Travel or Trouble? Career transition goes both ways

People leave jobs. Sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not. A career transition is always an emotional roller coaster, even if it is the employee’s idea to leave, but more so when the separation is involuntary or when the voluntary separation is a result of job dissatisfaction of some kind.

What happens during that emotional upheaval? An employee leaving voluntarily has some reason for doing so, and will likely share that information with friends, family and coworkers during the transition. A few of those reasons…

  • Better hours – spin that into “I had to work too many hours, I didn’t have flexibility, I couldn’t take off for my child’s school program, …”;
  • More money – the story is your company didn’t pay enough to meet needs;
  • More supportive environment – turns into “I never felt valued, my boss didn’t listen to me…”

Whatever the reasons they have, even employees leaving under their own power can cause bad PR among their friends and acquaintances. If that is the case, imagine what damage a fired or laid-off employee could do! Given the digital world we live in today, the bad news can spread from friends to acquaintances to friends of friends and beyond in the blink of an eye. Stories will be embellished, small incidents magnified, misunderstandings become truth. Trouble!

Be ready when you need to separate an employee with a good career transition coach or outplacement provider. An objective third party can help ease the transition pain and refocus the negative energy into something positive that will help them travel forward into a new position that will hopefully be THE job they were meant to have. Finding THE job will help fade the memories of the past and open new and exciting highways to the future, limiting the trouble that could be caused during the search.

The bottom line is that separated employees who have career coaching or outplacement assistance move on to the next opportunity faster and more positively than those who don’t. If you must separate from an employee, do it in the best way possible – help them travel, not trouble!

 

Helping Them IN – Better career transition

In the world of career transition, practitioners often focus heavily on the “out” in outplacement. I even find myself locked in that mindset from time to time – helping people transition “out” of a job – because leaving a job is where I connect with someone in a career transition.

The “out” may not be the best way to think about a career transition. Job loss may be painful and feel like the end, like it really is “out” with no way back in. I think we should look at it from a different perspective; a career transition is a beginning of something else, we just need to discover what that is. Career transition can be “in” as well as “out.”

All the wisdom of the world can be found in the words of Mr. Rogers, even for those in transition.

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” ― Fred Rogers

Isn’t that a much better way to think of what happened? You aren’t going out a door with nothing in sight. You are opening a door and seeing a wide horizon and vast possibility.
I would be the first to tell you that is easy to say and harder to really believe. Losing a job, when the termination was out of your control and had nothing to do with your performance, loyalty, or skills, can be very hard. Right here in the city in which I live, a major employer is reducing its workforce dramatically and the reductions have little to do with job performance, only numbers. Many, many people have found themselves without work after years with the company.

With a good career coach or outplacement counselor, a person who finds himself in this position can shorten the time living with shock, disbelief and sadness and grab that door handle to open a new world of possibilities. He or she may need coaching and support, but look what lies ahead! This could be the opportunity to make a complete career change, to try something never attempted, to follow a long-held dream.

My goal for my outplacement clients is not to provide “out” placement, but turn that into “in” placement – a new and better beginning for their careers.