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Coach's Corner--May 26, 2008

When the occupational thrill is gone, it's time to move on

The Client
Name: Martha
Age: 28
Title: Marketing assistant
Time at company: 1 1/2 years
Industry: Insurance
Issue: Moving on from the bullying boss
Q. I wrote to you last month [April 28] about my problems with my boss — and I’ve decided that it’s time for a change. I realized that I have no passion for my job, and I want a job where I go into work excited and leave feeling like I’ve accomplished something. I’m good at my job, but I feel like there is something more out there for me. Is there anything that you could recommend for me?

A. Change can renew your passion, and choosing your direction will give you a great sense of power. Follow these steps to make a successful move.

The inner game
The first step is to regain your confidence. Focus on your strengths and contributions; remind yourself that you are important, and that your joy and sense of satisfaction matter. Talk with people who reinforce your positive self-image. Also, look at how you handled past situations to reduce the chance that the same problems will follow you to your new role.

Then, make a firm decision about moving on. Having a clear intention, even if it is not yet public, will build momentum for change. From there, create your vision for your professional life. Consider what motivates and inspires you. What do you want to accomplish in your career? How would you like to make a difference? Go deep into imagining a new role and its positive effect on your life. Then decide whether you can achieve your vision in a similar position in a different organization, or if you want to move into a different type of work.

The outer game
To make a job and/or career change, break your vision into specific goals and actions.

First, gather information about your options. Career aptitude assessments may help narrow down your choices. Get concrete, listing the characteristics that a new job needs to have. Talk to people in careers or companies that you’re interested in, and learn all you can about the requirements and realities of the roles and cultures. 

Next, take an in-depth look at the fit between the position and your skills and knowledge. If there are gaps, make a plan to get the training, education, or experience you need. If your vision and your background are far apart, consider an interim shift into a more positive situation that uses your current skills while you prepare for a more extensive change.

Job searches benefit from good action plans. Write down what you’re going to do, who you’re going to contact, and when you’re going to do each step. Look for resources to help you. For example, find someone to review your résumé and help you think through your strategy. Don’t overlook the emotional support side, either. Ask friends and family to support you through encouragement and advice, and then be willing to accept their help.

The last word
Job changes can be challenging, and finding a new position can seem like a huge undertaking. However, by breaking the process down and aligning your actions with your vision, you’ll move your career and your life in the right direction.

Liz Reyer, President RCC - Posted May 26, 2008
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