The “In Between” of Job Transition

This week we are re-publishing this favorite post from Feb 2014. 

For those of you who, like me, have lived through or are currently experiencing that “in-between” place of job transition, you may see a barren desert between periods of employment. Instead, I would like to suggest that being “in-between” can be a very lush and fruitful place to be, if seen in the proper perspective.

For many people, working day after day in the same role can create numbness to what is really important. The shock of losing that job understandably sends many people into a tailspin. To move from gainfully employed through to successful employment again, it helps to spend some time exploring the “in-between.” In my job transition coaching practice, I work with my clients to spend the “in-between” working on the following critical activities:

Explore your true feelings about being out of work – There are a lot of emotions that come from losing your job, whether you left voluntarily or involuntarily. Your ego may be wounded, you may be angry at your old boss or the company. You may feel relief. Whatever is going on inside of you, try to get in touch with that and live with it for a bit. Determine if the emotion is helpful to your job search and leverage it or get rid of it, as appropriate.

Determine what is really important to you – Have you ever really thought about what is most important to you? You can figure this out by considering what really enlivens you and by evaluating what drives you nuts. For instance, does working, head down, on a project for hours at a time get you excited, or do you prefer a team effort? Does disorganization in yourself or in others drive you nuts or are you oblivious to it? What sort of impact do you want to make, in your personal life and in your professional life?

Be clear about your strengths – Each of us has a certain set of abilities in which we excel. What are these things for you and how could they be used in a new role? To help with really defining these strengths, consider your prior performance appraisals and feedback from co-workers, as well as those activities or skills that “light you up” when you’re engaged in them. You could also use an assessment like Gallup StrengthsFinder or Insights Discovery to help you with this.

Define your brand – This is sometimes called your elevator pitch. You can put it together from the insights you’ve gained in the “in between” – your values, your strengths, feedback, etc. It’s the short (30 – 90 second) answer you give when asked what kind of job you are looking for. It is brief, uses action words and enlivens you when you say it.

Next comes the obvious work of networking, refining your resume, and applying for jobs and interviewing. We all know these steps are critical to job-hunting; however, if you haven’t taken advantage of the “in-between” and spent the time necessary to dig deep into your emotions, your strengths and your brand, you may not discover the perfect job that brings the best out in you.

Taking some time in the “in-between” during a job transition can provide a valuable vantage point when viewed with the proper perspective. Take a moment to tell me about your experiences in the “in-between.”

If you are in your own career transition, please join my BOOST Career Transition Workshop beginning Oct 23, 2015. For more information and registration, click here.

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