This last month I’ve sat down with three different people who are currently employed but going to make a major career transition soon. This is very different than what I went through last year, where I had a piddly six week severance (I know, many people don’t even get that).
It’s so exciting to see people take their own careers into their own hands! In each case, the person wasn’t looking for more money, they were looking for something they could be passionate about. Take the guy from my post When Cool People Announce They Are In A Job Search (note the awesome comments by Daniel, Bengt, Chuck, Adam, Kellyd, Pete, Darlene, Krystyna, Maggie and Adrian). He makes plenty of money, owns his own business, has all the perks that he could enjoy, but knows that he would be happier in a different type of organization (like the organizations that he used to lead before he went out on his own).
So, follow your passion, that’s the key. But what about the tactics?
If you have the luxury of looking for your next gig with time to spare (lucky you!), here is what I would recommend you do:
- Network. Hate that word? Pick up Never Eat Alone and get a new perspective on what relationships are all about. Then pick up Some Assembly Required to get a ton of networking techniques that you can use right now. The bottom line is to begin to improve relationships with everyone that you can, old friends, new friends, etc. If you haven’t been investing in your relationships start now – see how you can help and give and give and help! (need help figuring out how to manage all of these relationships? Sign up on JibberJobber )
- Strengthen your personal brand. I heard of a career leader yesterday that thinks personal branding is bunk, that perhaps it’s a fad. The only way that personal branding is going away is if Google goes away. Until then people will be looking for information about you, and they will find that (a) you don’t exist (gasp!), (b) you are a party animal, or at least use bad discretion on what you want others to know about you, (c) you are an accomplished professional that cares about what others find out about you… etc. You get the point. If you are going to be starting something new in the next six to twelve months, start building your brand right now, when you start your new gig you will have a solid brand that others can see and understand!
That’s my advice. You can through other stuff in there like read books, get certifications, etc. But I think that those two things, networking and working on your personal brand, should consume the time you have to work on your transition.
What do you think? Am I a broken-record-player simpleton? Am I missing something? What exactly would YOU do if you had six to twelve months to make a transition?