While transitioning into a new position can be stressful, Loddie Foose shares facts and data on career transitions that may help the jump be an exuberant one.
I left in shame, quietly.” My heart ached as I listened to the thoughtful woman in front of me describing what it was like to quit her job at a large analytics and consulting firm. She had internalized it as a personal failure, and was now facing the unknowns of what she would do next. But as I asked her questions to understand the reason why she left, it was clear she felt as a mid-level leader she could no longer lead with integrity. She was feeling squeezed in the middle, facing mounting pressures from above her while trying to ‘protect’ the level below her. So this articulate, empathetic and intelligent leader had actually left as a deep honoring of her values. And companies like hers lose huge amounts of human capital every year from attrition. Voluntary turnover is estimated to cost US companies $1 trillion per year according to Gallup, a global analytics and consultancy group. Discussing this failure point and how to address it is a whole other topic, but feelings of fear and / or failure in career transitions have come up for me personally and many times for the women I coach and mentor. Here, in the next few minutes together, let’s consider how we might instead embrace the unknown in a career transition as a potential source of joy and inspiration.
I have left my stable corporate roles in the past to embrace the unknown on more than one occasion (in fact, I’m in a period of ‘Deep Rest’ as of the writing of this article). I’ve also transitioned from one functional area and disease area to another many times over my career, using all of these experiences to broaden my perspective of how different parts of the healthcare industry operate, and where I as a leader can add the greatest value with my particular skills and passions. The reason for these changes and entries into the unknown varied at each point, and they were quite scary early on, but what they taught me is just how elastic our learning capabilities can be, and that there is nothing more exciting than jumping into the unknown and seeing how it helps us grow. Evolution throughout history has required some stressors, and personal evolution is no different!
I spoke with Dr. Sofia Gallego, a postdoctoral scholar in astronomy at Caltech and an artist who is going through a career transition as of the writing of this article. She studies the cosmic web and its filaments, i.e. the universe’s underlying interconnected networks of galaxies, gas, and dark matter. Though most of the cosmic web is dark matter and hence not directly observable, there are trace gases that gather along the cosmic filaments, allowing scientists to study the Big Bang, the distribution and flow of matter and energy throughout the cosmos, and how the universe continues to evolve over time. As Dr. Gallego puts it, the magic is in the way these filaments “make the invisible… visible.” Similarly, exploring the unknown in a career transition is about having faith in the journey and how it will help us grow even when these things feel “invisible” at the start. But, as figuratively depicted in the cover art of this article, it can be helpful to make the invisible filaments more visible using some specific tools. To do so we will borrow a framework from science and see how that can help us reduce our fear of the unknown as we take the first steps on our journey towards growth and greater joy.
Key points include:
- A scientists perspective on exploring the unknown
- Moving beyond what is holding you back
- Putting oomph into progress
Read the full article, Career Transitions: How to Jump into the Unknown and Love It, on LinkedIn.