Six Keys to Finding Your Professional Soul Mate


By Morag Barrett on April 7, 2015

Posted by Morag Barrett | April 7, 2015Six Keys to Finding Your Professional Soul MateIn March, I left the insurance industry after 11 years. It wasn’t my first time around. I have been a serial ‘industry’ monogamist for years. I left my first love, banking and investments in 1999, for the lure of IT. Then, when IT felt like too much of a risk, I retreated into insurance for safety, and a solid comp structure. What’s next?Like many serials, once my bank account had a bit of a reserve, I was in the market for passion. It took me a couple of years, and some serious networking to find it, but finally, I am in love. I joined SkyeTeam, an international, leadership development consultancy that has been successful aligning teams toward common goals; really, getting everyone moving in the same direction.Apparently, I am not alone in looking for a change. The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) statistics state that the proportion of workers planning to change jobs in 2015 has almost doubled year-on-year to reach 37%. After years of economic and job growth uncertainty, it is time to move. So what is stopping you? Moving from the known to the unknown can be unsettling, as they say, the devil you know…Changing jobs nee careers takes guts. Here are six keys to making it work:Know what drives you – before you make any move, spend some time understanding what you want. What do you love about what you do; what do you loathe? What things during your day make your pulse race, and what things sap your energy? I recommend spending the next two weeks to one month assessing your mood, energy, and motivation. When you present to a group, are you energized or unnerved? Do team meetings make you want to pick up the marker and take charge, or sit in the back of the room and check your messages? Your best thinking may be done alone working out solutions in your head, solving problems and building plans. Find out what defines your “best day”, and seek opportunities that maximize those experiences. Sometimes career challenges impact lifestyle and those in our lives. Be sure to factor degree of travel, commute, and after hours commitments into your research. Once you find the right fit, you’re ready to move.Make contact – ideally, prepare before you jump. A good personal coach or mentor can help you see things in yourself that may be hard to decode from your “insider” perspective. It is important to find someone whose opinion you trust, and who knows you in a professional context. Find consistent times to meet either on the phone or in person, and set goals for what you want to achieve by when. This strategy is particularly important forcing you to set aside time regularly to assess your progress toward change. Without outside council to hold you accountable for getting things done like updating your resume or your Linked In profile, daily duties can pull you in making you forget you were ever looking for something new.Network – While you’re looking, and even after you have a new role, it is important to let people know what you are looking for, or where you have moved. Identify a few trusted confidants for full disclosure while your looking, and reach out to others listening to the issues impacting their roles. Ask questions, and you’ll be surprised what you can learn. Once you are on the move, make sure to let everyone know – even those you think might not be able to help you, or with whom you have lost touch. Think through your neighbors, the parents of your kids’ friends, college pals, old, business chums, and make sure they know where you have landed. You never know who can help or who knows someone working in your field. Relationships matter, because business is personal.Make a plan – a 90-day plan to be exact – even if your new role doesn’t require it. What do you want to accomplish? A good 90-day plan outlines contacts you need to make that are both internal to your company and external. It will detail sources of industry knowledge to access, and external groups that have opinions that matter to those “in the know”. Be sure to include time to set expectations with leaders, and peers as well as time to assess progress. A plan is a great place to prioritize the initial projects and tasks assigned. Once you get a handle on the basics, you’re ready to contribute ideas.Study hard – You outlined it in your plan, now be sure not to lose site of it! Spend time understanding your new position/industry. It is difficult to be proactive with all the reactive work we get in a day (e.g., the dreaded email). Right from the start, set aside time to focus on insights. What are key industry-minds writing about, or innovations that are emerging? Which are the names to know that, when said, everyone knows – and you should too. Set a reoccurring meeting in your calendar on Tuesday afternoons, or Thursday at 8 a.m. whenever you can focus, and commit to learning.Prepare for adversity – the safety and security of your old role isn’t easily replaced. A new job is a great reason to set the “reset” button, and refresh old habits, but don’t be surprised if you feel uncertainty. Nobel laureate psychologist Daniel Kahnman measured, and found people regret mistakes at least twice as often as they savor success, making our minds default to “fear”. Moving on isn’t a mistake- it is growth, growth we all need to feel alive.Once you’ve gotten to know yourself, re-ignited your network, and found that new opportunity, ensure success by continuing growth in your new role. Think about how you’re wired, and how the styles of those at your new company compare. Continue the learning that was your catalyst for change. We spend more time at work than we do just about any other activity (which includes sleeping, of you’re like me), so we should absolutely LOVE it. I am in love with my job. Are you?SkyeTeam has worked with more than 3,000 leaders in 20 countries, and on 4 continents providing mentoring to leaders who want to invest in their top talent, as well as themselves. How are your investments maturing?Related ArticlesTags »career advicenew job Share
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