Have You Reached a Transition Point in Your Career?

transition point

As an executive coach, I work with people at all levels, stages and ages in organizations. People who are just entering the workforce, moving up the ladder or who have been working for 20, 30 or 40 years. I’ve learned from experience that there are telltale signs that they are at a transition point—a point when change is needed. I’ve also learned that it is important to pay attention to the signs.

You may be frustrated, unhappy or just plain bored in your current role, job or vocation. But sometimes things are a little trickier—you may have entered a profession that you truly loved or felt drawn to; maybe being a doctor, lawyer, salesperson or computer programmer. But over time work may feel a lot like drudgery. Maybe you look forward to the weekends and hate coming back after a vacation.

Essentially, the thrill is gone. Something just doesn’t feel right anymore but you can’t quite figure out what has changed, or what would make it better.

You are at a transition point. Your scales are out of balance and you have to bring them back into balance. So what do you do?

Once you acknowledge that things aren’t right, you may feel you need to make a choice. And when frustrated, bored or unfulfilled, it may seem your only choice is to leave your current position. But this isn’t your only choice. You should first choose to look inward and assess your situation before taking any action. Consider:

  1. Figure out what is missing or not working in your job, role or career. You can do this with a simple energy check. Make two lists on a sheet of paper. On the left side, list what is draining your energy on the job. This might include certain people—who I call “energy vampires.” Or it may be meetings, processes, requirements, etc. On the right side, list job-related activities and people that inspire drive, passion and enthusiasm. Remember, you can list things that may not be part of your current job, but may be from a former role or an aspirational role.
  2. Next, determine what you can do to mitigate the energy drainers. Can you eliminate meetings? How can you improve your relationship with a co-worker? Can you delegate tasks? You may be able to eliminate some of the things that are draining your energy and reduce the number of problems you’ve identified in your list.
  3. Now look at both lists and determine what your next steps might be. Sometimes articulating the positive elements of your position can reignite your enthusiasm. Is leaving the only option or is there a way to make it better and even fun? Remember you have to take some positive action if you want to change how you feel. 
The idea here is to make work a vital and stimulating part of your life again. YES, it can be done. We see it all the time as coaches. A salient point to remember is that leaving a job is always an option, but first try to re-engage. If you determine you just have to leave, we’ll talk about how to leave and land a great new position in another post.


About the Author

This is the first in a multi-part series from Nancy Sullivan offering insight and advice to get you back on track, working and living in the career that is right for you. Nancy is a board certified executive coach with Lee Hecht Harrison. She is the author of “Transitions Points: Finding Your Career Intersection of Skill and Passion.” To bring Nancy to your organization, have her speak at your conference or consult with her, email: Nancy@NancySullivanAuthor.com.

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