career transition made easy-ish

Monday, August 22, 2022

One thing they don’t tell you in College is that you may have to restart your career a couple of times. Sure, there are a few people who choose a stable path that leads to working for one company in one location and retiring after their service time is over. 


I met people who moved several times because of their parent’s careers. One thing is for sure: the transition time between ending one assignment and starting the other can be tough. The thing is, there is something you can do to make the transition easier. If we learn to look at transition times as manageable, life becomes more pleasant. 


I had to transition between careers a couple of times. Well, 8 times. The most challenging one was going from stay-at-home mom to working mom. I remember crying the night before I went back to work while making peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches. 


I was surrounded by encouragement from family and friends. Still, I was overwhelmed by the unknown. 


The first day was the easiest day I had at that job. God truly helped me and allowed me to thrive despite the difficulties I faced. If I knew then what I now know, I’d relax and know God is in control and He was going to be with me every day. 


Recently, I made another career transition. This time, I had the gift of perspective. I had experience from all the times I had to start over. Here are the best tips:

1 • Make a list of things that make life easier • I have a mentor who constantly tells me “get it out of your head! Even if it is a sticky note!” I made a list of realistic things that needed to happen so I could confidently go back to work. My list was simple. All of my clothes needed to be organized for the work week. The gas tank needed to be full. I needed to decide how I was going to invest in my commute time. I also needed to pack lunch for the office as well as snacks.


2 • Do something special for yourself • One time, I took the time to write in my journal so I would remember that time in years to come. Another time, I went to the sale section of a store and I found a new dress. Doing something special for yourself may be as simple as uninterrupted reading or flowers from the grocery store. Mark this special occasion by taking care of yourself. 


3 • Rest • Getting exhausted before starting a new season in your career is not a good move. You are going to need the energy to establish a new routine. If you are a parent, you still need to keep up with the demands you have at home. If you can, rest. I know that taking off for endless time at a SPA is not practical for everyone. What we can all do is go to sleep 15 minutes earlier than we usually do so we get enough rest at night. Resting includes clearing your mind from the endless demands of your digital devices. Cutting back is wise. Start small. Stay faithful. 


These three tips made my latest career transition manageable. I was tired at the end of the first week but I knew that all my preparation was worth it. 


If you are going back to work, hang in there. Everyone goes through transitions. There is more merit in the encouragement you will find if you refuse to compare yourself to others. 


You can do this. Take it from me and from many others who had to change and reinvent themselves. Things will work out.