Turning an ending into a new beginning may just need a first decision, followed by a first step.
There may come a time (and there usually is), when you realize that the pain of maintaining your professional status quo is greater than the potential pain of changing paths. Let’s call reaching the end of the proverbial road, the ‘necessary restlessness’.
It’s that discomfort that helps you ask the tough questions: Am I happy? Do I want a change? And if so, in what way?
Restlessness and the choices it creates: 3 client scenarios
I spoke with 3 different clients this month who were reflecting on their career trajectory, reaching very important conclusions:
Client A has been fighting a long battle that didn’t seem worth it anymore. The energy spent over the last year putting in place measures that were alien to the prevailing culture had taken its toll on him. Why continue to fight the lone fight? Why not spend his energy in an environment that was more receptive to his leadership style and personal values?
Client B was sharing how her new assignment was simply not a good fit. At this point she knew she wanted out. Her real aspiration was to take charge of her future by moving to a new organization.
Client C was debating whether to continue working or stop altogether. Should she continue for a few more years? Yet, after 20 years of dedicated service, she was no longer sure she had the motivation to keep moving. What she really wanted was to find a graceful way towards retirement.
The first next steps A.K.A what happens after you hang up the gloves
Client A felt like a fish out of water. After doing an inventory of his values, we flushed out the characteristics of his optimum work environment. It became very clear to him that his current work place was no match for the innovation and challenge he was seeking.
After contacting his previous company, he was informed that there was an opening in his field, in a culture that was compatible with his values. He decided to complete what he called his ‘tour of duty’, while preparing to leave. The bounce is back in his step.
Client B realized she was unlikely to find new opportunities until she got her MoJo back. She had been transferred to a part of the organization that didn’t match her skill set, further eroding her self-confidence. Could she shore up her reserves and augment her skills before she left for greener pastures?
Yes! She decided to get active in her professional network and find ways to contribute and connect. She was energized again, ready to bring new meaning to her work life, without making a major move at this time. She focused on building herself up and developing relationships with those who would appreciate her strengths. She would leave when she was ready.
Client C decided to give it one more year. One more year to realize projects she had been dreaming of doing for a long while. One more year to tie loose ends and bring closure to a full career. With a definite end date in mind, she could feel the weight lift off her shoulders. She rekindled her enthusiasm for a profession she loved.
When faced with what looks like a dead end, many choices open up
…And that’s the beauty of restlessness! It gets you to ask honest questions and seek plain answers.
- Do you take the nearest exit?
- Do you find a way to transform the ending into a new beginning?
- Do you celebrate the ending and bring a chapter of your life to a close?
Feel free to add to this list of possibilities. There is no right way or wrong way.
Only you know what is best for you in this moment in your career and in your life. Know however, that there are many options available to stage your exit, even as you reach the end of a particular road.
After all, it’s only the end of a trajectory, not the end of YOU.
What are some choices you’ve made for yourself when the ‘necessary restlessness’ sets in? Your comment may benefit someone else. I look forward to reading it.