Whether you are an executive actively exploring a career transition, or you passively are seeing what’s out there, the desire to jump ship likely is motivated by one thing:
“Finding career joy.”
This may sound a bit squishy to some.
You likely are well compensated and live a fairly comfortable lifestyle. It might seem that this reward for your work should fulfill all desires.
Perhaps it did, for a while.
But no longer.
You have come to realize that after five, 10 or a dozen or more years at the same company, your career has stalled.
While you may still enjoy the work you do, you don’t “find joy.” As well, you feel a bit stifled. Perhaps you’ve worked for the same boss for several years, and while their role would be the most natural succession level, they likely will ride out their career in that position, leaving you with no career-advancement options.
Or, perhaps mergers and acquisitions have shifted the climate, limiting future opportunities in what was once an agile, upward-moving enterprise.
Maybe you have nearly all the pieces of your dream pie assembled, but have come to realize that the final slice of deliciousness–a seat at the table–is out of your reach.
You feel boxed in, and option-less.
Here’s what you can do to reclaim the wheel of your career and begin plotting out a new story that will help you follow your joy:
1. Dive into the introspective process of building your executive resume story.
Begin by brainstorming your Challenge-Action-Results stories, but don’t stop there. Consider why the initiatives you helmed mattered not only to the bottom line but also to the corporate culture as a whole. Parlay how your leadership acumen buoyed other executives’, managers’, supervisors’ and front-line employees’ careers.
Be specific in your notes. Delve into your attributes that bolster your strategic thinking. Every executive is obliged to communicate their strategic behavior, how they handle the P&L and (if applicable), their role on the board. But few are skilled at articulating the nuances behind that behavior. Be that rare articulator.
2. Once you’ve moved through the executive resume building process, transition your story into a LinkedIn profile that gleams.
Dull, lifeless, unpopulated profiles, dependent only upon titles and company brand, undersell your specific personal value.
You’ve heard the often touted term, “personal brand.” This is the time to ensure yours is polished. Public executive stories are now the norm, and whether you muster up the courage to hone yours or hire someone to help you, you must take action. Others are, and they are getting a foothold toward the advancement you seek.
3Plus can teach you How to make the most of LinkedIn for career and business success.
3. Fine-tune the rest of your portfolio.
Ensure you have both the brief, 30-second pitches and leggier dossiers that delve into your repertoire of solutions-building, company-growing and people-lifting background.
4. Strategically network.
If no one knows you are interested in turning your ship onto a new career course, then you may be overlooked. You know to whom you can divulge your secrets, and whom you cannot. You also have a sense whether taking a calculated risk and talking more openly about your goals to potential influencers is worth it to you. Staying silent and stuck is not an option.
5. Focus downtime on more than just job search.
Otherwise, you will drive yourself and those around you crazy, and ultimately, derail your efforts. By creating a calm, rejuvenating space in your life for family, friends, recreation, etc., that is separate from your job search, you not only will maintain a healthier attitude and relationships, but you also will reinvigorate your career efforts when you return to them.
Plenty of money, a record of climbing the career ladder and possibly even the ability to retire “where you are” — none of these things matter if you are no longer enthused about your day-to-day and have a strong desire for more meaningful, soul-advancing career involvements.
If this is you, it may be time to take responsibility for change.
By taking action, creating traction and discovering your next move, you might uncover something more enriching and enlivening. You may in fact, strategically regain your career joy.
First step: Put your toes in the water.