Dealing with Transition: Assessing Where You Are

By Ann Marie Walker, Career Services Advisor/Workshop Specialist

Annie Walker

Transition seems to have replaced the word “change” in today’s job environment…oh good, a NEW buzz word!  Regardless of what word you use, it’s pretty safe to say that we’re in some type of transition throughout most of our career(s).  Some of us may be new to a job and just starting our career, some of us are in our current role for a long time and many of us are in the process of changing jobs or careers.  Statistics say that people in the workplace today will change jobs every two or three years and have between 10-12 careers in their work lives.  Many times the changes are not ones we choose for ourselves but we can choose how we deal with transition.  I call it having a “Plan B”.  Just like the saying “saving for a rainy day”, it pays to put some effort into determining how we would deal with the inevitable changes that happen daily in our careers.

This is part one of a four-part series talking about Transitions. This article will  focus on helping you assess where you are.

Assessment means to determine value or importance; in this case your skills, experience and goals.  For someone just starting out in a career, it’s good to know what skills you bring to the organization and more importantly, what skills you need to develop for growth.  For those of us who have been in the same job for a while or are in the process of changing jobs or careers, it’s an affirmation of what we have developed through our experience.  When you buy a house, a car or any other large purchase, usually you have a list of the specifications that are important to you.  Your approach to your career should be the same.  You should know what is important and of value; to the organization and, more importantly to yourself.

Make a list of your skills and experience.

The first place to look would be your resume (if you don’t have one or one that is current; start one…now).  Your resume should be a good indication of your technical and knowledge skills and your work experience to date and how it relates to the work you want to do going forth. 

  • Don’t forget to take a look at the transferable skills you bring to the table:  organization, detail oriented, leadership, customer focus, teamwork to name a few.  Ask your co-workers, your friends and your family what they feel your skills are. 
  • Do a skills assessment; there are many different types out there and many of them are either free or minimal cost.  Stop by one of our Career Centers to see how we can help.

Check your career path.

  • Sit down and plan your “Perfect Day” and see what skills and experiences you come up with.  Sometimes it’s the mere action of taking time to put down in writing exactly what you would like to do in your career that will spark new ideas and opportunities. 
  • Talk to people in your organization.  Find out about their career paths; how did they get to where they are today?  What obstacles did they find along the way and how did they deal with them?
  • Learn about your organization.  What are its goals?  How does the work you do fit into those goals? 

Pull it all together.

  • Get a simple three-ring binder or notebook and put your findings in it.  It doesn’t have to have charts, graphs and be a lot of work.  All you need is a place to keep information about what your skills and experiences are, how they align with your current role and how they fit into your career goals.   I keep a three section spiral notebook with different sections: contacts, ideas for talks and workshops, trends in my field, clippings, anything that will help me keep track of what I need to do to be successful in my work.
  • Take a look at the information you’ve compiled and ask yourself:

o What is working?
o What is not working?
o What do I need to continue to do?
o What do I need to start doing?
o What can I stop doing?

Sounds like five simple questions but the answers are not always easy.  Keep these five questions posted up in your office and when you’re faced with some type of change, ask yourself these questions.  Take control of the everyday challenges that transition brings to each of us.

You have now completed the first step by choosing to control how you deal with transitions as they occur.  You have done this by doing an assessment of the value you bring to your
work, looking not only at what is most important to both you and your company, but also looking at what the current environment is like in your field.
 
Next up, we’ll discuss how you “keep up and connected”…not always an easy task!  Until then, spend some time looking at the value you bring to your work and also what’s truly important to you in your career. 

This is the first in a series of four articles on dealing with transition. Check back next week for Part 2: Keeping Up and Keeping Connected!

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Ann Marie Walker is the Workshop Specialist at RochesterWorks.  She is also a Coach/Consultant in Fairport, NY specializing in Personal and Team Development, Career Counseling and Motivational Speaking.  A Registered Success Team Leader, Certified Professional Behavior Analyst and Qualified Administrator of the Myers Briggs Indicator.  Using her extensive experience in the corporate and private business sectors, Annie works with teams and individuals to achieve their goals by developing alliances and promoting crucial conversations.

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