career exploration, please reach out. It would be our pleasure to provide assistance. We can be found at www.29bison.com.
Wishing everyone a joyful, fulfilling and successful New Year!