Are you going through a transition in your life, job or career right now? We are likely to go through plenty in a lifetime. And when that turning point comes, how will you experience it? Some people will walk or rush headlong to embrace the change, taking it in their stride, awakening long buried yearnings for something different. Others will feel a hugely uncomfortable disruption to their equilibrium, shrinking away from it in fear and distrust. Being in limbo can be disconcerting.

Here are some transitions in education and work. Which of these have you experienced in your life?

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Suomenlinna, off Helsiinki – Summer

  • From one year to the next at school
  • From GCSEs to A-Levels
  • From A-Levels to degree
  • From living at home with your family to living independently
  • From school to apprenticeship
  • From Year 1 to Year 2 to Year 3 (or 4) at university
  • From university to moving back home
  • From full-time education to first job
  • From not in education to being in education (at any life stage)
  • From not employed to employed (and vice versa)
  • From one role to another within the same organisation
  • From one location to another location with the same organisation
  • From one part of the country to another for a different job
  • From this country to another country for a different job (and vice versa)
  • From one level or type of role in an organisation to another on promotion (e.g. from team member to team leader, specialist to manager, manager to leader)
  • From within the same sector or industry or function
  • From one sector to another (and returning)
  • From one career to another
  • From employed to self-employed, independent, freelance (and vice versa)
  • From employment break (maternity leave, sabbatical, career break) to employed or self-employed
  • From permanent to part-time or other flexible working arrangements
  • From pre-retirement to retirement
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Suomenlinna, off Helsinki – Winter

I spoke at a coaches’ conference last week on the theme of igniting – coaching clients through transition to ignite their potential to achieve their needs and desires. At the end, I got people into pairs to share experiences of transitions, their own or a client’s.

Try this yourself by picking a transition of your own. Here are 9 questions to help you think about your experience:

  1. What emotions did you feel at different points?
  2. What was your biggest challenge?
  3. What did you like and dislike the most? Why?
  4. What inner resources did you tap into to help you through?
  5. What external resources did you use to support you?
  6. What worked and did not work for you? Why?
  7. What insights does this give you?
  8. In hindsight, what assumptions did you make (if any)?
  9. What will you do the same or differently next time?

Many of my clients want help on a job or career transition and to get through it as painlessly as possible. If that’s you, I’d love to hear from you.