Throughout my career, I have been through transitions that have taught me many valuable lessons. After going through so many changes, I now accept that it is part of my professional journey that I cannot avoid if I want to grow.
In this blog post, I will share some of the lessons I have learned about career transitions and ways I have worked through them.
What are Career transitions?
There are numerous types of career transitions that involve unanticipated or even undesired shifts in an individual’s career path. In addition, the term career transition may refer to the process by which an individual changes from one job to another within the same job family; and it may also refer to a more dramatic career change from one occupational category to an entirely different one. Finally, a career transition takes place when an employee merely shifts to a new position within the same company or organizational structure.
Most of the career transitions I have been through happened without me planning them. Although transitions were not my primary goal, they came through actions I took to grow my career. My career development is something I am very intentional about, and I have learned to appreciate the positive side effects.
The top career transitions I have been through include:
5 Lessons I learned about reinventing yourself in your Career
Lesson #1: You don't have to do the same thing for life
Especially when I lived in Germany, it was quite common to see people who have had the same job or worked for the same company for close to 20 years. Somehow, I could not imagine being in the same company for that long. I like the stability that being in the same company offers you. However, I also wanted to enjoy the comfort of knowing your company and environment. Moving to the US, especially here in Silicon Valley, people typically spend less than two years in one role. I have learned the benefits of working in different roles and companies throughout of your career.
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Lesson #2: Change in your career is good - embrace it
Embracing change is definitely something I am learning every day. Before the transitions, I typically feared the unknown and the upcoming changes to my life. Reflecting on my career, I have seen that the changes and transitions that I have been through have turned out good even when they were accidental and not planned.
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Lesson #3: You need to keep learning
Throughout our careers, it is crucial to learn new skills and gather knowledge. When I prepare for transitions, I make sure I equip myself with a strong foundation for what is about to come. Over time as I learn more about my new role, I take trainings and read more about the areas where I have knowledge gaps. Continuous learning has helped make my transitions more successful.
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Lesson #4: Be open to explore different jobs and roles
Sometimes new roles or jobs don't look perfect initially, or you may feel like you're not ready. In my experience, the most significant growth I have seen in my career has come from the roles I did not feel totally prepared for. I turned down one particular position multiple times, and when I accepted it, I was pleasantly shocked by the great results.
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Lesson #5: Have a career plan
Being intentional about your career growth is crucial. There are some career changes that you can plan and prepare for. Especially if you are planning to change jobs, you have the opportunity to start planning the steps you want to take to achieve your career goals. I have learned to always plan and prepare for the next step in my career.
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Call to Action
Welcome to September, summer is over, everyone is back to school and work. At this point, there are about 110 days left in 2019. We have enough time to do great things. This is the perfect time to plan for the rest of the year.
In this blog post, I will share the ten questions I worked through while I reviewed my progress so far and planned for the rest of this year.
#1: How will this review help you?
Let's start by acknowledging that you still have time to work towards your goals and make 2019 count. See this as an opportunity to take stock of what you have done so far and prepare for the next months. To get the best out of your planning session, schedule about two hours on your calendar. Now that you have the time reserved let's move to the next steps.
#2: What do you want to focus on in this review?
Three things to do in this review include:
#3: What have you achieved in the past months?
The best place to start is to reflect on your achievements so far. Seeing what you have achieved will serve as motivation for what you want to work towards over the next weeks.
#4: What did not go as planned?
It is essential to know the goals that you have not been able to achieve so far. You also want to be clear on what hinders you from making progress towards those goals.
#5: What do you want to achieve in the next months?
Now it's time to think about what you want to achieve this year and make it count. Be as clear as you can be. Keep in mind the things you want to do differently to succeed.
#6: How will you track your progress?
You are now working against a schedule; you want to ensure you are on track. Make time to check your progress every week. This will allow you to see what is working well and what is not working so you can change course.
#7: What tools and resources do you need?
