The more things change - the more they DON'T stay the same
I love change, always have. Which is why I think Fall is my favorite time of year. Changing colors. Changing temperatures. Changing wardrobes. But too much change in a career is a bad thing, right? We all know that staying in a job for a least two years is GOOD and that being branded a 'job jumper' is BAD. But for me, career changes have been a blessing (even though I expect I looked more like this picture during that time than I care to admit). But in life and in business, the real truth is that the more things change the more things DON'T stay the same. And thank God for that - or life would be very, very dull.
I have the privilege of connecting with many highly talented business professionals who are in the midst of changing jobs. Some by choice - some not - but all in the same state of uncertainty about what will come next that can truly be debilitating. In my previous blog about How To "Go With Grace" During Life's Transitions, I shared what I have learned during my four job transitions:
- What you DO is not who you ARE as a person.
- Build your network before you need it.
- Finding a job IS a job.
- Take full advantage of experts and resources available to you.
- Take time for YOU.
So with all of this change happening around me I have been pondering - what makes some people more successful in managing change than others? Why do some people thrive when facing a job transition and land on their feet so successfully while others become stymied with no plan for moving forward? One of our team members did a little digging for me about how people who successfully handle change are wired, and he found an interesting post on forbes.com that identified the top things that make someone adaptable which include:
- Adaptable people see opportunity where others see failure.
- Adaptable people experiment.
- Adaptable people stay current.
- Adaptable people don't whine.
- Adaptable people don't blame.
- Adaptable people are curious.
- Adaptable people know what they stand for.
The good news for me is that I see myself in all of these traits (well - except maybe the 'don't whine' part on occassion), which I know has helped me successfully navigate the job changes I've faced. How much do they describe you?
Well even if these words are not necssarily the attributes you might use to describe yourself, never fear - as there is still hope. You CAN and WILL make it through this job transition successfully and you may even enjoy the journey if you approach it right. Here are things that have helped me along the way:
- Pause. Reflect. Then Decide What You Want To Do Next. This is probably the hardest thing to do as ego and money pressures may have you thinking that you MUST find your next job RIGHT AWAY. The clearer you are as to what you wish to do next, the more effective you'll be at finding that very thing and the easier it will be for others to help.
- And Speaking Of Others - We Want To Help So Maximize These Opportunities. You will be amazed at how many people will step up and offer to help you in some way (which is why you build your professional network before you need it!). Don't be afraid to take advantage of this and ask for help in the form of networking connects over a coffee or beer. But keep in mind that a person's time is precious, so be prepared and crystal clear on what you need from him/her. Be clear on what industries and types of jobs you are seeking. Research that person's connections and come with a list of what referrals you want. Make it as easy as possible for them to broker that much needed introduction. Help us help you.
- Create Your "Transition Toolkit". If you are lucky enough to get outplacement services, they will help you create the tools you need during your transition. But if you don't have help, the four things I find to be the most important in a transition toolkit are the following: an updated Resume (fully optimized for digital search of course), a one-page Networking Profile, a new and improved LinkedIn content page (ditto on the digitally optimized) and a PAR Interview Prep tool. If you need help with your transition toolkit or don't know where to start - let me know as I'd love to help you as others have helped me.
- Lower (or Manage) Your Expectations. Getting a job is a job, and will take effort and time. You have to trust that if you put in the effort and focus on your search, then good things will happen but maybe not right away. Be realistic in what can be accomplished by when, and set small goals that move you forward (like maybe doing two really good networking connects each week). Focus on what is in your control, and trust that the outcome will follow.