Career transitions are hard. But when I did mine there was one assumption that made it harder than it needed to be.
I shifted to a more purposeful career twenty years ago. At the time I was a lawyer in a leading Law Firm in the City of London.
Initially I did what most leaders do...
I first explored what I really wanted to do. And then I set out to apply for what I thought would be the right jobs.
I knew I wanted to work more directly supporting people and helping them change in some way.
I also had many transferable skills from my training as a lawyer: project management, teamwork, being a trusted advisor, influencing, helping people to see things differently, power of analysis, gathering and synthesising masses of data and making recommendations, interviewing people, I was also bi-cultural and bi-lingual French English.
Like most leaders I assumed that to make the shift I needed to find an advertised role in another organisation.
So I considered joining the charity I was at the time on the Board of - which matched children from deprived areas with supportive mentors. I started to apply to jobs in management consultancy relating to management of employees and workplaces. And in legal recruitment.
The thing is in doing that I missed an option.
Ultimately, the position I ended up moving into was not a job that was advertised in another company. It was created for me in the Law Firm I already worked in.
I arranged to see the Head of HR. I remember sitting there feeling like I only had my inspiration and my dreams to offer. Without a clear grasp on exactly what to say nor exactly what kind of job to ask for.
He heard me out and the next thing I knew he had created the new post of HR Projects Officer. And the job was mine. It involved leading a big people transformation project to get teams of lawyers to work together better across different jurisdictions.
I could never have come up with even the idea of that kind of role. And I had not seen that kind of thing advertised anywhere. But it was a perfect fit for me.
Transitioning to something more purposeful is always going to mean getting out of your comfort zone. And as such it isn’t easy. But seeing if you can partner internally to create something where you are, makes it a little less hard.
It means not to automatically assume that you need to find an existing position somewhere else. It is to see how you can work in a different way in the organisation you are already in.
Gone are the days when meaning, purpose and positive impact automatically mean leaving everything for an NGO or setting up your own business.
A new more purposeful career is often only an internal shift away. To this day 95% of my clients manage to find or create more purposeful positions where they are.
That is because, if you are a high potential or achiever, the chances are that your organisation will want to keep you. And with organisations starting to look for more conscious ways of doing business, new opportunities and career paths are being created everyday.
So once you know what would feel more on purpose for you, the transition could be not as hard as you think.
If you know you are yearning for more purposeful work, but you are not quite sure what your next level of purpose would look like and have been concerned that the transition would be too hard... Then get in touch at [email protected]
and let me help you. This is literally what I do all day...
Remember it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. It might be just be one small step away.
Until Next Time,
Louise is a Next Generation Leadership Catalyst and Advocate.
She helps leaders who are successful but feel that something is missing create and step into impact driven careers and leadership. Specifically she guides them align to purpose, create meaningful work and become the Next Generation Leaders they are meant to be. Aka the Visionaries, Innovators and System Shifters who are building the loving sustainable world of tomorrow where we can all flourish.
She is the Founder and CEO of Positive Energy Leaders and the Creator of The Positive Energy Academy - An online course, incubator and transformational community to find your purpose and create fulfilling, meaningful work that has a positive impact.
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