Dying to Know: Dealing With The Uncertainty of a Career Transition

4 years ago

At one point or another in your life, you have gone through some type of life transition. Whether it’s in a relationship, within your family, growing your business, self-exploration, or changing career directions. It’s the ebb and flow of life that keeps us in constant movement and change.

The type of transition that tends to bring out the most angst in people is a career transition. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you decided enough is enough and you walked off the job. Maybe you took a leave of absence and you’re ready for what’s next. Maybe you’re working right now in a job that is less than meaningful for you and you’re wondering what else is there. Regardless of where you may find yourself in your career, one thing is for certain; there is one common theme that prevails throughout any career transition.

Uncertainty. Or fear of the unknown.

For many years we have been groomed to always head in the direction of predictability. Making decisions where you can foresee the outcome with a reasonable amount of certainty of what’s going to happen next. This knowing is where our security lies, gives us peace of mind, and allows us to feel in control.

Consider this: a large part of our identity comes from the career or the job title we hold. When we don’t have the title and we’re unsure of what to call ourselves, it’s like we lose a piece of our identity. If we can’t say, “I’m Sharon Morris, Director of Marketing Services” or “I’m Alexa, an attorney for Chase Financial Services”, then who are we? This is exactly what happens when we go through a career transition. It’s the in between space of transitions that leaves us feeling so vulnerable and uncomfortable because a big part of our “who” is missing. We begin to fill ourselves with uncertainty and the doubt begins to surface as we search for something, anything to hold on to.

What if we let go of the need to know? What if we instead replaced the uncertainty with loving adjectives that really displayed the truth of who we are instead of finding it in a job title? What if we stepped into:

  • Exploration; fearlessly investigate the unknown and be willing to discover a new playing field and tap into new territory.
  • Curiosity; be willing to be led by your curiosity into new thoughts and ideas. Learn and be inquisitive to new activities and interests. 
  • Adventure; invite yourself into an exciting one-of-a-kind experience; immerse yourself in creativity. Be willing to be bold and daring.

When was the last time you were one of these things? Or all three?! Perhaps when you were a child. Being explorative, curious, and adventuresome comes easy for us when we’re younger because they are our natural way of being. The beauty is that those qualities are still there; they have just been buried underneath all the uncertainty.

My challenge for you this week is to pick one of these qualities and apply it to your career. Not sure how? Ask yourself: “If I was being explorative in my career, what could I do?” The first thing that pops to mind, do it! Don’t over think it, don’t second-guess, or over analyze it. The first thought you have usually comes from your best self until the inner critic comes along to squelch it. Not this time. Go with your gut on this, activate your intuition, and allow your career transition to come alive by adding more:

  1. Exploration
  2. Curiosity
  3. Adventure

Keep me posted on how it goes…ariane@arianehunter.com.

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