August the 21st invited millions of curious spectators across North America and other parts of the world to view an extraordinary event that connects the Earth and sky in a unique way -- the solar eclipse.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth, and when the moon fully or partially blocks the sun. While many people may not attribute any particular significance to this event, solar eclipses are said to impact environmental, psychological, and spiritual changes.
With a solar eclipse, there may be a temporary period of darkness and uncertainty. When our career takes a sudden turn or an "eclipse" as a result of a downsizing, industry restructuring, or life transition, we may feel like we are standing in the dark (although temporarily). We are then enforced to rethink our authentic purpose and make life-altering decisions. Feeling perplexed and losing sight of our “career vision” is common during a transition.
Why is change sometimes complex?
We have common principles of change that influence how we perceive change and drive our attitudes and actions. The concept of change may spark some fears along with perceived barriers to success. If we view change as awkward and focus on what we’re giving up rather than conceiving of all the exciting possibilities, we will have difficulty making a vital transition.
On the contrary, if we perceive change as empowering, we will subconsciously make every effort to make the career transformation process an exciting venture driven by our positive thoughts, choices, actions, and behaviours.
We all have different levels of change readiness, which makes career transitions seem overwhelming. When we perceive our resources or supports as limited rather than plentiful and helpful, we will project that mindset into our daily life, which can hinder productive change efforts. Resisting change will revert us back to our old and comfortable behaviours and settings that may even stunt growth. Allowing change to happen while trusting in the process can be a fulfilling experience that promotes growth and discovery, and unearths our boundless potential to experience the essence of self-actualization.
During a solar eclipse, when we look at the horizon, we can witness the colors of sunrise and sunset around us in every direction and experience the wonders of nature and the universe in awe. However, looking at a solar eclipse without wearing protective eyeglasses may damage our vision.
Comparatively,we cannot view career change without being prepared or while wearing our "rose-coloured glasses" for too long. We need to view career change optimistically, but with an understanding that our life choices, in fact, shape our career choices. We need to set clear-focused goals while leveraging spontaneous chance events and securing trusted networks to guide our vision along the way. Believing in our abilities and taking fruitful action is the key.
According to some popular theories, we experience various stages of the Change Cycle through a career transition. This involves experiencing Loss to Doubt to Discomfort, then Discovery and Understanding, to finally, Integration, where our confidence and focus is restored and we become more productive. The Laid off to Living TM Model describes change as transcending from the past to present to future to envision and create the possibilities -- “what was” to “what is” to “what will be”.
Here are 7 steps to help you prepare for your next career transition:
Accept that career change is happening. Put change in a new perspective starting with a positive, forward-thinking attitude. Prepare for the change by refining your mindset and building bridges with supportive networks.
Take stock of all your skills and experiences. Reflect on all the skills that you have developed and understand your professional experience from different angles. What have you accomplished that sets you apart? What are the challenges that lie ahead for you and how can they be addressed?
Re-evaluate your career goals and create a new career action plan with a career professional’s support. Where are you now and where do you want to be? What do you need to do to move yourself forward? Set SMART goals. Explore your options fully. Reassess your experience, skills, interests, and “why” for working. Create a mission/vision statement.
Assess and stay true to your values. If you are seeking a career that offers interesting work, a higher salary, and a 40-hour work week, look for a job that embodies those values. Otherwise, you will compromise your values and career satisfaction.
Have your resume and LinkedIn professionally customized to enhance your brand. Seek a career professional to help you create your brand marketing portfolio that showcases results-driven achievements.
Network actively in your field and industry. Talk to professionals -- find out what initiatives your networks are connected with. Get involved in engineering and implementing field-related ideas that solve real problems.
Celebrate small milestones as well as big milestones. Throughout every step of the career change process, remember to acknowledge, record, and track your achievements, including your learning, successes, and setbacks.
If you are experiencing a partial or total career eclipse, contact Creative Horizons Communications to position yourself for greater career success.
Lori Jazvac is a passionate Founder and Certified Resume Strategist/Career Consultant and Certified Career Transition Coach with Creative Horizons Communications. Lori provides strategic solutions to enhance the career success of various jobseekers across North America and abroad.