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  • Writer's pictureJill Hauwiller


Many people come to a point in their careers when it is time for a change. Stagnation in a current role or company, changes in career goals and interests, or an unplanned change in employment status can all lead to a transition. My typical client is an experienced professional with more than 10 years in their field, often with the same employer. When a client in this situation approaches me for advice on how to navigate the modern world of job hunting, we have an in-depth conversation to uncover their latent talents and the points in their career when they were thriving. The purpose of this conversation is to develop a greater, specific clarity on what the client loves to do professionally.

Are you considering a career transition? Evaluate your current state of readiness or urgency in making a transition. Here are three scenarios to help you decide if the time is right for you.

1. Short-term dissatisfaction or ennui: A project you’re working on has stalled, you are out of sync with your manager, or stressors outside of work are leading to frustration at the office. If this is your situation, it might not be time for a career transition. However, it could be a great time to evaluate your career goals relative to your current role and responsibilities, and possibly re-engage your strengths to push through the current environment.

2. An extended sense of "stuck-i-ness": Management changes have led to a de-prioritization of your work, you are no longer involved in critical conversations, or you routinely find yourself wanting more satisfaction from your work. It might be time to consider a career transition, either internally or externally.

3. Clear evidence of stalled progression: You’ve been passed over for a promotion — more than once — and you can’t get actionable feedback about your work, or burnout has been your mode of work for a while. It’s time to make a change.

In all my work, I have found that building skills related to self-awareness and emotional intelligence (EQ) have the most profound impact on both discovering the common threads of past career success, as well as determining the desired path forward. Of course, I also work with clients on the highly tangible skills of updating a resume and LinkedIn profile and networking. But even in these more tangible areas, EQ plays a key role.

As an example, I worked with Lisa (not her real name) who was a senior IT leader, working at a company whose culture had shifted away from her values and work style. A demanding work schedule plus a bad cultural fit led to burnout. Lisa and I worked to refresh her resume, practice interviewing skills and build a networking plan. Equally important, we had multiple conversations to help her identify values and strengths based on past career success so that she could look for roles that would maximize her opportunity to work in those areas. Lisa is now thriving in a new role with a bigger title and more responsibility. She feels supported in her work environment and confident in her career.

Making a career transition can be profoundly rewarding and a bit scary at the same time. Set yourself up for a successful transition by knowing the areas where you excel in the workplace and the areas where you want to grow professionally. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own either. Consulting a career coach can help you discover the right opportunity more quickly or help you make a bigger change in direction with the support and resources you need.

*This article was originally shared on Forbes.


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