Making a Career Transition

In the last week’s episode we discussed 3 tips to make a successful college to career transition. This week we are focusing on making a career transition into a new job or career, if you feel like your career is not aligned with your life’s work and purpose.

Career transitions are difficult, as there are many things to consider.

Some things we think about when trying to make a career transition is your location, finances, leaving friends behind from your current company, the unknown of entering into a new company with it’s own office politics – which is always different at each company – and trying to make a job or career decision that is better than the decisions we may have made in the past.

Here are 3 tips to help out this entire process.

3 Tips to Make a Career Transition Easy

Tip #1: Do Your Research to Make Educated Career Transition Decisions

As I mentioned in last weeks episode for those looking to make the college to career transition and finding a job out of college that is rewarding and fulfilling, the same process can be used to make a career transition.

In Episode 13, we went through 7 Steps to Find the Career You Love. I highly recommend you use the process outlined in this episode as a way to research and get educated about the potential jobs and career paths that align with your current abilities, education, experience, knowledge and skills.

You can also download a copy of the 7 Steps to Find the Career You Love free ebook below!

This process really works at any level of your career to discover new jobs, careers, and get some insights on different companies out there. It actually is more easier to reach out to other professionals on platforms like LinkedIn, as you can often times find someone with a similar background and send them initial messages that build off of this similar past experience.

When I used this process when I was looking at jobs at Boeing, Honeywell, and a few other companies across the United States, I was reaching out to people on LinkedIn and most people I connected with ended up loving motorcycles. Having been an employee at Harley-Davidson at the time, the brand equity of working at this iconic motorcycle brand gave me a ton of equity to begin a conversation with fellow motorcycle lovers.

This then held true again with the first recruiter from Apple that reached out to me. He was really into motorcycles and we ended up talking more about motorcycles over emails than anything else. I truly believe this helped me with getting the job there, as I built a good relationship with him and he mentioned he submit my resume to a few other groups looking to hire Global Supply Managers.

As I mentioned last week, build meaningful relationships! You never know how a relationship may impact your future.

7 Steps to Find the Career You Love - Free eBook Download

7 Steps to Find the Career You Love

FREE eBook Download
Download

This process really works at any level of your career to discover new jobs, careers, and get some insights on different companies out there. It actually is more easier to reach out to other professionals on platforms like LinkedIn, as you can often times find someone with a similar background and send them initial messages that build off of this similar past experience.

When I used this process when I was looking at jobs at Boeing, Honeywell, and a few other companies across the United States, I was reaching out to people on LinkedIn and most people I connected with ended up loving motorcycles. Having been an employee at Harley-Davidson at the time, the brand equity of working at this iconic motorcycle brand gave me a ton of equity to begin a conversation with fellow motorcycle lovers.

This then held true again with the first recruiter from Apple that reached out to me. He was really into motorcycles and we ended up talking more about motorcycles over emails than anything else. I truly believe this helped me with getting the job there, as I built a good relationship with him and he mentioned he submit my resume to a few other groups looking to hire Global Supply Managers.

As I mentioned last week, build meaningful relationships! You never know how a relationship may impact your future.

Tip #2: Focus on Fulfillment First, Money & Benefits Second

I’ve seen many people get on the downward spiral of making career transition after career transition, job hopping every 8-9 months in search for a better job or a better career.

Most of the time, these people got stuck at the same level in their career and began looking to advance their career into a higher position.

They have maybe tried to work their way up in one company, but weren’t successful. Then, they tried to get a promotion through a job hopping, and maybe they got the job title they wanted, but the person-company dynamic didn’t work out.

They then start looking for a solid company to get into that would allow them the opportunity to grow into a better position, but with each company having their own obstacles, they would start searching again after learning over the course of a few months that it wasn’t a good fit.

The main obstacles we all face in a new job include ensuring we fit the job and company well, then proving our abilities on the new team, and finally getting in line behind all the other working toward the next available promotion.

Often times, this downward spiral occurs because we are chasing money, thinking that more financial comfort will relieve the stress of finances from our family, allow us to live a comfortable life, raise our children well, and lead us to becoming more happy.

The truth is, if you achieve that next level, more money brings more responsibility, more hours, more time away from home, missing major family events, and less fulfillment with life. As Notorious B.I.G.’s hit single titles it, “more money, more problems.”

In order to earn more money, we will have to suffer in another way.

This is often a lesson the people going into the normal corporate or organizational working career life tend to ignore.

I was guilty of ignoring the sacrifices I was giving up in pursuit for more financial freedom until I reached Apple.

I was definitely able to start paying of large portions of my debt each month, yet I was thousands of miles away from home, my fiancee, my entire family, and everything I knew. It wasn’t until I was stuck in that situation that I realized I was working toward the wrong goal.

In your career, fulfillment needs to be the number one priority. If you are fulfilled with your career, it will be easier to succeed. You will be able to accomplish more, with less energy. You will have time for your family and friends, while still increasing your income over time.

