Are you wondering how to make a successful transition to more fulfilling work without the risk of leaving your current organization?
I advise my clients that, sometimes, the best way to make a transition is to stay within your current organization. You’ve worked hard. You’ve have amassed some sweat equity. Now it is time to cash it in for work that is more rewarding. Let me walk you through some of the steps needed to forge your own path in your current organization.
Admittedly, this blog post is not for everybody, however, if any of the statements below sound familiar, I urge you to keep reading.
- You are no longer learning from your manager or position
- You find yourself restless, bored and unsatisfied on most days at work
- You have an itch that is not being met during working hours
- You’ve recently completed a degree program outside of your current field
- You’re drained by the work
- You’re using less than 50% of your skills
It’s okay to want more
If you are like many of my clients, then I know you’ve been successful in your current position. In fact, you probably feel a little guilty for being restless or unsatisfied in your current role. You might be thinking “I have a nice position and I make good money. I should be grateful”. Don’t feel guilty!
You are good at what you do, that’s wonderful, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop there. You’re what I call a reacher! The good news is, you can reach high without leaving behind the hard work and success you’ve earned in your current organization. In other words, don’t leave behind all the positive contributions you’ve made to your organization during your tenure. It can be as good as money in the bank when it comes to making cross-organization career moves.
The truth is, it’s highly unlikely you will find a job that meets 100% of your skills and interest. (That would be like winning $100 million on a five-dollar lotto ticket. Possible, but highly unlikely). Instead, the goal is to move you from a role were your skills and interest are 25% aligned to one where you are 75% aligned. The key is to keep driving towards more alignment and work fulfillment. Trust me on this, the shift you are seeking is worth the effort. In the remainder of this blog, I will outline the steps you can take to move in a more fulfilling work without the risk.
10 Ways to transition to more fulfilling work
#1 Get a quick and accurate assessment of your abilities.
In one of my previous blogs, I shared a video that gives three methods for getting a clear view of your skills and talents. Here is the link to that video. My advice is to take the shortest path possible to get this data. My favorite tool is the Highlands Ability Battery.
# 2 Discover your passion
Start with your work. Over the next two or three weeks pay close attention to the activities that excited, delight and fascinate you. These are the things you want to do first, even if the role does not require it. Just write down what you were doing that falls into this category. Additionally, take note of what peaks your curiosity when talking to your family, friends or co-workers about their work. This exercise is about shifting your attention away from what you don’t like and noticing things that are interesting to you. This can be done while reading online, scrolling through Facebook, or watching TV. Just mark down what the topic, and keep a running list. You’ll start to notice patterns.
# 3 Get feedback
The beautiful thing about being in a relationship is they get to hear and see us in a way that is unique. Your spouse might see or have heard you talk of an interest or passion many times.
# 4 Enroll your manager’s support
Most people don’t make their manager’s work hard enough. Career development and retention is an important part of your managers role. Talk to her about what she sees as your core strengths and opportunities.
Caution: Make sure your supervisor knows you have no desire to resign your position or leave the organization. Make it clear that you are only exploring options and opportunities.
Let her know your interest and get her perspective. By talking to her and getting her permission to explore, it will be easier execute on other steps. You want to enroll your supervisor as a supporter and engage them on your behalf. A good leader will want to retain your talents within the organization, even if you are leaving their department.
# 5 Search the job boards for ideas
Start by looking at your internal job boards fist. Pay attention to roles and responsibilities that look interesting to you. It does not have to be a complete match and you don’t have to be 100% qualified. You are just looking for what resonates. Additionally, look at the internet job boards for the same thing. Remember you are looking for ideas and not a new job at this point.
# 6 Conduct informational interviews
An information interview is a meeting where you interview someone about their job. You are not looking for a job. In the information interview you are trying to determine what roles exist outside of your current field. The goal of the informational interview is to learn about these roles in order to see what else is possible for you. You want to get a clear view of the skills used, responsibilities, and even pitfalls of the job. Do these inside and outside your organization. Just let the interviewee know you are not looking for a job, you just want to learn about what they do. Very few people will take this step. In my experience, this type of energy and these conversations get positive momentum moving for people who are looking to make a transition. Don’t skip this step.
# 7 Create a short list of possibilities
Write down and review what you’ve learned. What are your core skills? Where does you interest reside? Are there roles within your organization that are a match for your skills and interest? Don’t expect it to be an immediate match to an open or existing position within the organization. Remember the sweat equity that you’ve been building? It is time to re-engage your supervisor for her support.
# 8 Talk to your network about your short list
Yes, this is scary to talk to your manager about doing something different. The people who do this successfully often make transitions. They have relationships and a view of the organization that might be better than yours. Ask her who you could or should talk to about future opportunities around your short list.
# 9 Get Creative
More than likely there is no role that is an exact match you want to do. Don’t be discouraged. It is time to get creative. You may have to dip your toes into the new work before transitioning completely to more fulfilling work.
I remember coaching an accountant who was a brilliant musician and videographer. He moved out of the accounting world by loaning the company his videography skills. By dipping his toes into this work and showing people what he could do, he parlayed that into creating a successful video department with two additional people reporting to him. This transition took a year to happen. It required patience and persistence and creativity.
# 10 Assemble a support team
Making a transition to more rewarding work within your organization is possible and a smart option. In addition to your supervisor and spouse, enlist the support of a mentor or coach. The people who make a transition to more fulfilling work keep poking around, exploring, and staying in action. To do this work over the long run, you need to keep your spirits high. Find a career coach or mentor who has helped others make this type of transition. You and your spouse need someone who can help you to shoulder the mental and emotional load needed to stay encouraged and optimistic.
As I said initially, the shift to fulfilling work is worth the investment to get there. If you’ve stayed with me this entire article, then you have what it takes to make the shift.
If you are looking for additional support, click here to find out more about how to work with me in a way that fits your budget and schedule.