There are available tools that can help you be more successful. Think about what you can start using to simplify your life and become more efficient while you work towards your goals.
#8: Who is part of your support community?
Especially as you work towards achieving big goals, surrounding yourself with people who can help you is very crucial. Identify your accountability partners, advisors, mentors, or coaches who can support you on this journey and work with them.
#9: How will you celebrate your success?
Think about ways you will reward yourself when you achieve the goals you are setting. There is power in having something exciting to look forward to.
#10: What commitment are you making today?
Write down what you are planning to start doing today to help you achieve your goals. Start taking action towards your goals one day at a time.
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Let's wrap up with some fantastic quotes about goals
As I moved around and lived in different countries, I have learned many valuable lessons. In the past two years, I have been reflecting and sharing about various aspects of my experience living in Nigeria, Germany, and now in the US.
I appreciate the opportunity to learn how to overcome challenges on the way and thrive.
Continuing the Her relocation series, in this blog post, I will share the ten things that will help you thrive and grow in your new home.
#1: Find your people or squad
One of the most important parts of settling into a new city or culture is the people you surround yourself with. Spend time building a tight community. In my blog post titled "The impact of community on my relocation journey," I share more about the five types of communities, everyone needs to thrive.
#2: Embrace your cultural identity
On my journey, I have learned that your cultural identity evolves and changes as you live in different societies. Accepting this fact sometimes takes a while. I shared my personal experience in a video titled "Discovering my Cultural Identity."
#3: Make this new place your home
Especially if you just moved to a new city or country, you may think it's impossible to ever feel at home there. Take it from someone who has been doing this for 18 years; it is possible to make any place your home. Personally, the moment I started taking steps towards making a new country my home, the happier, I was overall. I stopped fantasizing about leaving and started enjoying my new environment. Check out my video about the time "I almost left Germany."
#4: Accept people’s differences
There have been times when I didn't feel welcomed in the country I was in. This helped me see the importance of accepting people the way they are and striving to build a welcoming environment for others around me. We all come from different backgrounds, and we all need to do better at accepting and appreciating our uniqueness.
#5: Find your food
If you are like me, being able to enjoy food that you grew up with is a priority. In Germany, I was on a mission to cook and enjoy Nigerian food. And now in the US. I am still trying to find good German bread. There is an element of comfort that good food can provide while you navigate the complexity of living in a new country.
#6: Learn about your new country and culture
Making time to explore your new environment, the people and culture will help you thrive. Even after living in Germany for 14 years, there were still some aspects of the country and culture that I did not learn about. Another thing I wish I did more of when I lived in Germany was travel more. This point is a reminder for me to do more now that I live in the US.
#7: Be patient with yourself
When you move to a different country, you go through a lot of changes. No matter how much you prepare, there will be some surprises. Take as much time as you need to adapt. Also, remember that you may not get used to everything. I shared the "10 Things you never get used to when you move to new countries" in a previous blog post.
#8: Adapt to a different professional culture
Many aspects of your professional life are different when you work in a new country. Prioritize learning about the professional norms in your new home. Sharing some insights, I gathered in my blog post the "Lessons I learned working in Germany and the US."
#9: Reflect on your Journey & learn
After moving to the US in 2015, I had much time to reflect on my experience in Germany and Nigeria. Sometimes when we are trying to settle in, we don’t see how fortunate we are to be on this journey. I celebrate my experience, which I shared in previous blog posts, “How growing up in Nigeria prepared me for life" and My Life in Germany – Connecting the dots."
#10: Share your story
If you have lived in different cities and countries, you are a hero. Since I started sharing my story, I have had the opportunity to hear other people's experiences as well. Sharing your story serves two purposes. Firstly, it helps you appreciate your accomplishments more and secondly, and it encourages others who may be going through the same thing. I summarized my story in "My Relocation Journey" video.
Call to action
What is crucial to provide you the best experience? Get to know yourself and your needs.
How are you going to make your experience in your new city or country exciting? Create an action plan.