In this article, I present the principles that make career transitions more effective and enjoyable. If you haven’t read parts I and II of this series, you can follow the links below:
- the 5-Phase-Model that will provide orientation for the process of career transformation
- the Test-and-Learn approach that I recommend you apply to this entire journey (I actually believe it’s a great approach to all of life)
- underlying principles that will make this whole journey a lot more enjoyable than most people experience it.
Exchange your bias to thinking for a bias to action.
Whenever you catch yourself brooding, doubting or dreaming about wonderful or horrible professional futures, pause and ask yourself: Am I right now contributing to making the change I am longing for? If the answer is no (which it will be in most, if not all, cases), turn your thinking into action. This doesn’t mean that you should stop thinking. Thinking (as in reflecting, evaluating, analysing, ideating) is a crucial element for the success of your journey, but only when applied skilfully. Many people sort to thinking instead of acting because it is less risky. It may be safer, but it won’t bring you any change. Which brings me to the next principle.
Meet your monsters with friendliness and persistence.
For many, fear is the scariest monster in life. It comes in many shapes and forms and labels. Most well-known are the fear of rejection and the fear of loss. Perfectionism, imposter syndrome, being a people-pleaser are only three examples for phenomena that emerge out of these original fears. What they all have in common is that they prevent us from doing things (ref. Bias to Action) that we know would be worthwhile, important, and effective for the creation of a fulfilling future. It helps to recognise and acknowledge your fears and then develop strategies that help you do these important things despite and with your fear. Again and again and again.
Figuring all this out by yourself can be overwhelming. If you want to know how coaching can support you in making this journey more enjoyable and effective, let’s talk.
Remember: You are not alone.
Nourish your sense of community. Seek other people’s help, support, inspiration and honest feedback. Find communities that make you feel welcome and warm or do your part to make them so. We are social beings. Together we can achieve so much more than we could ever dream of achieving alone. And it feels better, too.
You may be surprised (I certainly am) how few people ask questions when they want to understand and learn something. I am sometimes amazed at the lack of ideas of what one might ask a person who works in a field one finds highly interesting. In fact, sometimes I have the impression that the very possibility of asking questions in such a situation is a piece of incredible news to people I train and coach. Begin by asking yourself questions: What do you want to know about a certain job or way of life or working culture? These are the questions that you need to ask other people. Develop, sharpen and exchange them over time, as they will obviously evolve together with your growing knowledge about yourself and the area you want to enter.
Be kind to yourself.
Career transitions are tough because they are, at least in part, identity transformations. They also always come with loss (of your old job, your old sense of self) and a plethora of unpleasant states of mind and feeling. Look after yourself. Do things that have nothing to do with your career journey, things that you do for the sole reason that you enjoy doing them. The emphasis lies on ENJOY. Netflix and gaming can provide just the relaxation and distraction you were looking for. But they can just as easily make you feel braindead. Hard physical training can nourish your need for movement and activity, just as it can be just another area in your life in which you strive for highest performance and feel depleted afterwards. When deciding what non-career-related activities to do, whenever possible, take your current feelings and needs as your decision basis. That is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.
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Land your target job outside academia
Join my email list and create the best possible match with your future job - even if you believe you don't have any of the required skills.