What I learned from career transitioning

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For the past years, change is the word that best describes my life. 3 countries, 6 houses and a lot of learning experiences! From marketing/communication to coaching, to volunteering, to yoga and mindfulness practice…my life has been an endless learning journey.

So, here I am, 39 years old (young?), enrolled in an MBA.

Here I am, 39 years old, working as a Human Resources Intern.

It feels like I have been on a never-ending roller coaster for the last seven months! The time to stop and reflect on my experiences. Here are some insights from what I learned so far:

· Clarifying purpose and values

Career transition is a big shift, especially in midlife. It’s important to take time on the WHY side of it. What’s your higher purpose? What values are you honoring by doing it? Share it with other people, let your friends challenge you, join a group of like-minded people to deep dive it.

Connecting with the big WHY helps during tough life moments. It helps especially during the moments when I feel like cycling on a hill, when I am exhausted from starting over, when I am tired from managing an MBA, a thesis, and my family, all while remembering to care for myself.

Being rich or earning a lot of money is not a purpose. It what money can bring you that is important.

· Matching the job/company values

Thinking about what will satisfy me in my next job or career stage has been key. Either finance, quality of work life, opportunities to find meaning, latitude for personal growth, flexibility…, and whatever else that matters to me in a work environment.

I have the chance to be in a human-centric company. The development of people is part of every conversation in my new company (not just the HR ones). It’s motivating to be in an environment where ones’ own values fit and are accepted and respected, where people are rewarded with professional challenges, and opportunities for career and personal growth.

Be aware of the value-bridge, when there is a gap between one´s own values and the company’ones; it can deeply impact the experience!

· Finding the right manager

“You join a company, and you leave a manager.” I would say that choosing both can ease the transition. The right one doesn’t necessarily mean a good and nice one. It rather means the one that will help you develop your new competencies while capitalizing on your strengths and previous work experience. Again, be aware of the value bridge!

· Working mindfully

After 4 years of not working in the corporate world, I was starving for collective intelligence. Going back to an office felt like entering a 5 stars restaurant buffet while being super hungry and thirsty.

Take time to choose the (healthy) food, digest it properly and let the body rest before jumping to the next meal.

· Balancing performance and learning

It’s about self-compassion when starting a new role; giving yourself permission to learn and more importantly to fail sometimes. Letting go of some patterns needs extra awareness and hence extra efforts.

· Preparing the transition

Talk about it with your family, friends, kids’ teacher…Get support. Declutter the environment to create space for a new experience.

· Taking care of oneself

Career transition can be overwhelming. Emotions go ups and downs. (Equanimity is an objective 😊) Self-awareness, self-compassion are two main tools to put in your backpack to be able to navigate through transition stages. Meditation/retreat/yoga/running or whatever helps you get centered and grounded.

Here are my tools: Yoga is my way to silenve the mind. When I practice, I’m so focused on finding a balance that taming the voices within my head is mandatory.

Mindfulness is a mindset, more than a practice. I learned it during a retreat at the plum village (https://plumvillage.org), last year. Mindfulness is beyond meditation. It’s more about being aware of one’s own choices and actions rather than be on autopilot.

Coaching helped me grow and see other perspective, shift from working for paying bills to search for meaning and honoring life purpose.

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