A career move can be one of the most complicated maneuvers you’ll ever have to make in your life. You can help yourself by picking an approach that moves you forward naturally, phase by phase.
Chances are, you’re thinking about making a career move.
Gallup reports that half of the US workforce is actively searching for a new job or on the lookout for new opportunities. Which is not surprising given that the same report talks about the consistent percentage of disengaged workers—about two-thirds, year in year out.
So, like I said, there’s a good bet you’re considering a career move.
It may be a small one (going for promotion to the next level or changing jobs) or a reinvent-yourself-and-your-career type of thing (like I did!).
Either way, the point when you’re just about to start and get going with this career move is always a challenge, isn’t it?
Newton did say that a body at rest will stay at rest until an external force happens to it.
But even when an external force is happening to us—when our industry gets disrupted for example, such as what happened to the music industry—making a career move can still be overwhelming.
So much so that many, many people just don’t do anything until they are forced to do something.
Here at Second Breaks though, we talk about proactively directing our future, right? We don’t sit around and wait for the boulder to fall 😃
So, how to plan your career move without getting overwhelmed, that’s the question.
Your Career Move as a Project
I want to suggest that you approach your career move as a project, instead of this momentous, life-changing, turning point.
If you are someone motivated by big declarations and tectonic shifts, well my friend, go to town and have at it.
My management consulting years taught me that there’s a better chance for something to actually happen when the thing that we want to achieve feels manageable.
- When we can see a beginning and an end.
- When we can imagine a progression path.
- And when we can reasonably expect to achieve interim, tangible results at the end of each step.
A project naturally feels that way.
Start it wherever you are and end it when you reach a predetermined end-result (i.e., your project objective).
You can break down your big-picture project into several smaller units—where you can anticipate getting to your target results within weeks or days even, instead of months and years.
You can have multiple projects that you string together to follow one after the other, each one being its own manageable chunk of decisions, actions, and results.
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*end the paralysis analysis already.
Your First Milestone is Your First Project
Let’s apply this approach now to your career move. Think of the first smallest milestone you want to achieve in your career move. You can think of this first thing as your first project. At first, don’t worry about what comes after that milestone.
For example, let’s say that you want to make a career change but are not sure about what it is exactly you want to do. Clearly, you cannot move forward unless you find the answer to this question!
In this example, your first milestone, therefore, is figuring out what you want to do or where you want to take your career. This could be your first career project, which can now be further fleshed out with its set of smaller, actionable steps.
At the end of this first project, you’ll have reached a concrete, tangible result—the answer to that big question about where you want to take your career. Now you can celebrate and mark your progress. Woot!
Your next project is now the logical next step, depending on the result of the first one.
There’s a better chance for something to actually happen when the thing that we want to achieve feels manageable.
Pick Processes That Work for Your Career Move
Big massive projects are wearying—to the pocket, to the mind, and to the spirit.
Navigating a career move can be among the most complicated ones you’ll ever have to do in your life, particularly if you’re making a career change. You can help yourself by using processes and structures that make things easier and more manageable.
Approaching your career move as a series of small projects will help in all the stages of your career change, and will naturally push you forward, phase by phase.
Over to You
What kind of career move are you considering? Can you see this approach working for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.