As summer officially arrives, you may feel the desire to slow down your job search or your quest for a career transition. As the weather improves, your motivation for a change may wane. Summer Fridays and a more relaxed vibe at work can mask some of your genuine discontent at your current job. Don’t fall into this trap! We can sometimes settle into our routines, and feel comfortable enough to stay in a role or company that is no longer a fit. We then rationalize the decision. “Now is not a good time to leave, I will give it one more year,” may be one refrain. “Once I get my bonus, I might look for a better fit,”may be another thought to delay your departure. We can find a variety of reasons why it is not the best time to transition. However, while there may never be a perfect time to leave, you can certainly strategize about when and how to transition. In my previous post, I discussed the signs that it was time to leave a job. Now, the following are the steps to take to facilitate a transition from a poor fit or a toxic job:
1) Acknowledge the barrier(s)
it is important to be honest with yourself concerning your lack of movement in leaving a poor fit job. Sometimes we are reluctant to admit the truth. Oftentimes, you may be stalled due to fear, a lack of self-confidence, or other issues. So it is critical to acknowledge and identify the source of the barrier preventing you from moving forward. Is it economic fear (e.g. “I can’t afford to not work for a few months, if I leave my job, without a new job.”). Is it fear of rejection? (e.g. “I don’t know if I can manage the emotional ups and downs of a job search.”). Once you have identified the barrier(s), you can now plan how to overcome them.
2) Consistently challenge your limiting beliefs
usually these fears are paired with limiting beliefs, which are thoughts that may impede your ability to reach your goals. A common limiting belief is “I am not good enough to find a better job.” Or “It is too competitive out there, so why even bother.” In order to move forward, you must overcome and challenge these limiting beliefs, through positive self-talk, and by seeking support, either through trusted family or friends, or via a professional such as a career coach.
3) Identify your big dream or ideal job characteristics
many of my clients feel stuck, because they are unable to identify their big dream or their ideal job characteristics. They know that they are unhappy, and recognize what they don’t want in a role or in a work environment, but find it difficult to target exactly what they would ideally be seeking. I ask clients to dream big and to consider factors such as salary, work duties, location, work flexibility (e.g. flextime, remote work) and industries/companies of interest, to construct their ideal or dream job. Rather than trying to fit yourself into job descriptions which may not be of true interest to you, by creating your ideal job characteristics, you can become more motivated to find a fit. Further, by developing your ideal job characteristics, you can then evaluate opportunities which may be presented, and see how well they match your dream. While no job may fit them perfectly, it enables you to recognize your deal-breakers, and the areas in which you are willing to make some concessions. It puts the power back in your hands.
4) Publicly announce your plans
positive social pressure can also serve to motivate you. By making your plans public, it may spur you to achieve your goals. So consider broadcasting your plans to the world, or at least to your friends and family via social media and in person contacts.
5) Set a realistic deadline
the average job search takes about 4-6 months, if you are spending 10-15 hours a week on job search activities (e.g. networking, engaging recruiters, etc.). Based on your realistic commitment to the process, it is critical to set a manageable deadline, with daily or weekly goals, which will serve to guide the process. Many clients get demoralized if they set unrealistic timelines (e.g. “I need to get a new job in two weeks). Therefore, you should consider how much you can definitely commit to the process. Start small to make sure you can accomplish your goals, and then gradually build up to more ambitious ones.
6) Continually evaluate your progress-
as you move forward on your goals, it is important to assess your progress. For some, if they don’t meet their deadlines, they become frustrated and may give up. By evaluating your progress, or lack thereof, you can modify your goals, to fit a more realistic framework. It is important to recognize that you control the goals, the goals do not control you. You reserve the right to revise them, but maintain an honest outlook regarding how much effort you are actually putting in to reach them. Persistence and commitment, despite setbacks, are the keys to a successful career transition.
By following these steps, you can build the momentum needed to transition to a better career situation, despite the possible barriers (e.g. decreased motivation due to summer reverie), which might hinder you. Make sure to enjoy the summer, but don’t neglect your career transition needs as well!