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  • Cindy Lee

Navigating a career transition with integrity – overview, part 2 of 2

Yesterday I began the 2-part posting on four different approaches to a job search. I described two different ones that I believe work “backwards” – the “Update your resume, get it out there, and see what bites” approach and the “Network, network, network!” one. (Click here to read more about those approaches and what I mean by “backwards.”) Each had its share of pitfalls and redeeming qualities.

Today I’ll focus on the remaining two: the “See what’s out there” approach which also can set you up to fail, and the one I think is worth the effort which I call “Navigate Your Career Transition With Integrity.”

[Of course there are many other possibilities; I'm highlighting the main ones I've seen.]

Typical approach #3: “See what’s out there.” This refers to the more casual act of searching internet job boards, finding opportunities to network, asking around to see who’s hiring, etc. You likely haven’t updated your resume yet. It’s very similar to #2 in that I’m not opposed to this in itself, but the timing is key and the outcomes are equally up to chance. Often this approach takes place when someone is not necessarily seeking a new job, but is curious if there’s something better out there.

  • Common pitfalls:

    • Your “harmless” looking and comparing leads you suddenly to become dissatisfied with a life/job that has been perfectly “fine” thus far. You could fall into a demotivated state, or even be anxious to find change quickly.

    • You think your lack of motivation at work is due to being in the wrong job, so you seek something based on the complete opposite. In my experience with clients, many find they need a new job but not necessarily one that is very different; others realize in the end they are in the right job and just need to tweak something around environment or expectations.

    • Related to the previous bullet, you may think the solution requires going back to school to make a huge shift. Either it’s a complete change in industry, or you find job postings list advanced degrees/certifications that you don’t yet have.

  • Redeeming quality: It’s an extremely valuable exercise to evaluate from time to time where you fall amidst what’s available, see if you are in the right place with the right motivation and commensurate compensation. This assumes that you also have a clear sense of your identity and values against which to compare.

  • Bottom line: In the end, you could learn a lot, which could also be too much to know. You could fall into the dangerous comparison game or cycle between extremes, which hits more emotion than logic. There are many options in-between that could equally satisfy you, but you could miss seeing them or jump the gun because you’re driven by emotions.

My suggested approach: “Navigate Your Career Transition With Integrity” is basically my fancy way of saying, “Know who you are and what you stand for; then find a career that fits.” It’s based on the premise that you want to live your life according to what you set as your standards, values, style, priorities, etc. Different from the approaches above, you base your search mainly on who you are rather than what’s out there, what others think, or what companies want to see. I find it most effective and wise to build a solid infrastructure within you; then look outside.

  • Common pitfalls:

    • Pride or lack of awareness – Having an inaccurate view of yourself, or being unclear of what you value and what matters to you. The whole approach goes out the door.

    • Anxiety or impatience – Not wanting or able to wait for what’s right to come along.

    • Short-sighted view – Not seeing the bigger picture of your whole life being the training ground for strengthening who you are, with each opportunity contributing to that.

  • Redeeming quality: Your search becomes more focused and refined, and you can passionately pursue the opportunities you desire.

  • Bottom line: In the end, you’re more efficient with your time and energy, and the reflection builds character. You’re able to establish a solid sense of your identity and values, which can be applied to all areas of your life (beyond career).

It’s high on many people’s list of criteria for a job to be meaningful or fulfilling. That’s a luxury that many can afford in this day and age, which is a gift in itself. But, what’s meaningful for one person is not necessarily the same as the next. Our values are different; our personalities are unique; our passions can vary. So to find a job that is truly meaningful FOR YOU, you MUST start from a place of understanding who you are at the core. Then, you must be true to that as you search for jobs that honor YOU. Only then will you have the chance to be complete and whole, thriving in a job rather than working a job where something just feels “off.”

To live your life according to what you set as your standards, values, style, etc. — this is what I call navigating a career transition with integrity. This is difficult to do until you have some sense of what those are and can compare your actions against them. Don’t forget that your career is just ONE aspect of life. Once we’ve laid the foundation of understanding your purpose in life with peace and clarity, we can begin to actively align ALL aspects of your life with it. Changing careers is not an easy thing to do, and usually the transition is rather daunting. The process itself takes time and energy, but having a job that is purposeful, rewarding, and a good fit is beyond worth the effort!

In the next few weeks, I will be sharing some key components of this process – everything from exploring your purpose to identifying your ideal job description to networking and updating LinkedIn… If you’re wondering whether you’re in the right job, I challenge you to walk with me through these steps to navigate your career situation with integrity!

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