Career & Work Life Matters, ISSN 2150-6299, Vol 6, no. 3
Your Career Change is Unique
Owls are unique among birds. They have a capacity that gives them a great advantage when it comes to finding the food they need. Their capacity for silent flight.
Owls have an amazing natural ability to dampen sound. The can fly silently because their feathers are uniquely adapted to absorb sound and suppress vibrations as they fly. It is this “hidden technology” that allows owls to get very close to their prey without being detected.
When it comes to your career and work life, you may or may not be aware that change is coming.
Sometimes if feels like things happen “out of the blue”. But even when changes are planned or visible, you can be affected in unexpected ways. The impact can sneak up on you.
This article discusses how to apply what you already know, but may not have considered yet, to make sense of your own career change.
Change in the workplace is often messy.
If you’re like most professionals, you have been through the experience of change in organizations. At some point the organization that you work in has been restructured. Maybe several times. What have you learned from being involved in this type of change?
One of the lessons from large scale changes is that it’s very challenging to make it happen. It’s not easy even when the rationale for change is clear. When it comes to change in organizations, there is a high failure rate.
One reason for failure is that there is pressure to push changes through quickly.
There is not enough time made available to get input from the people involved. Externally things may have changed. But doesn’t mean that things have really changed. Despite new systems, old attitudes or ways of doing things may persist.
The external changes are often the easiest part of the change.
For example, if improving safety is a goal, better incident tracking methods may be needed. But that’s only part of what’s required. It’s harder to create a culture that consistently promotes workplace safety.
So how do these insights from large scale changes apply to your personal experience?
Are they relevant to your career change?
Shouldn’t change be easier for individuals? In some ways it is.
In comparison to a large system, you have more control over how you respond as an individual.
But you may experience some of the same pressures.
There is often pressure to do things quickly. You may have to decide how to respond to external events that are outside of your control. You may be dealing with changes that are not welcome. Changes that you didn’t initiate.
So what can you do if you find yourself struggling or resisting change?
People around you may advise you to push through — get over it and get on with it. You may even say similar things to yourself. But what if you still feel stuck? What can you do instead?
One of the most powerful things to do if you’re stuck is to take a step back.
Take time to consider what the change means for you personally.
Try some of the questions below to explore and observe your experience:
— What does this change mean for me personally?
— How is this change similar or different to my previous experiences of change?
— What is it like? (choose an image, draw a picture)
— Where do I feel it (is it located in a particular place in your body?)
— What am I noticing that’s different? (observe physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts)
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions.
What any particular career change means for your personally will be unique to you.
Even though comparison with others is one way we try to make sense of our experience, it often doesn’t help. It may even add to your feeling of stuckness. Your experience will be different because change has a different meaning for you. Even it it looks the same from the outside.
Your first instinct may be to suppress the “noise” of your internal experience.
But taking the time to understand it will increase awareness and insight. Insight that will help you get unstuck. Begin with one of the questions above.
“Listening” to your internal experience can be a powerful way to regain your balance.
The balance you need to take the next step.
|Jennifer Bradley helps professionals lead their own careers, empowered with the information, tools, and resources that they need. She offers individual coaching and consulting, teaches classes, and publishes articles on career development and career transition. If you’re new to the Career & Work Life Matters blog, and would like to discover more about your personal career management skills, request a Free copy of the Career Scorecard.|