If you work toward fulfillment in your career, you will eventually become wealthy in all areas of your life – including money, family time, better friendships, and so on.

However, if you neglect our human need of fulfillment, we may grow our income and rank in the corporate world faster, but sooner or later the sacrifices we had to make to get there may turn into regrets.

I personally hate having regrets.

I hate looking back wondering what if.

Yes, in any situation you have to choose between the lesser of two evils, but if you focus on fulfillment to find true happiness in your career, you will in-time prevent yourself from feeling the many negative effects that come from chasing money and a high profile career.

For example, when I made the decision to take the job at Apple, I gave up finishing my MBA and staying on a team at Harley with people I truly enjoyed being around every day, in my home city of Milwaukee, WI. On-top of that, I gave up seeing my fiancee, family, and friends on a regular basis. Although my fiancee would come out once a month to visit, I would not see my family and friends for several months at a time.

In return for all of that, I doubled my income and got to travel to China. That’s about it.

Also, my living expenses just about doubled, so my income really only went up by about 25%, all things considered.

A part of me regrets leaving that all behind, as I had a good amount of free time and good pay with my job at Harley for the Milwaukee area.  

Yet, if I had not taken the job, I would have always wondered what if I had taken the job at Apple.

So, in either situation I would have wondered and maybe regretted my decision, but that is because at the time I wasn’t focused on fulfillment.

If I had been focused on building the most fulfilling career, it would have been a no brainer to stay at Harley-Davidson and build my podcast, courses, blog, supplement company, and everything else on the side.

Yet, hindsight is always 20-20… hopefully, by making fulfillment a top priority for you, you will always be confident in your decisions with your career transition and never look back with regrets.

After leaving Apple, not a day has gone by that I have said I should have stayed at Apple. I am doing work that aligns directly with my life’s work and purpose – helping others.

Every day that I get a message or email from someone on the many platforms I am on telling me that I helped them out in their situation and thanking me for my help reconfirms my decision.  

I actually recently helped someone out on Reddit going through the same struggle – stay in a high profile career making the most money she had ever earned, or follow a more passionate route of helping children through working in a library. She had always wanted to work with children and around children literature. I gave her this same advice – make fulfillment her top priority and make the decision from that standpoint. She commented back a few weeks later saying:

“I kept your comment in ming throughout this whole process, and I just wanted to say thank you for being a huge motivating factor in me putting in my notice and accepting the job I got offered. I appreciate any tips and guidance from you, it seems like you have truly made a living from what makes you happy!”

If you focus on finding fulfillment in your career, you’ll be more satisfied and happy with your life in the long-run.

Tip #3: Create a Career Transition Plan

When you are getting ready to make a career transition, make sure you have a clear transition plan in place.

A career transition plan is more like a contingency plan in-case something were to go wrong.

First, I’d have your personal finances in order. If your new company provides health insurance from day one, have at least 3 months of living costs in a safety savings account. If the company only provides health insurance after the 90 day probationary period, then have 6 months living costs in a safety savings account. If you are married, I would also see if you are able to jump onto your spouses plan during the transition period.

The second item I would have planned out is a backup plan if the new job does not pan out as expected. If you did your research well enough, you should have an idea of at least one or two other potential jobs you would like to do, even if they don’t pay as well. Have your resumes and cover letters ready to apply for these jobs, just-in-case you don’t like the company, the job, or if then end up thinking you are not a good fit for their company.

Finally, if you are moving for this new job, try to have a clear plan of when and how you will be moving, followed by living arrangements figured out as soon as possible.

When I moved from Milwaukee, WI out to Cupertino, CA, I went on Craigslist and found a few groups of guys that had an open rooms in their houses. After a quick video call with each of them, I decided to sign the lease for one group of guys that had a house a few blocks from 1 Infinite Loop, Apple’s headquarters. When I moved out to California, I moved right into the house with them and got my first month’s rent paid for by Apple, since they didn’t have to put me into temporary housing.

I personally did not want the stress of moving out there, then working to find a place to live while I was also working to settle into my new job at Apple, just to move again a few weeks later.  Moving right into a place I ended up living at my first six months in California ended up saving me alot of stress and headaches.

I would recommend anyone to do the same, but just make sure you vet out the Craigslist roommates. That was the second time I found roommates on Craigslist and both times worked out amazingly well for me, but I know some people have some horror stories living with Craigslist roommates.

These tips helped me transition from Production Planning, to Supply Chain Management, to Procurement Engineering type roles throughout my career – then into starting my own businesses.

I hope they help you with working through your career transition, too.

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That’s it for today’s episode.

Please hit subscribe on your favorite podcast platform so you can get notified of all the upcoming Careers Over Coffee podcast discussions as they are released.  

If you found this episode helpful, please leave a review on your favorite podcast platform, letting me know what you liked about this episode and if you have any follow up questions. I will be forever grateful that you spent a few minutes leaving a review, as this will help me understand what you want to hear more of, while also helping the podcast grow, so I can help more people.

We’ll see you next week!

Cheers!

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