Making a shift in your career isn’t easy.
It’s especially difficult to move on from a job you’ve had for many years. Over the years, you grow comfortable and familiar. Breaking up with “comfortable” and “familiar” is a tough task.
Kudos to the people who know exactly what they want from their career and make it happen. They move on from one job to another with minimal hiccups and little time in between.
That wasn’t me. After leaving my secure job of 7.5 years, I needed some space and time. Maybe you can relate.
The benefit of having no backup plan, no “safe” option, is that it gives you space. It allows you to dream and remove the limits from your thinking. You’re not constrained to thinking about your future at the end of the workday or on the weekend, with the issues at work still weighing on your mind.
This career gap is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, what you want and what you don’t want. Grab a journal and take note of what stirs you, what motivates you. This could give you an indication of the direction in which you’re heading.
Use this time wisely
I’ll be honest with you, I spent most of my first few weeks of freedom napping, snacking, and binge-watching Netflix! I quickly realised that lifestyle would soon become a habit if I wasn’t intentional about how to spend my days during this transition.
So, how do you ensure you’re spending your time wisely after you quit your job? Do at least one of these 5 activities each day during a career transition to remedy the guilt that comes with time-wasting.
There’s no better time to get much-needed rest than now! Make the most of this additional time you have on your hands to rest properly and reset for what lies ahead.
When I say rest, I don’t mean just napping on the sofa (although a good power nap can be life-changing!). Try to engage in other activities that fill your tank such as reading a book, going for a walk or relaxing by the pool.
2. Connect with loved ones
You can now say “let’s catch up soon” and know it will happen! No more playing Tetris between calendars, struggling to find a mutually beneficial time for a coffee catch up with your shift worker friend.
I took this up avidly during my career transition and became quite the lady of leisure! Enjoy socialising while you can.
3. Brainstorm the day ahead
If you’re someone who often ends up being idle for lack of a plan, develop a go-to list of things to do when you’re bored. This list may include things like spring cleaning, life admin, gardening, creating something new or volunteering at a local charity.
Use this time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do more of but never seemed to have the time.
4. Refresh your resume
If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t updated your resume in years, letting it collect dust like an old trophy on a shelf reminding you of your glory days. Well, pick up that trophy and dust it off my friend!
Your resume is your ticket back into the world of employment, so get it ready for when you’re ready. Start by giving it a new look. If your resume looks aesthetically pleasing, you’re more likely to want to update its contents. For new and fresh designs, try Canva, a design tool that includes a range of professional resume templates.
This is also the perfect opportunity to reflect on your most recent employment as you summarise your experiences and achievements in writing. What did you value most from this experience? What key skills did you learn? How did you grow?
5. Don’t stop networking
Networking isn’t only for the employed. In my opinion, it’s probably more beneficial for the unemployed! Maintain your connections and continue to build these relationships even after leaving your job. This will help you eventually ease your way back into the workforce.
Even if you intend to move on to a completely unrelated role or start your own business, you never know what seeds you have planted by having conversations with people in your network.
A career transition without known next steps can be scary and full of uncertainty. Though you may not have to answer to anyone, there is one big question worth answering for yourself — what do you want your life to look like?
Once you can answer that question, even at a high level, you’ll have a better idea of the actions you can take today to move toward that life.
Originally published at https://phrasedwithpurpose.com.au on September 29, 2020.